AI Study Supports Association of Increased Coffee Consumption With Decreased CVD Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Coffee being poured Coffee pot pouring cup of coffee.  copyright American Heart Association
Laura Stevens
University of Colorado
Aurora, CO

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:
We started with asking ourselves how we could better predict cardiovascular and stroke outcomes.  In an ideal world, we would be able to predict cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke with 100% accuracy long before the occurrence of the event.  The challenge here is there are so many potential risk factors, and testing each one using traditional methods would be extremely time consuming, and possibly infeasible.

Therefore, we used artificial intelligence to find potential risk factors that could be important for risk of CVD and stroke.  The results of this analysis pointed to consumption of coffee cups per day and the number of times red meat was consumed per week as being potentially important predictors of CVD.

We then looked into these findings further using traditional statistical analyses to determine that increased coffee consumption and red meat consumption appeared to be associated with decreased risk of CVD.  The study initially used data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) original cohort.

The findings from this data were then tested using data from 2 independent studies, the Cardiovascular Heart Study (CHS) and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), which both supported the association of increased coffee consumption with decreased CVD risk.

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Eating a Mostly Plant Based Diet Linked To Lower Risk of Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Fresh Food” by Sonny Side Up! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Dr. Kyla M Lara
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

 

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was the first study to evaluate whether dietary patterns of black and white adults living in the United States were associated with developing heart failure. We’re hearing a lot in the news about specific diets like low-fat, high protein, low carb, and other diets that decrease cardiovascular risk. We would love it, as physicians, if we could prescribe a specific diet to limit cardiovascular risk in our patients. I’m really excited about our study because instead of examining patterns of what we already know are healthy, we looked at foods people were regularly consuming in the United States and developed dietary patterns from this. This study is similar to other work we have done with stroke and heart attack.

We used data from the NIH funded REGARDS study, also known as the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke. More than 30,000 white and African-American adults were recruited from 2003-2007. From this group, we studied over 18,000 adults who successfully completed a dietary assessment called the Food Frequency Questionnaire. This was a really great group to study because people who live in this particular geographic area of the Southeastern United States, also known as the stroke belt, suffer from a higher risk of death from stroke. It’s extremely important for us to better understand the major risk factors that contribute to this and also cardiovascular disease.

We used statistical techniques to derive 5 dietary patterns based on the types of foods participants tended to eat.
• Convenience – Mexican and Chinese food, mixed dishes (both meat and bean)
• Sweets – added fats, bread, chocolate, desserts, sweet breakfast foods
• Southern – added fats, fried food, organ and processed meat, fatty milk
• Alcohol/Salads – beer, wine, liquor, green leafy vegetables, salad dressings, nuts and seeds, coffee
• Plant Based- fruit, vegetables, fruit juice, cereal, fish, poultry

Each participant received a score for each pattern that reflected how closely their diet resembled that dietary pattern. This approach reflects the real world and how people eat.

Over the 3135 days (8.6 years) of median follow up, 594 participants were hospitalized for incident HF. Greatest adherence to the plant-based dietary pattern during the study period was associated with a 28% risk reduction of developing heart failure.
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DASH Diet and Sodium Reduction Can Have Big Impact in Improving Blood Pressure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD Instructor of Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School

Dr. Juraschek

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD
Instructor of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The DASH-Sodium trial demonstrated that both the DASH diet and sodium restriction, individually and combined, lowered blood pressure in adults with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension. Whether these effects varied by level of blood pressure prior to starting these interventions was unknown. In a secondary analysis of the original DASH diet it had been observed that the effects from DASH were greater among adults with higher blood pressure (systolic greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg) at baseline with the appearance of even greater effects among people with baseline systolic blood pressures above 150 mm Hg. However, this has never been shown. Furthermore, it was unknown whether sodium reduction followed a similar linear trend of greater effects among adults with more severely uncontrolled systolic blood pressure.

In our study, we found that effects were indeed greater in adults with a baseline systolic blood pressure of 150 mm Hg or greater. Furthermore, the combined systolic blood pressure-lowering effect from both interventions was as high was 20 mm Hg. This is a magnitude comparable if not greater than medications for lowering blood pressure.

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Coffee – Caffeine Linked To Decreased All-Cause Mortality in Kidney Disease Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Coffee Wikipedia imageMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Miguel Bigotte Vieira, MD

Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte
Lisboa, Portugal

Response: An inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality has been reported in the general population. However, the association between caffeine consumption and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We examined the association between varying levels of caffeine consumption and mortality among 2328 patients with CKD in a prospective nationwide cohort, using the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010.

A dose-dependent inverse association between caffeine and all-cause mortality was observed in patients with CKD. This association was independent of influential factors including age, gender, race, annual family income, education level, estimated GFR, albumin/creatinine ratio, hypertension, smoking status, dyslipidemia, body mass index, previous cardiovascular events and diet: consumption of alcohol, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids and fibers.

Comparing with 1st quartile of caffeine consumption, adjusted HR for death was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.68-1.44) for 2nd quartile, 0.78 (95% CI, 0.60-1.01) for 3rd quartile and 0.76 (95% CI, 0.59-0.97) for 4th quartile (p=0.027 for trend across quartiles)

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Caffeine Linked To Decrease in All-Cause Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Miguel Bigotte Vieira MD Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. Bigotte Vieira

Miguel Bigotte Vieira MD
Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte
Lisbon, Portugal 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  An inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality has been reported in the general population. However, the association between caffeine consumption and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We examined the association between varying levels of caffeine consumption and mortality among 2328 patients with CKD in a prospective nationwide cohort, using the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010.

A dose-dependent inverse association between caffeine and all-cause mortality was observed in patients with CKD. This association was independent of influential factors including age, gender, race, annual family income, education level, estimated GFR, albumin/creatinine ratio, hypertension, smoking status, dyslipidemia, body mass index, previous cardiovascular events and diet: consumption of alcohol, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids and fibers.

Comparing with 1st quartile of caffeine consumption, adjusted HR for death was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.68-1.44) for 2nd quartile, 0.78 (95% CI, 0.60-1.01) for 3rd quartile and 0.76 (95% CI, 0.59-0.97) for 4th quartile (p=0.027 for trend across quartiles)

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Chocolate Milk May Promote Weight Gain in Children and Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D. Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02113

Dr. Chavarro

Jorge E. Chavarro, MD, ScD
Associate Professor
Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well known that sugared sweetened beverages (SSBs) promote excessive weight gain and obesity in children. The excess sugars in chocolate milk and other flavored milks puts them in a category that may be closer to sugared sweetened beverages than to plain milk. However, data on whether flavored milks promote weight gain is scarce.

We followed a cohort of 5,321 children and adolescents over a four year period to evaluate whether intake of chocolate milks was related to weight gain. We found that children who increased their intake of flavored milk gained more weight than children whose intake of flavored milk remained stable over this period. Moreover, among those children who did not drink any chocolate milk at baseline, those who started drinking chocolate milk over the course of the study gained substantially more weight than children who remained non-consumers of chocolate milk.

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Salt Content in Restaurant Food Remains High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julia Wolfson, PhD MPP Assistant Professor Department of Health Management and Policy Department of Nutritional Sciences University of Michigan School of Public Health Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dr. Wolfson

Julia Wolfson, PhD MPP
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Management and Policy
Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the past several years, Large chain restaurants in the United States have made some progress in introducing new lower calorie items on their menus. Since 2012, calories of items consistently on restaurant menus in all years have not significantly change. In this study, we examined the sodium content of restaurant menu items among 66 of the 100 largest restaurants in the US. We examined sodium content among items on the menu in all years (2012-2016) and among newly introduced items in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 compared to items on the menu in 2012 only.

We found that sodium content of menu items on the menu in all years did not change, but that restaurants were introducing new, lower sodium menu items. However, sodium content of restaurant menu items remains high. This is important because diets high in sodium are associated with serious adverse health outcomes including hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

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Prebiotin™ Fiber Supplement Tested in NIH/NIDDK Pilot Study In End-Stage Kidney Disease Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ron Walborn Jr. Prebiotin CEO

Ron Walborn Jr.

Ron Walborn Jr.
Prebiotin CEO 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The product Prebiotin™ Prebiotic Fiber was brought to market in 2007 by Dr. Frank Jackson, a gastroenterologist out of Harrisburg, PA. He found through 40 years of experience with his patients that a variety of digestive issues benefitted from daily supplementation with a soluble prebiotic fiber, specifically, oligofructose-enriched inulin (OEI) derived from chicory root.

In the late summer of 2012, Prebiotin caught the attention of Dr. Dominic Raj at the Internal Medicine Department of George Washington University. Dr. Raj’s laboratory showed that patients with kidney disease may have a higher level of release of endotoxins like p-Cresol sulfate and indole from the bacteria in the gut, which can move into the bloodstream and promote inflammation.

This early work was the basis of a successful grant application. Researchers were interested in investigating the therapeutic potential of altering the composition and/or function of the gut microbiome in this patient population, based on the understanding that by building up the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, undesirable bacteria is eventually crowded out, thereby reducing the release of harmful endotoxins into the system.

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Multivitamins in Pregnancy May Be Associated With Lower Autism Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth DeVilbiss, PhD MPH
Dornsife School of Public Health
Drexel University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Unfortunately, not much is known about how diet during pregnancy affects autism risk.  There have been studies in recent years about varied aspects of diet during pregnancy and autism risk involving multivitamins, iron, folic acid, vitamin D, and more, but the evidence is still inconclusive.

After adjusting for several potentially influencing factors in both mothers and children, we found that multivitamin use, with or without additional iron and/or folic acid, was associated with a lower likelihood of child autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability relative to mothers who did not use folic acid, iron, and multivitamins.

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Drinking Coffee Reduced Mortality in Treated HIV-Hepatitis C Co-Infected Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Coffee Wikipedia image

Coffee
Wikipedia image

Patrizia Carrieri PhD
INSERM U912 – ORS PACA
IHU – Faculté de Médecine
Marseille, France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is based on the longitudinal data of the French  ANRS HEPAVIH cohort of patients with HIV and Hepatitis C co-infection. This cohort was set up thanks to a collaboration between INSERM (National Institute of health and medical research) UMR912 in Marseille, the ISPED (public health and epidemiology institute) in Bordeaux and several hospital/university sites. Our INSERM team in Marseille is specialized in the study of the impact of behaviors on HIV and HCV outcomes, including mortality.

We could think that HCV cure was enough to reduce mortality in HIV-HCV patients as the mortality risk was 80% lower in those who were cured of (i.e. who “cleared”) Hepatitis C thanks to treatment.

However, our study showed that, even after HCV cure, sociobehavioral factors still matter: drinking at least 3 cups of coffee a day was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality risk as well as not smoking which was also associated with a reduced mortality risk. This association between elevated coffee intake and reduced mortality risk is probably due to the properties of polyphenols contained in coffee which can protect the liver and also reduce inflammation.

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Participation in SNAP Food Assistance Linked To Lower Health Care Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine Diabetes Population Health Unit Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Dr. Berkowitz

Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH
Division of General Internal Medicine
Diabetes Population Health Unit
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is ever growing pressure to contain healthcare costs in the US. Increasingly, attention is turning to programs that address social determinants of health–that is, those factors which affect health but lie outside the realm of clinical medicine.

Prior research has highlighted food insecurity as having a clear association with poor health and higher healthcare costs. SNAP is the nation’s largest program to combat food insecurity. However, we did not know whether SNAP participation would be associated with any difference in healthcare costs, compared with eligible non-participants.

This study found that participating in SNAP was associated with approximately $1400 lower healthcare expenditures per year in low-income adults.

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Regular Use of Artificial Sweeteners May Worsen Blood Glucose Control

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Richard L. Young PhD Associate Professor Adelaide Medical School The University of Adelaide Group Leader, Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group Centre for Nutrition & Gastrointestinal Diseases South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute North Terrace, Adelaide | SA 

Dr. Young

Dr. Richard L. Young PhD
Associate Professor Adelaide Medical School
The University of Adelaide
Group Leader, Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group
Centre for Nutrition & Gastrointestinal Diseases
South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute
North Terrace, Adelaide | SA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was a clinical trial in healthy subjects dosed a sweetener combination (sucralose and acesulfame-K) at a  dose to equal 1.5 L of artificial sweetened drink per day. This was given in capsules to dissolve in the proximal intestine (3 capsules per day, 2 weeks) and was a randomised, placebo-controlled double-blind study.

Sweetener treatment increased glucose absorption (assessed by serum 3-O-methy glucose), increased glycemic responses to duodenal glucose infusion and decreased GLP-1 responses.

These data show that intake of these sweeteners in healthy subjects may increase glycemic responses, and are the first to document an effect of these sweeteners to increase glucose absorption in humans.

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High Carbohydrate Diet Associated With Increased Risk of Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, PhD Investigator- Nutrition Epidemiology Program Population Health Research Institute Senior Research Associate – Department of Medicine McMaster University

Dr. Dehghan

Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, PhD
Investigator- Nutrition Epidemiology Program
Population Health Research Institute
Senior Research Associate – Department of Medicine
McMaster University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: For decades, dietary guidelines have largely focused on reducing total fat and saturated fat intake based on the idea that reducing fat consumption should reduce the risk of CVD. But this did not take into account what nutrients replace saturated fats in the diet. Given that carbohydrates are relatively inexpensive, reducing fats (especially saturated fat) is often accompanied by increased carbohydrate consumption. This approach continues to influence health policy today. The guidelines were developed some 4 decades back mainly using data from some Western countries (such as Finland) where fat and saturated fat intakes were very high (eg total fat intake was >40% of caloric intake and saturated fats was >20% of caloric intake). It is not clear whether the harms seen at such high levels applies to current global intakes or countries outside North America and Europe where fat intakes are much lower.

The PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) study is a large international cohort study of more than 157,000 people aged 35 to 70 years from 18 low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on 5 continents. In this study, 135,335 individuals with dietary information and without cardiovascular disease at baseline were included in the study. Standardized questionnaires were used to collect information about demographics, socio-economic factors, lifestyle behaviors, health history and medication use. Standardized case-report forms were used to record data on major cardiovascular events and mortality during follow-up, which were adjudicated centrally in each country by trained physicians using standard definitions. The participants were followed-up for 7.5 years, during which time 4784 major cardiovascular events and 5796 deaths were recorded.

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3-4 Servings Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes Sufficient To Reduce Cardiovascular Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ms Victoria Miller
Population Health Research Institute
DBCVS Research Institut
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: PURE study is prospective urban rural epidemiology study that included aged 35 to 70 years from 26 low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on 5 continents. Data were collected at the community, household, and individual levels. Standardized questionnaires were used to collect information about demographic factors, socio-economic status (education, income, and employment), lifestyle (smoking, physical activity, and alcohol intake), health history and medication use. Standardized case-report forms were used to record data on major cardiovascular events and mortality during follow-up, which were adjudicated centrally in each country by trained physicians using standard definitions. Participants’ habitual food intake was recorded using country-specific (or region specific in India) validated food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) at baseline. The median follow up is 7.4 years and we are aiming for follow up people at least for 15 years. During 7.4 years of follow up more than 6000 CVD and 7000 mortality recorded.

Higher fruit, vegetable and legume intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular and total mortality. Our findings show the lowest risk of death in those who consume three to four servings (equivalent to 375-500 grams per day) of fruits, vegetables and legumes per day, with little additional benefit for intake beyond that range.

When examined separately, fruit intake is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular and total mortality, while legume intake is inversely associated with non-cardiovascular and total mortality. For vegetables, raw vegetable intake is more strongly associated with lower risk of total mortality compared to cooked vegetable intake.

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Caffeine May Make Other Foods Taste Less Sweet

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robin Dando, PhD Assistant Professor Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility Department of Food Science Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study arose from a previous paper I authored in the Journal of Neuroscience, where we found Adenosine receptors in taste. We managed to prove that they were there to amplify sweet signals. This led us to wonder, what about the foods we consume, that would come into contact with these receptors in taste buds. It just happens that a lot of us habitually consume a powerful blocker of adenosine receptors every morning. Caffeine. So is our coffee impairing sweet signals? It turns out when we gave people sweetened coffee containing caffeine, they judged it as less sweet than the same coffee without the caffeine, sampled on a different day. Interestingly, this persisted, and sweet solutions they tested afterwards were still a little less sweet. Finally, just for kicks, we asked them to rate how much caffeine they thought was in either coffee, and how much more alert it made them feel. Turns out, there was no difference. They couldn’t tell which was deacf, and either coffee gave them just as much of an alertness boost. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Readers should consider that they may be altering how their food tastes when consuming coffee. And perhaps also, they could be drinking decaf, and getting just as good a jolt from it (as long as someone else was preparing it for them, so they didn’t know). MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study? Response: We’re interested in how many factors we encounter in our every day lives change our perception, from the foods we’re consuming themselves, to our own bodies. We’re currently looking into how obesity, pregnancy and sleep can change our sense of taste, and the foods we crave. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, you can follow our work on twitter @DandoLab. MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community. 1.Citation: Ezen Choo, Benjamin Picket, Robin Dando. Caffeine May Reduce Perceived Sweet Taste in Humans, Supporting Evidence That Adenosine Receptors Modulate Taste. Journal of Food Science, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13836 Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

Dr. Dando

Robin Dando, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility
Department of Food Science
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The study arose from a previous paper I authored in the Journal of Neuroscience, where we found Adenosine receptors in taste.  We managed to prove that they were there to amplify sweet signals.  This led us to wonder, what about the foods we consume, that would come into contact with these receptors in taste buds.

It just happens that a lot of us habitually consume a powerful blocker of adenosine receptors every morning.  Caffeine.  So is our coffee impairing sweet signals?  It turns out when we gave people sweetened coffee containing caffeine, they judged it as less sweet than the same coffee without the caffeine, sampled on a different day.  Interestingly, this persisted, and sweet solutions they tested afterwards were still a little less sweet.

Finally, just for kicks, we asked them to rate how much caffeine they thought was in either coffee, and how much more alert it made them feel.  Turns out, there was no difference.  They couldn’t tell which was deacf, and either coffee gave them just as much of an alertness boost.

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Loss of Sense of Smell, Malnutrition Common in Kidney Disease Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Nigwekar and Dr. Paunescu

Dr. Nigwekar and                 Dr. Paunescu

Teodor Paunescu, PhD and
Sagar Nigwekar, MD
Division of Nephrology
Massachusetts General Hospital

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over 25 million people in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease, and the number of deaths caused by this disease has doubled between 1990 and 2010. It is projected that by 2030 more than 1 in 3 adults over 65 years old will be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Many patients with kidney disease are also malnourished, which negatively impacts their quality of life, overall health, and even survival. However, no effective treatments are currently available to address malnutrition in these patients.

The sense of smell plays an important role in determining food flavor. If a patient’s ability to smell is impaired, this could affect the taste of food, for example, foods that used to appeal to the patient may no longer do so. Given the relation between the sense of smell and appetite, we set out to investigate the loss of smell in patients with kidney disease, and to test an intervention aimed at alleviating their smell deficits.

Our first goal was to determine if patients with various degrees of kidney disease suffer smell losses and whether smell issues might affect their nutritional status. We found that, while most kidney disease patients do not perceive a problem with their sense of smell, deficits in the ability to smell are actually common among these patients, and the severity of these deficits increases with the severity of their kidney disease. Moreover, our study found that reductions in several markers of nutrition (such as cholesterol and albumin levels) correlate with the impairment in these patients’ sense of smell.

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Diet Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods May Help Preserve Brain Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yian Gu, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology (in Neurology and
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain)
Columbia University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have previously shown that elderly individuals who consume healthier diet (certain foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns) have larger brain volume, better cognition, and lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The current study aimed to examine the biological mechanisms for the relationship between diet and brain/cognitive health

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Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For Your Waistline and Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; co-Lead, Population Health Pillar, Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing.  Emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

Only 7 of these studies were randomized clinical trials (the gold standard in clinical research), involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

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Study Finds Diet Not Connected to GI Problems in Children With Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. Ferguson

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD
University of Missouri School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain, but the cause of these GI issues is not currently known. Previous research from our laboratory showed a significant positive relationship between cortisol levels and GI problems, especially for constipation. However, it is possible that other factors such as diet may affect GI functioning, especially since many children have altered diets. This study examined 32 different nutrients in the children’s diets, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire that assessed the participant’s diet over the past month, and how each nutrient was related to upper and lower GI tract symptom scores over the past month created from the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Rome III. The results showed no significant relationships between any of the nutrients and GI symptoms, suggesting that diet was not associated with GI symptoms in this sample.

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Healthy Diet Translates Into Longer Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mercedes Sotos Prieto PhD Research Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health 

Dr. Sotos-Prieto

Mercedes Sotos Prieto PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research have found that adherence to the 2010 Alternate Heathy Eating Index, the Mediterranean Diet pattern, and DASH pattern is associated with health benefits, but none of those studies have examined dynamic changes in diet quality over time and subsequent risk of mortality.

This is the first study to demonstrate that improvement in these three diet scores over time is associated with reduced risk of total and cardiovascular mortality. In contrast, worsening diet quality over 12-years was associated with 6%-12% increased mortality.

In addition, not only improvement in diet quality but maintaining a high adherence to any of the three dietary patterns over 12 years was significantly associated with 9%-14% lower total mortality.
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Moderate Coffee Drinking Linked To Lower Risk of Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marc J. Gunter, PhD 

From International Agency for Research on Cancer
Lyon, France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: U.S. and Japanese studies have previously found that drinking more coffee was related with a lower risk of death. However, in European populations, where coffee consumption and preparation methods are more varied, the relationship was less certain as relatively small studies had previously been conducted. Our analysis was undertaken in ~500,000 men and women from 10 European countries, the largest study to date investigating the coffee and mortality relationship.

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BLISS – Baby Led Introduction To Solids – May Make Feeding Less Fussy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Anne-Louise M. Heath and

Professor Rachael Taylor
Co-Principal Investigators for the BLISS study.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Conventional approaches to complementary feeding generally advise parents to spoon-feed their infant pureed foods, gradually progressing to greater variety and texture so that by the time the infant is one year of age, they are eating more or less what the family does.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an alternative approach where the infants feeds themselves right from the start of complementary feeding. Because children of this age cannot use utensils, this means hand-held foods are necessary. Advocates of BLW suggest that children have a lower risk of obesity because they remain in control of their own food intake, but research examining this issue directly is scarce. Health professionals have also expressed concern that BLW might put the infant at increased risk of iron deficiency (parents might avoid red meat for fear of the infant choking, and iron-fortified cereals are not easy for the infant to feed themselves), growth faltering (if only low energy foods are offered) and choking (from the infant feeding themselves ‘whole’ foods).

Our study therefore examined a version of BLW that had been modified to address these issues (called BLISS – a Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS). Two hundred families took part in our 2-year intervention, with half following traditional feeding practices and half receiving guidance and support to follow our BLISS approach. We found that BLISS children were not less likely to be overweight than those following traditional feeding practices, nor was growth faltering an issue. BLISS child ate about the same amount of food as control children, and their ability to eat to appetite was not different either.

However, it seems that children following a baby-led approach to complementary feeding are less fussy about food, and have a healthier attitude to food, which might make a difference to their health long term.
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Fewer Refined Grains During Pregnancy May Reduce Obesity Risk In Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 

Dr. Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20817 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Refined grains with a high glycemic index and reduced fiber and nutrient content have been linked to increased adiposity and higher risk of metabolic syndrome among adults. Despite these differences and the growing body of literature on the link between maternal diet/nutrition during pregnancy and subsequent offspring health consequences throughout the lifespan, little is known about the intergenerational impact of refined-grain intake during pregnancy on long-term cardio-metabolic outcomes in the offspring.

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When Should Babies Be Introduced To Peanuts, Eggs and Cow’s Milk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor  MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI Co-director of the CHILD Study Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, McMaster Universi

Dr. Sears

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor
MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI
Co-director of the CHILD Study
Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine,
McMaster University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study is a longitudinal birth cohort study commenced in 2008 with 3,495 families across Canada.  We recruited the mothers during pregnancy and are following their children to age 5 with the intent of determining the underlying developmental causes of allergy and asthma.

In the current analysis, we have looked at the relationship between the timing of first introduction of three “allergenic” foods (milk products, egg and peanut) and the likelihood of sensitization to these foods at age 1 year.  We found that earlier introduction was associated with a reduced risk of sensitization, which is consistent with some recent randomized controlled trials.  For instance, infants who avoided cow’s milk product in their first year of life were nearly four times as likely to be sensitized to cow’s milk compared with infants who did consume cow’s milk products before age 12 months.  Similarly, infants who avoided egg or peanut in the first year were nearly twice as likely to be sensitized to those foods compared to infants who consumed them before 12 months of age.

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Which Diet Is Best For You? It Depends On Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD Post-doctoral Associate Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology Cornell University thaca, NY

Dr. Kaixong Ye

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate
Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology
Cornell University
thaca, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are critical for human brain development, cognitive function, immune response, and cardiovascular health. Physiologically active forms of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, such as AA, EPA, and DHA, are readily available in meat and seafood, but are absent in most plant-based foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables). Instead, plant-based foods contain two precursor fatty acids, LA and ALA, which could be metabolized in our body and converted into physiologically active forms. Fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes encode key enzymes for this biosynthesis.

We hypothesized that genetic variations in FADS genes that enhance the biosynthesis efficiency were adaptive to plant-based diets in traditional farming populations and thus became more frequent over time. Our study compiled a huge data set of genetic information (DNA) from both present-day and ancient individuals. For the first time, we examined the action of natural selection on humans for the past 30,000 years in Europe.

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Elegant Descriptions of Healthy Foods Encourages Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley P. Turnwald

Bradley Turnwald

Bradley P. Turnwald MS
Stanford University, Department of Psychology
Stanford, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study tested an intervention to encourage people to consume healthier foods. Encouraging healthy eating is difficult because many people think that healthy foods do not taste good, and most people prioritize taste over health when choosing what to eat. In fact, lab studies suggest that people rate foods as less tasty, less enjoyable, and less filling when they are labeled as healthy compared to when the same foods are not labeled as healthy. A recent study from the Stanford Mind & Body Lab published last month in Health Psychology showed that healthy foods are even described with less tasty, exciting, and indulgent descriptions compared to standard items on the menus of top-selling chain restaurants in America. This led us to ask the question, what if healthy foods were described with the tasty and indulgent descriptions that are typically reserved for the more classic, unhealthy foods?

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Vegetarian Diet More Effective For Weight Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD</strong> Director of Clinical Research at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Charles University in Prague

Dr. Kahleova

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD
Director of Clinical Research at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Charles University in Prague

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The vegetarian diet was found to be almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, resulting in an average loss of 6.2kg compared to 3.2kg for the conventional diet. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we studied adipose tissue in the subjects’ thighs to see how the two different diets had affected subcutaneous, subfascial and intramuscular fat.

We found that both diets caused a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat. However, subfascial fat was only reduced in response to the vegetarian diet, and intramuscular fat was more greatly reduced by the vegetarian diet.

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What Type of Bread Is Best For Your Glycemic Index?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Avraham A. Levy Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot Israel

Prof. Levy

Prof. Avraham A. Levy
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Prof-Eran-Elinav.jpg

Prof. Elinav

Prof. Eran Elinav
Department of Immunology

Prof-Eran-Segal.jpg

Prof. Segal

Prof. Eran Segal
Department of Computer Science And Applied Math

Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot Israel

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: We performed a type of clinical trial that is very powerful in comparing short term effects of interventions – a crossover trial. In this trial, each subject is compared to themselves; in our case, we compared increased short-term (1 week) consumption of industrial white bread vs. matched consumption of artisanal sourdough-leavened whole-wheat bread – which we originally viewed as radical opposites in terms of their health benefits. We measured various clinical end points – weight, blood pressure, various blood tests – and also the gut microbiome.

To our great surprise, we found no difference between the effects those two breads had on the various end points that we measured. This does not mean that bread consumption had no effect – but that this effect was generally similar for its two types. In fact, when we analyzed our data when pooling together the two bread types (i.e., testing whether bread of any type had an effect), we found that just one week of bread consumption resulted in statistically significant changes to multiple clinical parameters – on the one hand, we saw a reduction in essential minerals in the blood (calcium, magnesium, iron) and an increase in LDH (marker of tissue damage); on the other hand, we saw an improvement in markers of liver and kidney function, inflammation markers and cholesterol levels.

In terms of the microbiome, we have found only a minimal difference between the effects of the two bread (two microbial taxa that were increased with white bread) – but in general, we saw that the microbiome was very resilient to this intervention. This is surprising as the current paradigm in the field is that a change in nutrition rapidly changes the makeup of the microbiome. We say that this is probably dependent on the kind of change – as we had a nutritional change here which was significant enough to change clinical parameters, which we tend to think of as very stable, and yet had a minimal effect on the microbiome.

At this point, there were two possible explanations to what we saw:
The first is that bread had an effect in our intervention, but it was very similar between those two very distinct types.
The second is that these two distinct types indeed had different effects, but they were different for each subject – and thus cancel out when we look at the entire population.

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Healthy Diet and Exercise Reduce Colon Cancer Recurrence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Erin Van Blarigan, ScD
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
UC San Francisco

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There are over 1.3 million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer survivors often seek guidance on what they can do to lower their risk of cancer recurrence and death. In response to patient interest and the need for improved survivorship care, the American Cancer Society (ACS) published guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer survivors.

The guidelines are to:
1) achieve and maintain a healthy body weight;
2) engage in regular physical activity; and
3) achieve a dietary pattern that is high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

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Salt Intake From Packaged Foods Decreasing But Still Too High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Poti, PhD Research Assistant Professor Nutritional Epidemiology Gillings School of Global Public Health University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Poti

Jennifer Poti, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Nutritional Epidemiology
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Although strong evidence links excessive sodium intake to hypertension, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the majority of American children and adults have sodium intake that exceeds the recommended upper limit for daily sodium intake.

To lower sodium intake at the population-level, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that reducing sodium in packaged foods will be essential and has emphasized the need to monitor sodium in the US food supply. However, little is known about whether sodium in packaged foods has changed during the past 15 years.

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Anticancer Effects of Two Strains of Tomatoes Explored

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Antonio Giordano MD PhD Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center for Biotechnology College of Science and Technology Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy

Dr. Giordano

Antonio Giordano MD PhD
Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center for Biotechnology
College of Science and Technology
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest nutrition patterns. Tomatoes, in particular, which are consumed worldwide, and a basic ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, have been postulated to have a cancer preventive role at least for some tumor types, although few studies analyzed the effects of tomatoes in their entirety in different stages of cancer progression.

Here, we focused on an in vitro model of gastric cancer because it is still one of the most common and deadly cancers and its development is strongly influenced by certain eating habits. Our results showed a possible role of tomatoes against typical neoplastic features. The treatment with tomato extracts affected the ability of cancer cell growth both in adherence and in semisolid mediums. Moreover, tomato extracts affected key processes within the cell; they hindered migration ability, arrested cell cycle through the modulation of retinoblastoma tumor suppressor family proteins and specific cell cycle inhibitors, and induced cancer cell death through apoptosis.

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Everybody Does It! Rich and Poor Eat Fast Food

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jay L. Zagorsky

Center for Human Resource Research
The Ohio State University and
Patricia K. Smith PhD
Department of Social Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The prevalence of adult obesity in the U.S. has risen substantially, from about 13% in the early 1960s to nearly 38% now.  Obesity is associated with a variety of illnesses and imposes significant costs on individuals and society.

Socioeconomic (SES) gradients in health and the prevalence of disease, including obesity, have been documented: health improves and disease prevalence falls as we move up each step of the SES ladder.  Differences in nutrition could help explain these health gradients and Americans commonly think the poor eat fast food more often than those in the middle and upper classes. Policy based on this notion has been proposed.  For example, in 2008 Los Angeles placed a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in poor neighborhoods.

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Fatty Acids From Fish During Infancy May Lower Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sari Niinistö, PhD Senior Researcher, Public Health Solutions, Nutrition Unit National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki, Finland

Dr. Niinistö

Sari Niinistö, PhD
Senior Researcher,
Public Health Solutions, Nutrition Unit
National Institute for Health and Welfare
Helsinki, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous prospective studies have observed protective association between fish-derived fat and type 1 diabetes related autoimmunity in older children. Also some other fatty acids have been associated with the risk for type 1 diabetes associated autoimmunity. We wanted to study very young children, because type 1 diabetes associated autoimmunity often begins early, already in infancy. Therefore, we investigated whether serum fatty acid levels during infancy or the main dietary sources of fatty acids (breast milk and infant formula) were related to the development of autoimmunity responses among children at increased genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

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Diet Foods Can Make You Fat By Changing Your Microbiome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krzysztof Czaja VBDI, D.V.M Associate professor of veterinary biosciences and diagnostic imaging College of Veterinary Medicine University of Georgia

Dr. Krzysztof Czaja

Krzysztof Czaja VBDI, D.V.M
Associate professor of veterinary biosciences and diagnostic imaging
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The neural regulation of food intake and satiety in rodents and human are similar. Therefore, rodent model is well established in studying neural regulation in obesity in humans.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We determined that diets rich in sugar, and many “diet products” contain high amount of sugar (sometimes under different names), increase efficiency of accumulation of body and liver fat. We also found that sugar-rich diets change the gut microflora toward overpopulation of enterotoxic bacteria, damaging neural gut-brain communication and disrupting neural regulation of food intake. The implications of our results on human health are very significant because they show that diets rich in sugar changes the brain circuits responsible for food intake and satiety, induces chronic inflammation and symptoms of non-alcoholic liver disease (NALD).

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Food Costs Can Lead To Less Protein and Phosphorous in Indigent Kidney Transplant Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ms. Shifra Mincer Medical Student in the class of 2019 SUNY Downstate Medical School

Shifra Mincer

Ms. Shifra Mincer
Medical Student in the class of 2019
SUNY Downstate Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hypophosphatemia is commonly encountered in the post-transplant setting. Early post-transplant hypophosphatemia has been ascribed to excess FGF23 and hyperphosphaturia.

Many patients remain hypohosphatemic months or even years after their transplant and the mechanism was assumed to be the same, however, our group recently reported that patients with late post-transplant hypophosphatemia had very little phosphorous in their urine (Wu S, Brar A, Markell, MS. Am J Kidney Dis. 2016,67(5): A18). We hypothesized that they were not eating enough phosphorous to compensate for the acute phosphorous losses they experienced immediately post-transplant.

In this study, using both 3-day diet journals and 24-hour diet recall questionnaires, we found that mean intake of phosphorous and protein was barely at the Recommended Daily Allowance, and that despite 70% of the patients using EBT, 30% of those patients still reported concerns regarding food security. Patients who reported that the cost of food influenced their dietary choices ate 43% less protein (average 48,5 gms vs. 85.8 gms) and 29% less phosphorous (average 887 mg vs 1257 mg). When ability to rise from a chair over a 30 second period was evaluated, only patients who expressed food cost concerns were unable to complete the test.

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Mass Media Campaign Can Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas Farley, MD, MPH Health Commissioner Department of Public Health City of Philadelphia

Dr. Thomas Farley

Thomas Farley, MD, MPH
Health Commissioner
Department of Public Health
City of Philadelphia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Messages in the mass media have been used in anti-smoking campaigns, but have not be used much for other health-related behaviors.  Sugar-sweetened beverages are major contributors to the obesity epidemic in the United States, so they are an important public health target.

In this study we evaluated a brief counter-advertising campaign in a rural area of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky designed to reduce consumption of these beverages.  After the campaign, adults in the area were more wary of sugary drinks, and sales of sugary drinks fell by about 4% relative to changes in a matched comparison area.

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Spermidine in Foods Such As Aged Cheese Prevents Liver Damage and Extends Life — in Mice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Leyuan Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Center for Translational Cancer Research Institute of Biosciences and Technology Texas A&M University Houston, Texas 77030

Dr. Liu

Leyuan Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Center for Translational Cancer Research
Institute of Biosciences and Technology
Texas A&M University
Houston, Texas 77030

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our research team has been working on the question why people develop cancers and how we can prevent or cure them. In contrast to public views, we concluded from our studies that cancers, similar to our age-related diseases, originate from inefficiencies of our body to clean up cellular wastes accumulated during our lifespan. The most important pathway to clean up those wastes is called autophagy, or cellular self-eating behavior. We study how autophagy is regulated, how autophagy causes cancers, and whether we can control autophagy to prevent or cure cancers.

Previously we found autophagy is regulated by a protein called MAP1S and mice without MAP1S are more likely to develop liver cancer. We have been seeking ways to improve MAP1S-mediated autophagy to prevent liver cancer. Our current study show that spermidine, a natural component existing in many foods, can increase the stability of MAP1S proteins and activate MAP1S-mediated autophagy. Concurrent with the benefits of expand mouse lifespans ours also reported, spermidine can suppress the development of liver fibrosis and liver cancer specifically through MAP1S if we add spermidine into the daily drinking water of mice.

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Fresh Fruit Consumption May Lower Risk of Diabetes and Vascular Complications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Huaidong Du

Senior Research Fellow
China Kadoorie Biobank
Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit
Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit
Nuffield Department of Population Health
Oxford UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This research article describes findings from the China Kadoorie Biobank study which is a large population based prospective cohort study including about 0.5 million adults recruited from 10 areas in China.

The main reason for us to perform this study is because previous evidence on potential benefit of fruit consumption in diabetes prevention and management is very limited. The sugar content of fruit has led to concerns in many parts of the world (e.g. China and several other Asian countries) about its potential harm for people with (high risk of) diabetes. This has consequently Chinese people diagnosed with diabetes tend to restrict their fruit intake. With the rapid increase of diabetes incidence in China and many other Asian countries, it is critically important to investigate the associations of fruit consumption with the incidence diabetes and, among those with diabetes already, diabetic macro- and microvascular complications.

Through analysing data collected during 7 years of follow-up, the study found that people who eat fresh fruit more frequently are at lower risk of developing diabetes and diabetes related vascular complications. Compared with non-consumers, those who ate fresh fruit daily had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes. Among participants with diabetes at the start of the study, higher fresh fruit consumption also showed health benefits, with a 100g portion of fruit per day associated with 17% lower overall mortality, 13% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels (e.g. ischaemic heart disease and stroke) and 28% lower risk of developing complications affecting small blood vessels (e.g. kidney and eye diseases).

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Fewer Heart Attacks and Strokes After Trans-Fat Restriction Laws in New York

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eric J. Brandt, MD Yale University Cardiovascular Disease Fellow

Dr. Eric Brandt

Eric J. Brandt, MD
Yale University
Cardiovascular Disease Fellow

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: From previous studies we know that industrial trans fatty acid (trans fat) consumption is linked to elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. Even small amounts of consumption can be deleterious to cardiovascular health. In New York state, there were 11 counties that restricted the use of trans fatty acids in eateries. We compared hospitalization for heart attacks and stroke from 2002 through 2013 in counties that did and did not have restrictions.

Our study found that when comparing populations within New York state that restricted the use of trans fat, compared to those that did not, there was an associated additional decline beyond temporal trends for heart attacks and stroke events combined by 6.2%.

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Probiotics May Influence Schizophrenia Symptoms Through Yeast in Microbiome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emily G. Severance PhD
Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology
Department of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21287

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previously, we found that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had an increased susceptibility to Candida albicans yeast infections, which was sex specific and associated with memory deficits. Also in an earlier placebo-controlled probiotic study, we found that although probiotics improved the overall bowel function of people with schizophrenia, there was no effect by this treatment on psychiatric symptoms.  Given that C. albicans infections can upset the dynamics of the human microbiome, we decided to re-evaluate the potential benefit of probiotics in the context of a patient’s C. albicans yeast status.  Not only was bowel function again enhanced following intake of probiotics, but yeast antibody levels were decreased by this treatment.

Furthermore, psychiatric symptoms were actually improved over time for men receiving probiotics who did not have elevated C. albicans antibodies. Men who were positive for C. albicans exposure, however, consistently presented with worse psychiatric symptoms irrespective of probiotic or placebo treatment.

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Brief Nutritional Telephone Calls Help Keep Pounds Off

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Corrine I. Voils, PhD Research Career Scientist, William S Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital Professor of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Corrine Voils

Corrine I. Voils, PhD
Research Career Scientist, William S Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital
Professor of Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Keeping weight off is hard due to physical and behavioral factors. When people lose weight, their metabolism slows down a bit, making it difficult to keep off the weight. It is also difficult to keep off the weight because people don’t continually engage in behavioral skills such weighing yourself regularly. Our study focused on the behavioral component of weight loss maintenance.

After losing an average of 16 pounds initially, the maintenance group regained less than 2 pounds (net weight loss around 14 pounds), whereas the usual care group regained more than 5 pounds (net weight loss less than 11 pounds).

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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Improves Luteal Function in Obese Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex J. Polotsky, MD Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Colorado Denver Practice homepage

Dr. Polotsky

Alex J. Polotsky, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Colorado Denver
Practice homepage

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It has been well established that profound dietary changes occurred over the past 100 years. The type and amount of fat consumed has changed quite a bit over the course of 20th century. Intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), previously consumed in large quantities by humans from vegetable and fish sources, has dropped significantly. The typical Western diet (sometimes also called the typical American diet) provides an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of as high as 25:1, which is quite different from what it used to up until about the 19th century (believed to be about 1:1 ratio).

In animal studies, diets enriched with omega-3 PUFA enhance early embryonic development and boost progesterone secretion. Obesity is well known to be associated with decreased progesterone production in women (even if a obese woman ovulates). The reasons for this are not clear. Obesity is also a state of low-grade chronic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

We sought to test whether dietary supplementation with omega-3 PUFA favorably affects reproductive hormones in women and whether this effect includes normalization of progesterone production in obesity.

All women in the study tolerated supplementation well, and had significantly decreased their omega-6 to omega-3 ratios (they were normalized much closer to a 1:1 ratio). Omega-3 supplementation resulted in a trend for increased progesterone in obese women, thus enhancing ovulatory function. A 16 to 22 percent increase was observed. Additionally, the supplementation resulted in reduced systemic inflammation.

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How Does Fruit Juice Affect Weight Gain in Children?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brandon Auerbach, MD, MPH Acting Instructor Division of General Internal Medicine University of Washington

Dr. Auerbach

Brandon Auerbach, MD, MPH
Acting Instructor
Division of General Internal Medicine
University of Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The question of whether 100% fruit juice causes poor health outcomes in children, such as weight gain, has been a subject of controversy. On one hand, 100% fruit juice contains vitamins and nutrients that many children lack, is often cheaper than whole fruit, and may help kids with limited access to healthy food meet their daily fruit requirements.

On the other hand, leading nutrition experts have expressed concern that fruit juice contains amounts of sugar equal to or greater than those of sugary drinks like regular soda. Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics warn that 100% juice can be a significant source of calories and contribute to obesity if consumed excessively.

Our main finding was that consuming 1 serving/day of 100% fruit juice was not associated with weight gain in children. Children ages 1 to 6 years gained a small amount of weight, but not enough to negatively impact health. Children ages 7 and older gained no weight. We did not study amounts of 100% fruit juice higher than 1 serving/day.

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Neither Vitamin E or Selenium Found To Prevent Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D. Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Sanders-Brown Center on Aging University of Kentucky

Dr. Richard Kryscio

Richard J. Kryscio, Ph.D.
Statistics and Chair, Biostatistics and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
Sanders-Brown Center on Aging
University of Kentucky 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: At the time the trial was initiated (2002), there was ample evidence that oxidative stress is an important mechanism in brain aging. Research showed that protein oxidation is linked to the brain’s response to the abnormal proteins seen in Alzheimer disease (amyloid beta plaques in particular) leading to inflammation, DNA repair problems, reduced energy production, and other cellular changes that are identified mechanisms in the Alzheimer brain.

Both vitamin E and selenium are antioxidants. Antioxidants, either through food or supplements, are believed to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. In the brain, they may reduce the formation of amyloid beta plaques, reduce brain inflammation, and improve other brain processes. Studies in humans support these hypotheses. The Rotterdam study in the Netherlands, as an example, showed that initial blood levels of vitamin E could predict dementia risk. Those people with higher vitamin E levels were 25% less likely to develop dementia. Also, selenium deficiency results in cognitive difficulties and several population-based studies have shown an association between selenium level and cognitive decline (lower selenium levels are linked to thinking changes in the elderly).
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Sustained Consumer Response Two Years After Implementing A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax in Mexico

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shu Wen Ng, Ph.D., FTOS Research Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition Gillings School of Global Public Health Fellow, Carolina Population Center Duke-UNC Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Shu Wen Ng

Shu Wen Ng, Ph.D., FTOS
Research Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Fellow, Carolina Population Center
Duke-UNC Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Mexican government enacted a 1 peso per liter tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) after studies showed that more than 70 percent of the country’s population was overweight or obese, and that in excess of 70 percent of the added sugar calories in the Mexican diet were coming from SSBs. We were interested in learning how purchases of SSBs and other beverages changed in the 2 years after the tax was implemented in Mexico. The Health Affairs study titled “In Mexico, Evidence Of Sustained Consumer Response Two Years After Implementing A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax” found that in the two-year period spanning 2014 to 2015, the tax resulted in a 5.5 percent reduction in the first year and continued to decline, averaging 9.7 percent the second year, with lower socioeconomic households, for whom health care costs are most burdensome, lowered their purchases of sweetened beverages the most. Meanwhile, purchases of untaxed beverages such as bottled water increased 2.1 percent.

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For Access To Nutritious Food, It Comes Down To Price

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lillian MacNell PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Public Health
Campbell University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There’s been a lot of research done on how to define and measure food deserts (areas with limited access to supermarkets), and some other studies on the dietary and related health effects of living in a food desert. But there’s been a lot less attention paid to how the people who live in those food deserts deal with this—how do they feel it affects them? How and where do they shop for food? In this study, we wanted to get a better understanding of the daily reality of living in a food desert and the strategies that people use to respond to low access to food. We interviewed 42 low-income mothers and grandmothers of young children in one urban food desert about this, and we also profiled the available food stores in the neighborhood to get a sense of what’s available for these families.

One thing we found is that most of the food stores in the neighborhood were small corner and convenience stores; these rarely offered fresh fruits and vegetables, and only a few carried canned produce or other nutritious options like low-fat milk and wheat bread. When we did see those items in the neighborhood, they cost about 25% more than they did at the nearest supermarkets. So in terms of the environment, these women were working with fewer options at a higher price, unless they traveled outside of their neighborhoods to reach large supermarkets.

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Better-Beverage Campaign Reduced Sugary Drink Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marlene B. Schwartz PhD Director, Rudd Center for Obesity & Food Policy (Principal Investigator) Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies University of Connecticut Hartford, CT 06103

Dr. Schwartz

Marlene B. Schwartz PhD
Director, Rudd Center for Obesity & Food Policy (Principal Investigator)
Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
University of Connecticut
Hartford, CT 06103

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a community-wide campaign to reduce consumption of sugary beverages in Howard County, Maryland. We measured the retail sales of sugary drinks in supermarkets in the target community and a set of matched control supermarkets in another state. The campaign included multiple components over three years, including television advertising, digital marketing, direct mail, outdoor advertising, social media and earned media, creating 17 million impressions. The community partners successfully advocated for public policies to encourage healthy beverage consumption in schools, child care, health care and government settings.

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Late Risers Eat More Fat and Sugar In Evening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mirkka Maukonen

MSc (nutrition), PhD Candidate
the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Public Health Solutions
Helsinki, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Recent literature has highlighted the importance of sleep and circadian rhythms in development of obesity and metabolic dysfunctions. Furthermore, it has been suggested that in addition to quality of the diet also meal timing may play role in development of obesity. For example, skipping breakfast and eating at later times in the evening have been associated with higher BMI. However, little is known about how the timing of circadian rhythms (chronotype) affects timing of energy intake and its association with metabolic health.

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Food Insecurity Common Among Inner City Stroke Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lakshmi Warrior MD Assistance Professor, Neurology Cook County Health & Hospitals System Chicago

Dr. Lakshmi Warrior

Dr. Lakshmi Warrior MD
Assistance Professor, Neurology
Cook County Health & Hospitals System
Chicago

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households. Food insecurity is defined as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways”. Previous work has demonstrated associations between food insecurity and chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia.

Cook County Health and Hospitals System serves a population of largely uninsured and underinsured patients. This pilot study sought determine the prevalence of food insecurity in our population of patients who were recently discharged home from the hospital with the diagnosis of stroke.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that food insecurity is a prevalent problem in our patient population with more than 1 in 5 identifying as food insecure. It also appears that food insecure stroke patients had a higher prevalence of diabetes (54% vs 28%)and hypertension (86% vs. 67%) as compared to food secure patients.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Food insecurity is a prevalent issue in our patient population. There should be consideration for food insecurity screening in high-risk populations as food insecurity can complicate the management of diet-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. For patients with food insecurity, a multi-disciplinary approach using case and social workers in addition to medical management should be considered.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further study of this topic is needed. A larger, retrospective review of our stroke patients is currently underway. We are also planning for a prospective study of our inpatient stroke patients to evaluate if these patients are at higher risk for not only vascular risk factors but also re-hospitalization and poor outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation: Abstract presented at the  AHA/ASA International Stroke Conference February 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Cardioprotective Effect of Soy in Japanese May Be Mediated Through Equol

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D.</strong> Associate professor of epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Sekikawa

Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D.
Associate professor of epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We found that Japanese men who are able to produce equol—a substance made by some types of “good” gut bacteria when they metabolize isoflavones (micronutrients found in dietary soy)—have lower levels of a risk factor for heart disease than their counterparts who cannot produce it. All monkeys can produce equol, as can 50 to 70 percent of people in Asian countries. However, only 20 to 30 percent of people in Western countries can.

Scientists have known for some time that isoflavones protect against the buildup of plaque in arteries, known as atherosclerosis, in monkeys, and are associated with lower rates of heart disease in people in Asian countries. It was surprising when a large trial of isoflavones in the U.S. didn’t show the beneficial effects on atherosclerosis.

My colleagues and I recruited 272 Japanese men aged 40 to 49 and performed blood tests to find out if they were producing equol. After adjusting for other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and obesity as well as dietary intake of isoflavones, we found that the equol-producers had 90-percent lower odds of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than the equol non-producers.

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