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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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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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

Lifestyle Modifications May Improve Health and Prognosis in Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc.
Affiliate scientist
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, ON

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

Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete!
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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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Calorie Restriction Extends Life Through Protein Regulation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John C. Price, Ph.D Asst. Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry Brigham Young University Provo, Utah

Dr. John Price

John C. Price, Ph.D
Asst. Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

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

Response: Since 1930 it has been known that the rate of biological aging could be modified by the diet.  In mice for example if you let them eat as much as they want they will live almost 3 years.  Providing essentially the same diet but controlling the number of total calories, there is an almost linear increase in lifespan as you restrict calories.  The studies in mice and rats have been repeated hundreds of times since that time.  There have been a lot of somewhat conflictive observations, like increased formation of new mitochondria, and increased autophagy which targets organelles for degradation, during stable reduced calorie intake. This expectation, that a restricted diet with fewer calories available to the animal could support increased protein synthesis and degradation and result in increased lifespan, is what got us interested in studying Calorie Restriction.  So we measured the relative synthesis rates for several hundred proteins in 18 month old calorie restricted mice which were experiencing the benefits of improved health and lifespan.  We found overwhelmingly that the calorie restricted mice had reduced synthesis rates down to as low as 25% of the age matched control group.  This observation has now been independently confirmed by multiple groups.

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Link Between Soy Consumption and Breast Cancer Remains Complicated

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Xiyuan Zhang PhD
and Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD
Professor of Oncology
Georgetown University
Research Building, Room E407
Washington, DC 20057

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

Response: Breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women and it also is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the United States. Every year, over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the US and this number reached over 1.5 million worldwide in 2012.

Asian women exhibit much lower risk of breast cancer than Caucasian women, accounting for about one fifth of the breast cancer incidence in Western women. Therefore, researchers have been intensively studying and aiming to decipher the difference between these two populations. Results of previous research from our laboratory and by others, in animal models and humans, indicate that higher intake of soy foods or soy isoflavone genistein during childhood is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. However, findings done using human breast cancer cells indicate that soy isoflavones stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. Thus, there is an apparent controversy regarding soy isoflavones and breast cancer.

70% of all breast cancer cases are estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and are therefore treated with endocrine therapy, including with tamoxifen. Although these treatments effectively prevent recurrence in half of the ER+ breast cancer patients, the other half are resistant or develop resistance to the endocrine therapy and recur. Intriguingly, several studies done using human breast cancer cells in culture or in mice found that soy isoflavone genistein negates tamoxifen’s effects. However, observational studies in women suggest that those patients who consume most soy foods have the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence. The present study was designed to address these conflicting findings using a preclinical animal model and to determine if lifetime isoflavone intake has different effect on tamoxifen’s ability to treat breast cancer than intake that starts when cancer is detected.

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