The Gary Null Show – 07.29.22

Strawberries may fend off Alzheimer’s

Rush University Medical Center, July 28, 2022

Could strawberries as a snack or in your cereal, salads or smoothie help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s? Maybe so, according to a new study from researchers at RUSH.

RUSH researchers found that a bioactive compound found in strawberries called pelargonidin may be associated with fewer neurofibrillary tau tangles in the brain. Tau tangles are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by abnormal changes with tau proteins that accumulate in the brain. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“We suspect the anti-inflammatory properties of pelargonidin may decrease overall neuroinflammation, which may reduce cytokine production,” said Dr. Julie Schneider, author of the study. Schneider is associate professor and neuropathologist in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Among berries, strawberries are the most abundant source of pelargonidin.

Florida Seaweed may Hold Promise as Protector Against Cancer

 University of Florida College of Pharmacy, July 24, 2022

Among all cancers, new cases of prostate cancer are the most prevalent in the United States. While there are numerous tips for preventing and even reversing prostate cancer, one new study suggests a seaweed found off the coast of Florida could hold the key to preventing this and other forms of cancer.

The news potentially brings the U.S. closer to Asian countries in prostate cancer prevalence—countries that incidentally have high rates of seaweed consumption. Researchers with the University of Florida screened several different seaweeds, searching for one with the most cancer-protective promise. They found it in a common green algae known as sea lettuce.

“We now have scientific evidence that this seaweed raises the body’s antioxidant defense system and therefore might potentially prevent a number of diseases, including cancer,” said Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., lead research and associate professor of medicinal chemistry in the UF College of Pharmacy. “This mechanism appears to be most relevant to prostate cancer.”

“Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables protect the body against these free radicals, mostly through a scavenging process of elimination. Rather than simply removing the damaging free radicals through this direct reaction, compounds in sea lettuce worked through an indirect mechanism, Luesch found. This process increases the levels of a suite of antioxidant enzymes and boosts antioxidants in cells, producing longer-lasting protection. Regulated by stretches of DNA called antioxidant response elements, the enzymes prevent oxidative damage and inflammation.”

Luesch compares the possibilities of sea lettuce compounds to the proven benefits of sulforaphane in broccoli, an enzyme that works through similar methods to prevent damage from oxidative stress and cancer.

Fast food diet before pregnancy can impact breast milk and baby’s health, say scientists

University of Cambridge, July 27, 2022

A diet high in sugar and fat such as burgers, fries and fizzy drinks can negatively affect a new mother’s breast milk and baby’s health even before the child is conceived.

The new study using lab mice has found that even relatively short-term consumption of a fast food diet impacts women’s health, reducing their ability to produce nutritional breast milk after giving birth. This can affect the newborn’s well-being, as well as increasing the risk of both mother and child developing potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes in later life.

Even mothers who appear to be a healthy weight can be suffering from hidden issues such as a fatty liver—which may be seen in people who are overweight or obese—from eating a diet heavy in processed foods, which tend to be high in fat and sugar. This can lead to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure.

In this new study, a group of mice was fed a diet of processed high fat pellet with sweetened condensed milk for just three weeks before pregnancy, during the three-week pregnancy itself, and following birth. This diet was designed to mimic the nutritional content of a fast food burger, fries and sugary soft drink. The aim was to determine the impacts on fertility, fetus growth and neonatal outcomes. 

The researchers discovered that even a short-term high fat, high sugar diet impacted on the survival of the mice pups in the early period after birth, with an increased loss during the time the mother was feeding her offspring. Milk proteins are hugely important for newborn development but the quality was found to be poor in mouse mothers eating the high fat, high sugar diet.

“They ended up with fatty livers, which is really dangerous for the mum, and there was altered formation of the placenta. The weight of the fetus itself wasn’t affected. They seemed lighter, but it wasn’t significant. But what was also apparent was that the nutrition to the fetus was changed in pregnancy. Then when we looked at how the mum may be supporting the baby after pregnancy, we found that her mammary gland development and her milk protein composition was altered, and that may have been the explanation for the greater health problems of the newborn pups.”

Meditation And Yoga Change Your DNA To Reverse Effects Of Stress, Study Shows

Coventry University (UK), July 25, 2022

Many people participate in practices such as meditation and yoga because they help us relax. At least those are the immediate effects we feel. But much more is happening on a molecular level, reveal researchers out of Coventry University in England.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, this new research examined 18 studies on mind-body interventions (MBIs). These include practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga. Comprehensively, these studies encompassed 846 participants over 11 years. The new analysis reveals that MBIs result in molecular changes in the human body. Furthermore, researchers claim that these changes are beneficial to our mental and physical health.

To elaborate, consider the effect that stress has on the body. When we are under stress, the body increases the production of proteins that cause cell inflammation. This is the natural effect of the body’s fight-or-flight response.

It is widely believed that inflammation in the body leads to numerous illnesses, including cancer. Moreover, scientists also deduct that a persistent inflammation is more likely to cause psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, many people suffer from persistent stress, therefore they suffer from pro-inflammatory gene expression.

According to this new analysis out of Coventry, people that practice MBIs such as meditation and yoga can reverse pro-inflammatory gene expression. This results in a reduced risk of inflammation-related diseases and mental conditions.

EGCG in Green Tea inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells

Chonbuk National University School of Medicine (S Korea), July 21, 2022

According to news reporting originating in Chonbuk, South Korea, research stated, “Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major constituent of green tea, has potential as a treatment for a variety of diseases, including cancer. EGCG induces apoptosis and inhibits tumorigenesis through multiple signaling pathways in breast cancer cells. b-catenin signaling modulators could be useful in the prevention and therapy of breast cancer.”

Research from the Chonbuk National University School of Medicine states, “However, the precise anticancer effect of EGCG through the b-catenin signaling pathway in breast cancer is unclear. The present study investigated the association between b-catenin expression and clinicopathological factors of breast cancer patients, and the effect of EGCG on b-catenin expression in breast cancer cells. b-catenin expression was analyzed according to the clinicopathological factors of 74 patients with breast cancer. Western blot analysis revealed that b-catenin was expressed at higher levels in breast cancer tissue than in normal tissue. b-catenin expression was associated with lymph node metastasis, tumor-node-metastasis stage and estrogen receptor status. EGCG dsignificantly downregulated the expression of b-catenin, phosphorylated Akt and cyclin D1. 

The present results suggest that EGCG inhibits the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells through the inactivation of the b-catenin signaling pathway.”

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Based on these promising results, EGCG may be a potential treatment for triple negative breast cancer patients.”

Turmeric eye drops could treat glaucoma

University College London, July 264, 2022

A derivative of turmeric could be used in eye drops to treat the early stages of glaucoma, finds a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers.

In the new Scientific Reports paper, the researchers report a new method to deliver curcumin, extracted from the yellow spice turmeric, directly to the back of the eye using eye drops, overcoming the challenge of curcumin’s poor solubility.

The research team found the eye drops can reduce the loss of retinal cells in rats, which is known to be an early sign of glaucoma.

“Curcumin is an exciting compound that has shown promise at detecting and treating the neurodegeneration implicated in numerous eye and brain conditions from glaucoma to Alzheimer’s disease, so being able to administer it easily in eye drops may end up helping millions of people,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Francesca Cordeiro.

Curcumin has previously been shown to protect retinal ganglion cells when administered orally. For the current study, the researchers were seeking to find a more reliable method to deliver curcumin. Oral administration is difficult because curcumin has poor solubility, so it does not easily dissolve and get absorbed into the bloodstream, and would require people to take large amounts of tablets (up to 24 a day) that may cause gastrointestinal side effects.

The team developed a novel nanocarrier, wherein the curcumin is contained within a surfactant combined with a stabiliser, both of which are known to be safe for human use and are already in existing eye products. The nanocarrier can be used in eye drops to deliver much higher loads of curcumin than other products in development, increasing the drug’s solubility by a factor of almost 400,000, and localises the curcumin in the eyes instead of throughout the body.

After twice-daily use of eye drops in the rats for three weeks, retinal ganglion cell loss was significantly reduced compared to matched controls, and the treatment was found to be well-tolerated with no signs of eye irritation or inflammation.