Periodic Low Calorie Days Can Extend Lifespan (at least in mice)

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Valter Longo, PhD Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology  Professor of Biological Sciences Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Director of the USC Longevity Institute USC

Dr. Longo

Valter Longo, PhD
Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology
Professor of Biological Sciences
Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Director of the USC Longevity Institute
USC

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

Response: The use of a low calorie diet that mimics fasting for 4 days twice a month starting at middle age can extend lifespan and rejuvenate mice.

In humans a similar diet once a month causes improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure , inflammation, fasting glucose etc consistent with rejuvenation

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Soda, Sugary Drinks Linked to Increased Risk of Kidney Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Casey M. Rebholz, PhD, MS, MNSP, MPH, FAHA Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research Baltimore, MD 21287

Dr. Rebholz

Casey M. Rebholz, PhD, MS, MNSP, MPH, FAHA
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Baltimore, MD 21287

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

Response: Individual beverages have been previously shown to influence risk of a wide range of cardiometabolic diseases. Less is known about beverage consumption and kidney disease risk.

In this study population, we found that one such beverage pattern consisted of soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, and water, and that higher adherence to the sugar-sweetened beverage pattern was associated with greater odds of developing incident kidney disease, even after accounting for demographic characteristics and established risk factors.  Continue reading

Paternal Grandfather’s Access to Food Predicts All-Cause and Cancer Mortality in Grandsons

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Denny Vågerö  PhD MSc CHESS, Centre for Health Equity Studies Department of Public Health Sciences Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Vågerö

Denny Vågerö  PhD MSc
CHESS, Centre for Health Equity Studies
Department of Public Health Sciences
Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: Transgenerational, epigenetic, response, has been shown in studies of animals and plants. Does it apply to humans?

Previous findings of associations between grandparents early nutrition and grandchildren’s mortality have been controversial.  Two reasons for this: evidence in human studies has been based on rather small numbers and potential mechanisms are not very well understood.

We have tested the hypothesis that there is “a male line transgenerational response” to nutritional events in pre-puberty in a study much larger than previous ones.

We find support for this hypothesis in that boys who enjoyed unusually good access to food during their “slow growth period” (aged 9-12 years) seem to transmit a mortality risk on their grandsons but not granddaughters, in particular for cancer.

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Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Long-Term Cardiovascular Events in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samia Mora, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Director, Center for Lipid Metabolomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA

Dr. Mora

Samia Mora, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Lipid Metabolomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

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

Response: The Mediterranean diet is rich in plants (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) and olive oil, and includes moderate intake of fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs, and alcohol, and rare use of meats and sweets.The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events but the precise mechanisms through which Mediterranean diet intake may reduce long-term risk of CVD are not well understood. We aimed to investigate the biological mechanisms that may mediate this cardiovascular benefit.

Using a prospective study of 25,994 initially healthy women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study who were followed up to 12-years, we evaluated potential mediating effects of a panel of biomarkers (in total 40 biomarkers) that represent different CVD pathways and clinical factors.

Higher baseline intake of a Mediterranean-type diet was associated with approximately one quarter lower risk of CVD events during the 12 year follow up. For the MED-CVD risk reduction, biomarkers of inflammation, glucose-metabolism/insulin-resistance, and adiposity contributed most to explaining the association, with additional contributions from pathways related to blood pressure, lipids – in particular HDL or triglyceride-rich lipoprotein metabolism, and to a lesser extent LDL cholesterol, branched chain amino acids, and small molecule metabolites.  Continue reading

Heart Attacks Spike During Holiday Season – How Can You Minimize Your Risk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lowell H. Steen, Jr., M.D. Interventional Cardiologist Loyola University Medical Center

Dr. Steen

Dr. Lowell H. Steen, Jr., M.D.
Interventional Cardiologist
Loyola University Medical Center

Dr. Steen discusses how holiday treats & stress can increase the risk of heart attack.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main factors that are linked to an increase in heart related adverse events during the Christmas holiday season? Who is most at risk? 

Response: The increase in holiday season heart-related hospitalizations and deaths are due to a variety of behaviors such as putting off seeking medical help until after the holidays, overeating rich foods, strenuous travel, excessive alcohol consumption and stressful family interactions. These factors can all trigger heart issues.

Factors such as age, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking all increase heart risk. Additionally, those with high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, are exceptionally at risk and should celebrate the hectic holiday season with caution.  Continue reading

Cardiology Articles Pertaining to Lifestyle and Nutrition Receive Most Media Attention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ravi B. Patel, MD Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Patel

Ravi B. Patel, MD
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, Illinois

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

Response: The digital attention of scientific articles can be readily quantified using the Altmetric score. The Altmetric score is a weighted measure, incorporating a variety of media platforms.

We aimed to characterize the Top 10% of articles by Altmetric score among 4 major cardiovascular journals (Circulation, European Heart Journal, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and JAMA Cardiology) in 2017.

Our primary findings were:

1) nearly half of the most disseminated articles were not original research investigations,

2) the most common article topic was nutrition/lifestyle, and

3) there was a weak but significant correlation between Altmetric scores and citation number.  Continue reading

Probiotics Found Unhelpful in Kids With Outpatient Diarrhea

Stephen Freedman MDCM, MSc Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Professor in Child Health and Wellness Sections of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Gastroenterology Alberta Children's Hospital & Research Institute University of Calgary Calgary, AB

Dr. Freedman

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Stephen Freedman MDCM, MSc
Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Professor in Child Health and Wellness
Sections of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Gastroenterology
Alberta Children’s Hospital & Research Institute
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB

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

Response: Vomiting and diarrhea remain extremely common diseases in children and are the most common reason children are brought for emergency department care in North America.  While we have options to reduce vomiting there historically has been little physicians can offer to reduce the severity of the diarrhea.

Probiotics have recently emerged as an option with some early evidence of benefit in clinical trials but the studies performed to date have been small and few little research has been conducted in North America in outpatient or emergency department children.

The one study to date that was performed in a US emergency department did not find probiotic use to be beneficial.  Given the increasing importance of clarifying this issue we undertook this study.

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Cochrane Reviews Fish Oil Supplements To Reduce Premature Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Philippa Middelton MPH

Associate Professor
Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
Adelaide, Australia 

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

Response: For several decades, it has been known that fish or fish oils can lengthen gestation.
In our Cochrane review of 70 studies and nearly 20,000 women we show that fish oil (mainly as omega-3 fatty acid supplements), prevents premature birth, specifically

  • An 11% reduction in premature birth < 37 weeks gestation;
  • And a 42% reduction in premature birth < 34 weeks gestation.

Continue reading

Can a Low-Gluten Diet Improve Your Health (even if you don’t have celiac disease)?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Oluf Pedersen Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research University of Copenhagen

Dr. Pedersen

Professor Oluf Pedersen
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
University of Copenhagen

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

Response: We focused our study on healthy people due to the world-wide bottom-up movement among healthy adults to live gluten-free or on a low-gluten diet.

Therefore, we undertook a randomised, controlled, cross-over trial involving 60 middle-aged healthy Danish adults with two eight week interventions comparing a low-gluten diet (2 g gluten per day) and a high-gluten diet (18 g gluten per day), separated by a washout period of at least six weeks with habitual diet (12 g gluten per day).

The two diets were balanced in number of calories and nutrients including the same total amount of dietary fibres. However, the composition of fibres differed markedly between the two diets.

When the low-gluten trend started years back the trend was without any scientific evidence for health benefits. Now we bring pieces of evidence that a low-gluten diet in healthy people may be related to improved intestinal wellbeing due to changes in the intestinal microbiota which to our surprise is NOT induced by gluten itself but by the concomitant change in the type of dietary fibres linked to a low-gluten intake.

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Soy Formula Feeding in Infancy Linked with Menstrual Pain in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Baby Bottle" by brokinhrt2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristen Upson, PhD, MPH and
Donna D. Baird, PhD
Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 

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

Response: Menstrual pain is the most common menstrual complaint and can substantially affect the quality of women’s lives. A prior study in young adults who participated in feeding studies as infants reported an increased risk of greater menstrual pain severity in adulthood with soy formula feeding. Since that study, evidence from laboratory animal studies support the disruptive effects of a phytoestrogen present in soy formula, genistein, on reproductive system development, including aspects involved in menstrual pain. The laboratory animal studies also demonstrate that the developmental changes with genistein can persist into adulthood. Given these results, we were interested in further evaluating the association between infant soy formula feeding and menstrual pain in a cohort of young women.

In our study of women ages 23-35 years old, we observed that soy formula feeding during infancy was associated with several indicators of severe menstrual pain in reproductive-age women. This included a 40% increased risk of ever using hormonal contraception for menstrual pain and 50% increased risk of moderate/severe menstrual discomfort with most periods during early adulthood.  Continue reading

Can Coffee Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"coffee cappuccino art maple leaf via quattrone" by skeddy in NYC is licensed under CC BY 2.0Donald Weaver, PhD, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS
Senior Scientist and Director, Research Institute
Krembil Research Institute
University Health Network
Toronto, Canada

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

Response: First, we are seeking novel molecules that might have usefulness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Since Mother Nature is a superb chemist, natural products are an ideal place to start looking for possible therapeutics.  There is a long history (penicillin, digitalis …) of drugs identified from natural product sources.  Moreover, in earlier work by us, we have shown that other natural products extracted from maple syrup have possible therapeutic efficacy against AD.

Therefore, it was logical for us to look at extracts of coffee.  We see similarities between maple syrup and coffee.  In both of these natural products, the plant derived material (i.e. the coffee bean, or sap from maple syrup) is initially boiled or roasted prior to its use; thus, it is not a direct simple plant product, but one that has been heated (boiled or roasted).  We suspect that the heating process “does more chemistry” enabling the generation of new molecules from the plant derived materials.  In our study we show that a class of compounds (phenylindanes) from roasted coffee has the ability to inhibit the misfolding of two proteins (beta-amyloid, tau) whose misfolding and aggregation (“clumping”) is implicated in the disease process of AD.

Second, as described below, there is already epidemiological evidence that coffee consumption may offer some protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease  and Parkinson’s disease (PD), so by looking at the constituents of coffee for chemicals that might block the clumping of beta-amyloid and/or tau, was an attempt to seek a molecular link explaining the epidemiology.    Continue reading

Lower SNAP Participation by Immigrant Mothers With Young Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Allison Bovell-Ammon, M.Div. Deputy Director of Policy Strategy Children's HealthWatchAllison Bovell-Ammon, M.Div.
Deputy Director of Policy Strategy
Children’s HealthWatch

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

Response: Children’s HealthWatch was founded in 1998 by pediatric providers treating children with failure to thrive in six US cities across the country. They began their research on the health impacts of economic hardships like food insecurity in response to the 1996 welfare reform legislation after witnessing deteriorating health among young children in their clinics as a result of welfare sanctions on families.

Over the years, the scope of the research has expanded to include research on food insecurity, housing instability, energy insecurity, health care hardships, and child care constraints. Through our current network of pediatricians and public health researchers in five US cities (Boston, Baltimore, Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia), we seek to improve the health and well-being of children under age 4 and their families by informing policies that address and alleviate economic hardships. Our ongoing data collection in emergency departments and primary care clinics enables us to rapidly respond to emerging public health issues as policies and economic conditions change. While we have produced other papers and analyses specifically addressing health and economic disparities relevant to immigrant families, we were specifically interested in exploring this topic because the clinicians in our group as well as national media began anecdotally reporting that immigrants were forgoing accessing critical public health programs like SNAP out of fear.

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More Protein in Diet Linked to Slower Disability Decline in Oldest Old

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
""Trash Fish" Sustanable Seafood Dinner" by Edsel Little is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0Nuno Mendonça RD, PhD

Campus for Ageing and Vitality
Newcastle‐upon –Tyne
United Kingdom 

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

Response: Very old adults, those aged 85 and older, are the fastest growing age group in most western societies and are more likely to develop disability. Dietary protein is a sensible candidate because it may slow decreases in muscle mass and functional decline with aging. Although we know that protein intake is, on average, lower in older adults (a mean of 66 grams per day) compared to younger adults (a mean of 91 grams per day), research exploring protein intake and disability progression in very old adults is limited. We found that our participants from North-East England had four different disability trajectories between the ages of 85 and 90: a) a constant very low disability trajectory (difficulty with none or 1 activity of daily living (ADL))  over the 5 years; b) a low disability trajectory (difficulty with 2 ADLs) that steadily progressed to mild disability (5 ADLs); c) a mild disability score (4 ADLs) at 85 that increased to moderate disability (10 ADLs) by age 90; and d) a moderate disability score (9 ADLs) at baseline that progressed to severe disability (14 ADLs) after 5 years. We found that those with higher protein intake, especially those at or above 1 g per kg of body weight per day (70g of protein per day for a 70 kg person), were less likely to belong to a worse disability trajectory.

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Parental Attitudes Linked to Infant Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jennifer Woo Baidal, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Director of Pediatric Weight Management,
Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition,
Columbia University Medical Center &
New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital

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

Response: Childhood obesity prevalence is historically high, with most incident obesity among children occurring before age 5 years. Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity are already apparent by the first years of life. Latino/Hispanic children in low-income families are at-risk for obesity. Thus, understanding potentially effective ways to prevent childhood obesity, particularly in vulnerable populations, should focus on early life.

Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is a modifiable risk factor for obesity and is linked to other adverse health outcomes. Maternal SSB consumption in pregnancy and infant sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in the first year of life are linked to later childhood obesity.

We sought to describe beverage consumption in a modern cross-sectional cohort of 394 low-income, Latino families, and to examine the relationship of parental attitudes toward sugar-sweetened beverages with parental and infant SSB consumption.

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Can an Organic Diet Reduce Cancer Risk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Sunday market in Paris: all organic food" by Richard Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0Julia Baudry &
Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot PhD
Centre de Recherche Epidémiologie et Statistique Sorbonne Paris Cité, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U1153, Institut National de la Recherche

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

Response: Among the environmental risk factors for cancer, there are concerns about exposure to different classes of pesticides, notably through occupational exposure. Organic foods are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods, and studies have showed that an organic diet reduces exposure to certain pesticides (Baudry et al 2018, Oates et al 2014, Curl et al 2015). In the general population, the primary route of exposure is diet, especially intake of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. However, few studies have examined the association of organic food consumption with cancer risk.

In a population of 68 946 French adults from the NutriNet-Santé study, we found a reduction of 25% of cancer risk among consumers with a high frequency of organic foods compared to consumers with a low frequency, after accounting for many factors (such as lifestyle, diet and sociodemographic factors). Specifically a 34% and 76% decrease in risk was observed for post-menopausal breast cancer and all lymphomas, respectively, among frequent organic food consumers compared to consumers with a low organic food consumption frequency.

Continue reading

Banned Stimulants Remain in Supplements, Despite FDA Efforts to Remove Them

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pieter Cohen, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Cambridge Health Alliance Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School

Dr. Cohen

Pieter Cohen, M.D
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Cambridge Health Alliance
Somerville MA 02143

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

Response: Since ephedra was banned from supplements in 2004, a variety of experimental stimulants have been introduced into sports and weight loss supplements as ephedra replacements.  The FDA has made some efforts to remove these emerging stimulants from supplements, but whether FDA action to remove these stimulants has it’s intended effect is not known.

We studied the effect of FDA action to remove four experimental stimulants from supplements.

We found that the FDA public notices did not work.  The stimulants remained in supplements even years after the FDA moved to remove them.

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

Response: Given the regulatory paradigm under which supplements are sold, consumers cannot trust that they will be effective or safe.  Clinicians should understand that supplements might contain hidden ingredients that have potent drug-like effects and consider the effects of supplements when patients experience unexplained symptoms.

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

Response: One of the most concerning findings was that one stimulant appeared in the supplements analyzed only after the FDA warned that it was not permitted to be sold in supplements. Future studies should investigate whether FDA announcements regarding new experimental stimulants might have the unintended consequence of firms learning about the stimulant and then adding it to their supplements.

Disclosures: Dr Cohen was subject of a civil suit brought by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, a supplement company, regarding β-methylphenylethylamine;  The jury found in Dr Cohen’s favor. Dr Cohen has collaborated in research with NSF International and received research support from Consumers Union. No other disclosures were reported.

Citation:

Cohen PA, Wen A, Gerona R. Prohibited Stimulants in Dietary Supplements After Enforcement Action by the US Food and Drug Administration. JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 22, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4846

Oct 23, 2018 @ 2:33 pm

 

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Neural Tube Defects Are Preventable: Buy Corn Masa Flour and Tortilla Products That Contain Folic Acid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Tortillas di una miscela di mais azzurro tostato" by fugzu is licensed under CC BY 2.0Vijaya Kancherla, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Epidemiologist, Center for Spina Bifida Prevention
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University
Atlanta GA 30322

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

 Response: The scientific evidence since 1991 has shown that folic acid prevents from 35%-95% of neural tube birth defects that are caused due to low folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) in the mother’s diet prior to conception and during early pregnancy. Neural tube defects form in the embryo at 4th week of gestation when most women are unaware they are pregnant.

Taking any amount of folic acid after the 4th week of pregnancy will not prevent neural tube defects. There is no cure for these birth defects. So, it matters for women to have enough folic acid prior to conception and in the first four weeks of pregnancy. If a woman is not taking prenatal vitamins that early, folic acid fortified foods come to rescue. Foods fortified with folic acid will prevent folate deficiency for everyone, and offer the benefit to mothers who were not planning their pregnancies or were not taking folic acid pills. If corn masa flour and tortillas were fortified with folic acid, that would help millions of reproductive aged women have healthy stores of folic acid in their bodies, to prepare them for their pregnancy, irrespective of their pregnancy plans.

Prior to April 2016, folic acid (also known as vitamin B9) was not allowed to be added to corn masa flour (or products made from masa such as tortillas and tortilla chips) in the US. So, there was no expectation of having folic acid in these products.

The March of Dimes, Spina Bifida Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatricians, Gruma Corporation and others filed a petition with the US FDA and succeeded in allowing millers to voluntarily add folic acid to corn masa flour and tortillas as a food additive. This regulation was implemented by the US FDA in April 2016.  Continue reading

Probiotic May Eliminate Staph Bacteria Colonizations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"staph aureus on blood agar" by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pipat Piewngam
Postdoctorol fellow
Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section,
Laboratory of Bacteriology,
NIAID/NIH
Bethesda, MD, USA 20892 

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

Response: Our team at National Institutes of health, Mahidol University and Rajamangala University of Technology in Thailand has reported that the consumption of probiotic Bacillus bacteria comprehensively abolishes colonization with the dangerous pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus.

We hypothesized that the composition of the human gut microbiota affects intestinal colonization with S. aureus. We collected fecal samples from 200 healthy individuals from rural populations in Thailand and analyzed the composition of the gut microbiome by 16S rRNA sequencing. Surprisingly, we did not detect significant differences in the composition of the microbiome between S. aureus carriers and non-carriers. We then sampled the same 200 people for S. aureus in the gut (25 positive) and nose (26 positive). Strikingly, we found no S. aureus in any of the samples where Bacillus were present.

In mouse studies, we discovered S. aureus Agr quorum-sensing signaling system that must function for the bacteria to grow in the gut. Intriguingly, all of the more than 100 Bacillus isolates we had recovered from the human feces efficiently inhibited that system. Then, we discovered that the fengycin class of Bacillus lipopeptides achieves colonization resistance by inhibiting that system.

To further validate their findings, we colonized the gut of mice with S. aureus and fed them B. subtilis spores to mimic probiotic intake. Probiotic Bacillus given every two days eliminated S. aureus in the guts of the mice. The same test using Bacillus where fengycin production had been removed had no effect, and S. aureus grew as expected. This is one of the first study that provide human evidence supporting the biological significance of probiotic bacterial interference and show that such interference can be achieved by blocking a pathogen’s signaling system. Continue reading

Cutting Out Bacon, Sausage and Hot Dogs May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist  

Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results.

Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t eat or have a low intake in their diet.  Continue reading

Black-White Hypertension Divide: Is The Southern Diet a Culprit?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team Professor and Chair of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Howard

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team
Professor and Chair of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

Response: Perhaps the most important distinction to draw for the readers is that this is not a paper about risk factors for hypertension, but rather a paper that looks for contributors to the black-white difference in the presence of hypertension.  This racial difference in hypertension is the single biggest contributor to the immense disparities in cardiovascular diseases (stroke, MI, etc.) that underpin the approximate 4-year difference in black-white life expectancy.  As such, this work is “going back upstream” to understand the causes that lead to blacks having a higher prevalence of hypertension than whites with hopes that changing this difference will lead to reductions in the black-white disparities in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy.   This difference in the prevalence of hypertension is immense … in our national study of people over age 45, about 50% of whites have hypertension compared to about 70% of blacks … that is HUGE.   We think that changing this difference is (at least one of) the “holy grail” of disparities research.

This study demonstrates that there are several “targets” where changes could be made to reduce the black-white difference in hypertension, and thereby the black-white difference in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy; however, the most “potent” of these appears to be diet changes.   Even though we know what foods promote a heart healthy lifestyle, we still have major differences in terms of how that message is being adopted by various groups of Americans.  We can’t know from our data what about the Southern diet is driving these racial differences in hypertension but we can begin to design community based interventions that could possibly help to reduce these racial disparities through diet.  It is interested that diet more than being overweight was the biggest contributor to the racial disparities in hypertension.  This would suggest we might want to consider interventions to increase health foods in the diet while minimizing fried foods and processed meats.

While this is not a clinical trial that “proves” that changes in diet will reduce the disparity in blood pressure, we consider the “message” of the paper to be good news, as the things that we found that contribute to this black-white difference are things that can be changed.   While it is always hard for individual people to change their diet, it can be done.   More importantly, over time we as a society have been changing what we eat … but we need to “double down” and try to change this faster.   Also, policy changes of play a role to gently make changes in these diet, where for example Great Britain has been making policy changes to slowly remove salt from the diet.   These changes are possible … and as such, we may see a day when the black-white differences in hypertension (and thereby CVD and death) may be reduced. 

Continue reading

Study Finds No Need to Fear Carbohydrates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, MBA Director of Clinical Research Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Washington, DC 20016

Dr. Kahleova

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, MBA
Director of Clinical Research
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Washington, DC 20016 

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

Response: The effects of carbohydrates on body weight and insulin sensitivity are controversial.

In this 16-week randomized clinical trial, we tested the role of carbohydrate quantity and quality, as part of a plant-based diet, on body weight, body composition, and insulin resistance. We have demonstrated that carbohydrates and dietary fiber play important roles in the regulation of body weight, body composition, and insulin resistance in overweight individuals.

Increased consumption of total carbohydrate was associated with a decrease in BMI and volume of visceral fat, even after adjustment for energy intake. Increased consumption of total and particularly insoluble fiber was associated with a decrease in BMI, fat mass, and volume of visceral fat.

Continue reading

Could a Low-Gluten Diet During Pregnancy Protect Offspring from Diabetes?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Knud Josefsen, senior researcher
Bartholin Institute, Rigshospitalet,
Copenhagen K, Denmark

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

Response: In a large population of pregnant women, we found that the risk of the offspring being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 15.6 years (the follow up period) was doubled in the group of women ingesting the highest amounts of gluten (20-66 g/day) versus the group of women ingesting the lowest amounts of gluten (0-7 g/day). For every additional 10 grams of gluten ingested, the risk for type 1 diabetes in the child increased by a factor of 1.31.

It the sense that it was a hypothesis that we specifically tested, we were not surprised. We had seen in animal experiments that a gluten-free diet during pregnancy protected the offspring from diabetes, and we wanted to see if we could prove the same pattern in humans. There could be many reasons why we would not be able to show the association, even if it was there (sample size, low quality data, covariates we could not correct for and so on), but we were off course pleasantly surprised that we found the association that we were looking for, in particular because it is quite robust Continue reading

Mediterranean Diet Linked To Stroke Risk Reduction in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Vegetables” by Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha" is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint MBBS MD FRCP(Edin) FRCP(Lond)
Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age
Academic Lead: Ageing Clinical & Experimental Research &
Director of Clinical Academic Training Development
The Lead Academic, Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training (ACAT) Programmes
School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition
College of Life Sciences & Medicine, University of Aberdeen

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

Response: While Mediterranean Diet has been linked to reduced stroke risk it remains unclear
(1) its impact on populations within non-Mediterranean countries;
(2) its specific impact on different gender;
(3) the effect observed when using more robust dietary assessments; and (4) which specific components of the diet are most protective.

We therefore studied more than 23 thousand men and women (mainly British Caucasian) aged 40 years or older in Norfolk, UK as part of EPIC-Norfolk study and we found that the greater adherence to Mediterranean dietary pattern is linked to a significant reduction in stroke risk in women but not in men. This benefit was seen across the whole middle and older age population (particularly for women) regardless of their existing risk factors such as high blood pressure.

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When Should Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Receive Parenteral Nutrition?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD Pediatric intensivist Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital

Dr. Verbruggen

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD
Pediatric intensivist
Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital

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

Response: In critically ill children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) are often difficult to feed. The subsequent macronutrient deficit was found to be associated with impaired outcomes in the PICU. Furthermore, being undernourished in the PICU has also been associated with poor outcome of critical illness in children.

These associations formed the basis for guidelines recommending initiation of parenteral nutritional support early when enteral feeding is insufficient. However, the multicenter randomised controlled trial (RCT) ‘Pediatric Early versus Late Parenteral Nutrition in Critical Illness’ (PEPaNIC), including 1440 critically ill children, showed that withholding PN for one week (Late-PN) resulted in fewer new infections and reduced the duration of PICU stay as compared to initiating PN at day 1 (Early-PN). However, withholding PN for one week in critically ill children, who are already undernourished upon admission to the PICU, raised concerns among experts.

Therefore we set out to investigate the impact of withholding supplemental PN in a subgroup of critically ill children who were acutely undernourished upon admission to the PICU.  Continue reading

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yutaka MATSUOKA, MD, PhD

Division Chief of Health Care Research,
Behavioral Sciences and Survivorship Research Group,
Center for Public Health Sciences,
National Cancer Center Japan

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

Response: Anxiety is the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom. We have now two major treatment options that include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy.  However, CBT is time-consuming, costly, and limited in availability. And there is concern over potential side effects in pharmacotherapy. Evidence-based and safer treatment options are required. Omega-3 fatty acids have potential preventive and therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety. Clinical and preclinical studies support the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite the largely positive findings of these trials, the clinical application of the findings is unfortunately limited by their small sample size.

Improvement in anxiety symptoms were associated with omega-3 fatty acids treatment compared with controls. The anxiolytic effects of omega-3 fatty acids were also stronger in patients with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  Continue reading