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Period: December 15, 2011 to January 1, 2012
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Fruit, Vegetables, Omega-3 Associated With Better Brain Health

A study of 104 dementia-free elderly people found that a diet rich in certain vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and low in trans fats correlates with better cognitive function and less brain atrophy associated with Alzheimer's disease than their peers with diets less abundant in these nutrients.
The study identified three distinct nutrient biomarker patterns (NBPs) in blood that relate to cognitive performance and measures of brain aging and found that two NBPs were associated with more favorable cognitive scores and greater brain volume; one was high in plasma B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12), as well as vitamins C, D, and E, and the other was high in plasma marine omega-3 fatty acids. The third NBP associated with high trans-fat consumption was consistently associated with less favorable cognitive function and lower total cerebral brain volume.
Study author Gene L. Bowman says “The combination of the B vitamins, the antioxidants C and E, plus vitamin D was the most
...  More

"Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging", Neurology, December 28, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Vitamins, Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Linked To Better Thinking Scores, Less Brain Shrinkage

A U.S. study reported that people whose diet is rich in certain vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, not only had higher scores on mental thinking tests, they were less likely to experience the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are mainly found in fish, while the B vitamins and antioxidants C and E are found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The researchers also noted that people with diets rich in trans fats are more at risk for brain shrinkage and have lower scores on thinking and memory tests. Trans fats are primarily found in fast, fried and frozen foods, and in baked goods and margarines. The study involved 104 people (average age 87) with very few risk factors for memory and thinking problems.

"Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging", Neurology, December 29, 2011

Celiac Disease Patients Tend To Be At Higher Risk For Psychological Disorders

Women who are effectively managing celiac disease – mainly by not eating foods containing gluten – still have a higher risk of depression and disordered eating than the general population, a study by Penn State University researchers finds. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes abdominal pain, constipation, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting when gluten, a protein composite found in wheat and other grains, is consumed. For the study, researchers, surveyed 177 American women over age 18 diagnosed with celiac disease, about their physical and psychological symptoms. They found that even those managing their illness very well reported higher rates of stress, depression and a range of issues related to body dissatisfaction, weight and shape when compared to the general population.

"Psychiatric comorbidities in women with Celiac Disease", Chronic Illness, December 27, 2011

Preclinical Research Finds That Omega-3 Fatty Acid EPA Kills Leukemia-Causing Stem Cells

A U.S. study that tested a compound derived from an omega-3 fatty acid in fish and fish oil found that it targeted and killed the stem cells of myelogenous leukemia in mice. The researchers, who have applied for a patent for the compound, known as delta-12-prostaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3, say their next step is to test its efficacy in human trials. Prior research on fatty acids has shown the health benefits for the cardiovascular system and brain development, particularly in infants. The new research shows that some metabolites of omega-3, specifically EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, can selectively kill leukemia-causing stem cells. "The important thing is that the mice were completely cured of leukemia with no relapse," the researchers said.

"Δ12-prostaglandin J3, an omega-3 fatty acid–derived metabolite, selectively ablates leukemia stem cells in mice", Blood, December 22, 2011

Many Beers, Including “Gluten Free” Brands, Contain A Barley-Derived Gluten

Australian researchers report that most of the 60 brands of beer they tested, including some marketed as “low-gluten”, contain enough of a gluten known as hordein to cause symptoms associated with celiac disease. Eight of the beers labeled “gluten free” did not contain gluten, but two “gluten free” brands contained as much gluten as regular beer. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by exposure to gluten, a protein found in foods and beverages made from barley, wheat and rye. Symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.  The only treatment is to follow a gluten free diet. Hordein is the gluten component found in barley-based beers.

"What is in a Beer? Proteomic Characterization and Relative Quantification of Hordein (Gluten) in Beer", Journal of Proteome Research, December 21, 2011

Pregnant Obese Women Face A Unique Set Of Challenges

Obese women can experience healthy and successful pregnancies as long as they cope with the special challenges they face, a U.S. researcher reports. For example, forty percent of obese pregnant women are deficient in iron, 24 percent in folic acid, and four percent in vitamin B12. These deficiencies can cause cardiac problems and spinal defects in newborns. It is a myth that obese women need to gain 15 pounds during pregnancy. The fact is that excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications, including preterm birth, failed labor induction, etc. Other topics reviewed by the author include obese women and the risk of spontaneous preterm birth and respiratory complications, and the likelihood of breastfeeding.

"Antepartum Obstetrical Complications Associated with Obesity", Seminars in Perinatology, December 21, 2011

Researchers Clarify Role Of Vitamin B Therapy In Reducing Cardiovascular Risk

Researchers from Canada and the U.S. argue in a recent medical journal editorial that a couple of key issues have been overlooked in the interpretation of clinical trials that found that vitamin B therapy did not result in any cardiovascular benefits. In fact, vitamin B12 is harmful – it actually increased the risk of heart attack and stroke – in the presence of renal (kidney) failure, but is beneficial in people with good renal function. Studies lumped the two groups together, skewing the results. In addition, the researchers argued, most of the trials did not use a high enough dose of vitamin B12. The conclusion? Vitamin B therapy still has a role in reducing the risk of stroke.

"Understanding the Complexity of Homocysteine Lowering With Vitamins: The Potential Role of Subgroup Analyses", The Journal of the American Medical Association, December 21, 2011

Preference For Salty Foods Begins In Infancy

Infants six months old who have eaten starchy table foods containing salt learn to prefer salty foods more than infants not exposed to the foods. For the U.S. study, salt preference of 61 infants was tested using plain or slightly salty water at both two and six months. Twenty-six infants already eating starchy foods preferred the salt solutions to water. The 35 babies not yet introduced to starchy foods were indifferent to, or rejected, the salty water. Exposed infants consumed 55 percent more salt during a food preference test than did babies not yet introduced to starchy foods. "Our findings suggest that early dietary experience influences the preference for salty taste," the researchers concluded.

"The development of salty taste acceptance is related to dietary experience in human infants: a prospective study", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 20, 2011

Mediterranean Diet Adds Years To Lifespan – Study

Swedish researchers studying the impact of the Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fish found that it significantly increases lifespan. Using the unique "H70 study" to compare 70-year-olds who eat a Mediterranean diet with others who have eaten more meat and animal products, researchers found that those who eat a Mediterranean diet have a 20 percent higher chance of living longer. "This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated 2 - 3 years longer than those who don't," the researchers concluded.

"Does the Mediterranean diet predict longevity in the elderly? A Swedish perspective", Age, December 20, 2011

Better Communication Of Caloric Content Of Sugary Drinks Would Cut Kids’ Consumption In Half

Because people – especially minority and lower income adolescents – tend to underestimate the caloric content of sugary drinks, they consume soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit beverages unaware of the risk of obesity. New U.S. research has found, however, that providing easily understandable caloric information, specifically in the form of a physical activity equivalent, may cut in half sugar-sweetened beverage purchases among adolescents. For example, adolescents should know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running. The researchers said it is “critical to explore the most effective strategies for presenting caloric information to consumers on fast food restaurant menu boards.”

"Reduction in Purchases of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Among Low-Income, Black Adolescents After Exposure to Caloric Information", American Journal of Public Health, December 15, 2011

Older Female Dieters Tend To Regain Lost Weight As Fat Rather Than Muscle

Some older women who lose weight gain a lot of it back within 12 months, mainly in the form of fat rather than muscle, a fact that may have negative implications for the elderly, a U.S. study has found.  Researchers evaluated 78 postmenopausal women averaging 58 years old who had lost weight while dieting. At the end of the study, it was found that 84 percent of the women gained back more than 4.4 pounds on average. After 12 months, 26 percent of fat lost was regained, whereas only six percent of muscle lost was regained. The researchers said long term consequences of their findings are unknown. But in combination with the loss in bone density during aging, the loss of muscle could increase the risk of falling among other things.

"Is lost lean mass from intentional weight loss recovered during weight regain in postmenopausal women?", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 12, 2011

Study Links Increased Recurrence Of Breast Cancer With Higher Starch Intake

U.S. researchers who studied the dietary patterns of more than 3,000 breast cancer survivors over seven years found a link between increased starch intake to a greater risk for breast cancer recurrence. Women whose cancer recurred had a mean increase in carbohydrate intake of 2.3 grams per day during the first year, while women whose cancer did not recur reported a mean decrease of 2.7 grams per day during the first year. Researchers said starches were particularly important: changes in starch intake accounted for 48 percent of the change in carbohydrate intake. The results indicate a need for more research on dietary recommendations that consider limiting the starch intake of women who have breast cancer.

"Starch Intake May Influence Risk for Breast Cancer Recurrence, Study Suggests", Press release, presentation at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, December 08, 2011

The Future of Medical Foods

Nutraceuticals World, December 15, 2011

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