Cocoa may enhance skeletal muscle function
University of California at San Diego, May 3, 2022
A small clinical trial led by researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) found that patients with advanced heart failure and type 2 diabetes showed improved mitochondrial structure after three months of treatment with epicatechin-enriched cocoa. Epicatechin is a flavonoid found in dark chocolate.
The study published by the journal Clinical and Translational Science looked at profoundly ill patients with major damage to skeletal muscle mitochondria.
The trial participants consumed dark chocolate bars and a beverage with a total epicatechin content of approximately 100 mg per day for three months. Biopsies of skeletal muscle were conducted before and after treatment. After the three-month treatment, the researchers looked at changes in mitochondria volume and the abundance of cristae, which are internal compartments of mitochondria that are necessary for efficient function of the mitochondria, and measurable by electron microscopy.
After three months, we saw recovery – cristae numbers back toward normal levels, and increases in several molecular indicators involved in new mitochondria production.”
Healthy habits may improve longevity, prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Rush University Medical Center, May 14, 2022
Everyday habits that serve as the backbone of a healthy lifestyle may keep your brain sharp and help you live longer, according to new research from aging experts at RUSH.
A study recently published in the British Medical Journal found that people ages 65 and older who had a healthy lifestyle lived longer—3.1 years longer for women, 5.7 years longer for men—than their peers who didn’t have the same healthy lifestyle. They also spent more of their remaining years without Alzheimer’s disease.
What constitutes a healthy lifestyle?Eating the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurogenerative Delay (MIND) diet
- Staying engaged in cognitive activities like reading and puzzles
- Being physically active for at least 150 minutes a week
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol use (no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men)
This latest study builds on ongoing research from RUSH showing that lifestyle factors can potentially reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by up to 60%, says Kumar Rajan, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and director of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging.
Ozone treated water v. lethal microbial material
University of Alberta, May 9, 2022
A University of Alberta research team has discovered that technology commonly used to decontaminate food industry equipment can also rid meat processing plants of lethal microbial material responsible for the human version of the ailment Mad Cow disease.
U of A microbiology professors Mike Belosevic and Norm Neumann and engineering professor Mohamed Gamal El-Din demonstrated that infectious proteins found in the brain matter of cattle can be eradicated from water treated with ozone.
The discovery could have applications in decontaminating wastewater in settings such as slaughterhouse effluents where infected neural material known as prions may be present.
The ozone decontamination procedure can potentially be used to sterilize instruments used for neurosurgery, and prevent the transfer of infectious prions during surgical procedures.
Prions are able to destroy and can still be infectious after being incinerated at heats of 850o C. In the wild, soil contaminated by a carcass of a deer that died of Chronic Wasting Disease can remain a source of infection for many years.
The U of A research team’s technique of using water treated with ozone to destroy prions is an improvement on current prion decontamination methods.
Tai Chi Benefits Patients With Parkinson’s
Oregon Research Institute, May 13, 2022
Tai chi, an ancient martial art characterized by slow, flowing movement and meditation, helps improve balance and movement control for people with Parkinson’s disease.
The finding, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, is the latest study to show the benefits of tai chi for people with chronic health problems. Past studies have shown that tai chi reduces falls and depression among the elderly, and lessens pain for patients with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
In the latest research, 195 people with movement and balance problems caused by Parkinson’s disease were recruited from four Oregon cities. The patients were divided into three exercise classes that met for an hour a day, twice a week. One group took part in an extensive stretching class, another was taught resistance training, and the third group performed tai chi.
After six months, patients in the tai chi group performed better on a number of measures related to strength, movement control, balance, stride length and reach. Resistance training also offered some benefits, and both the tai chi and resistance training groups had fewer falls than the stretching group.
Vitamin B12 shows promise against ALS
Tokushima University (Japan), May 13 2022.
An article appearing on May 9, 2022 in JAMA Neurology described a randomized trial in which men and women with the progressive neurologic disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) exhibited improvement in their condition after receiving a high dose of a form of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin.
Among the 126 patients who completed the trial, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale scores declined by an average of 2.66 points for those who received the vitamin and by 4.63 in the placebo group—a difference of 43%. (Lower scores indicate increased severity of symptoms.)
This randomized clinical trial demonstrated that use of ultrahigh-dose methylcobalamin resulted in a 43% reduction in clinical deterioration as evaluated with the ALSFRS-R total score throughout the 16-week treatment period in the patients with early-stage ALS,
Diabetes risk from sitting around
University of Leicester (UK), May 12, 2022
A new study has found that women who stay seated for long periods of time every day are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, but that a similar link wasn’t found in men.
Researchers from the University of Leicester Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences revealed that women who are sedentary for most of the day were at a greater risk from exhibiting the early metabolic defects that act as a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes than people who tend to sit less.
The team assessed over 500 men and women of the age of 40 or more about the amount of time spent sitting over the course of a week. It was found that the women who spent the longest time sitting had higher levels of insulin, as well as higher amounts of C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen, leptin, and interleukin6, and which indicate problematic inflammation.
This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken. This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day.
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