814789b84d4f6680bb55d7debe5539ad.jpeg

Alarming News For Anyone Who Thinks Coconut Oil Is A Healthy Ingredient

Its time to stop turning to coconut oil to make your brownies healthier.

Coconut oil, it turns out, is not the health food people think it is. This oil might be stocked on the shelves of your health food store, but a recent report released by the American Heart Association suggests that this might be a mistake.

Youre not alone in this misconception. An AHA survey found that 72 percent of Americans considered coconut oil a health food.But coconut oil, it turns out, is shockingly high in saturated fats. And saturated fat even though some elements of its effects are up for debate isnt good for you no matter how you slice it.

In fact,82 percentof the fat found in coconut oil is saturated thats significantly more than olive oil, which clocks in at 14 percent and canola oil, which contains a mere seven percent.

The AHA reviewed existing data on saturated fats and found that in seven out of eight studies, coconut oil actually increased LDL cholesterol the bad cholesterol which is a cause of cardiovascular disease. The findings were so clear that Frank Sacks, the reports lead author, toldUSA Today,You can put it on your body, but dont put it in your body.Roger that.

Youre better off sticking to oils that are lower in saturated fats such as the aforementioned olive oil. Olive oil, some studies suggest, helps good cholesterol do its job. And we can all use help with that.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/coconut-oil-not-healthy_us_5947d509e4b06bb7d27498d4

1f7625afb496bfde3caab5a06d074c9f.jpeg

World Health Organization: Processed Meats Cause Cancer

Very sad news for bacon lovers.

The World Health Organization announced Monday that cured and processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ham cause cancer, adding the foods to a top-tier list of carcinogenic substances that includes alcohol, cigarettes, asbestos, and arsenic.

Processed meats can be bundled with these threatening carcinogens because of their link with bowel cancer, according to a report from WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, though their inclusion doesn’t mean that bacon causes cancer at the same rate as, say, smoking. 

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” IARC epidemiologist Dr. Kurt Straif said in a statement.

The agency estimates that a 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increased the risk for bowel cancer by 18 percent. That’s about three slices of cooked bacon. 

The report also links red meat to cancer. It classifies beef, lamb and pork as “probable” carcinogens in a second-tier list that also includes glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers.

The findings, which are based on more than 800 studies, are already receiving pushback from meat industry groups that argue meat is part of a balanced diet and that the cancer risk assessments needs to expand to include risk in the context of lifestyle and environment. 

“We simply dont think the evidence support any causal link between any red meat and any type of cancer,” said Shalene McNeill, executive director of human nutrition at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Such lifestyle and environmental risks have been studied extensively, however, and the IARC noted this broader context was included in the study: 

In making this evaluation, the Working Group took into consideration all the relevant data, including the substantial epidemiological data showing a positive association between consumption of red meat and colorectal cancer and the strong mechanistic evidence. Consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.

Both processed and red meats have been linked with cancer in the past. A 2013 study from researchers at the University of Zurich found that consuming processed meats increased the risk of dying from both heart disease and cancer. In 2012, a review published in British Journal of Cancer linked meats like bacon and sausage to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, a disease with particularly poor survival rates. It’s no secret that red meat is rife with bad cholesterol and fats that are tied to diabetes and heart disease. 

Unfortunately, the average American consumes about 18 pounds of bacon each year. Our nation eats more red meat than most of the world, though consumption has begun to dip in the past couple of years. In 2014, chicken was more popular than beef for the first time in over 100 years, showing that the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations for feeding on “leaner meats” may be making an impact on the national plate. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/10/26/world-health-organization-processed-meats-cause-cancer_n_8388732.html

e2949edfeeb56b50ab198af57b5d7f10.jpeg

So Coconut Oil Is Actually Really, Really Bad For You

Youd be hard pressed to find someone who doesnt like coconuts. They are furry spheres of deliciousness, after all. Coconut water though is pointless it doesnt have any clear health benefits and its just a saltier version of normal water.

Then theres coconut oil. Its the latest cooking fad, and people all over the Web are claiming that its much healthier than any other oil out there. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, coco-nutcases, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is just as unhealthy as butter and beef dripping.

According to a key advisory notice published in the journal Circulation one which looks at all kinds of fats and their links to cardiovascular disease coconut oil is packed with saturated fats. In fact, 82 percent of coconut oil is comprised of saturated fats, far more than in regular butter (63), olive oil (14), peanut oil (17), and sunflower oil (10).

Saturated fat, unlike others, can raise the amount of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, which increases your risk of contracting heart disease in the future. It can be found in butter and lard, cakes, biscuits, fatty meats, cheese, and cream, among other things including coconut oil.

A recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a healthy food compared with 37 percent of nutritionists, the AHAs review notes. This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press.

A meta-analysis of a suite of experiments have conclusively shown that butter and coconut oil, in terms of raising the amount of bad cholesterol in your body, are just as bad as each other.

Because coconut oil increases [bad] cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil, the AHA conclude. In essence, there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by using coconut oil in cooking.


STOP. Do not do this. Africa Studio/Shutterstock

If you already have high bad cholesterol levels, then coconut oil is potentially quite dangerous to consume or use in acts of culinary creations. Swapping it out for olive oil, according to the AHA, will reduce your cholesterol levels as much as cutting-edge, cholesterol-lowering drugs.

So next time you see anyone claiming that coconut oil is good for you or that its pro-health and anti-everything bad! you can confidently tell them that theyre spouting bullshit.

Its important to remember though that a little bit of fat is definitely good for you, as fatty acids are essential for proper absorption of vitamins. Unsaturated fats are generally thought to be quite good for you in this regard; you can find them in avocados, fish oil, nuts, and seeds.

[H/T: BBC News]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/coconut-oil-bad/

2b71fd320e9071eceb6eb5b70f2b4dfe.jpeg

These 10 Remarkable Body Features Are Very Rareand Fascinating

Load Comments

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/these-10-remarkable-body-features-are-very-rare-and-fascinating/

bfd84b6cedcddc7fd1415d7124b86930.jpeg

One-month sugar detox: A nutritionist explains how and why

(CNN)If you’ve read about the latest wellness trends, you may have entertained the idea of a diet detox.

But whether you’ve considered juicing, fasting or cleansing in an effort to lose weight or improve your well-being, you’re probably aware that drastically cutting out foods is not effective as a long-term lifestyle approach to healthy eating.
In fact, strict detoxing can cause issues including fatigue, dizziness and low blood sugar.
    But there is one kind of sustainable detox that is worthwhile, according to some experts. Reducing sugar in your diet can help you drop pounds, improve your health and even give you more radiant skin.
    “Sugar makes you fat, ugly and old,” said Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Sugar Detox: Lose the Sugar, Lose the Weight — Look and Feel Great.” “What we’ve discovered in the last couple of years is that sugar is keeping us overweight. It’s also a leading cause of heart disease; it negatively affects skin, and it leads to premature aging.”

    Sugar addiction

    Here’s more bad news: We can’t stop consuming sugar. “People have a real dependency — a real addiction to sugar,” Alpert said. “We have sugar, we feel good from it, we get (the feeling of) an upper, and then we crash and need to reach for more.”

      Why sugar intake has increased

    About 10% of the US population are true sugar addicts, according to Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics and member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. What’s more, research suggests that sugar induces rewards and cravings that are similar in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs.
    One of the biggest concerns is the amount of added sugars in our diets, which are often hidden in foods. Although ice cream cake is an obvious source of sugar, other foods that may not even taste sweet — such as salad dressings, tomato sauces and breads — can be loaded with the white stuff.
    “People don’t realize that seemingly healthy foods are loaded with sugar — and so we’re basically eating sugar all day long, from morning till night,” Alpert said.

    How to sugar detox: Going cold turkey for three days

    The good news is that even if you’re not a true sugar “addict,” by eliminating sugar from your diet, you can quickly lose unwanted pounds, feel better and have a more radiant appearance.
    “There is no one person who wouldn’t benefit by eliminating added sugars from their diets,” Lustig said.
    Children can benefit, too. Lustig’s research revealed that when obese children eliminated added sugars from their diets for just nine days, every aspect of their metabolic health improved — despite no changes in body weight or total calories consumed.
    But going cold turkey is what works best, at least in the beginning.
    “Early on in my practice, when I would notice that people had real addiction to sugar, we’d start trying to wean them of sugar or limit their intake or eat in moderation … but the word ‘moderation’ is so clichd and not effective,” Alpert said. “It was just ineffective to ask people to eat less of something when they’re struggling with this bad habit. You wouldn’t ask an alcoholic to just drink two beers.
    “What was so successful in getting my clients to kick their sugar habit was to go cold turkey. When they would go cold turkey, I wasn’t their favorite person — but the number one positive effect was that it recalibrated their palate,” she said. “They could now taste natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and dairy that they used to be so dulled to.”
    So for the first three days on a sugar detox, Alpert recommends no added sugars — but also no fruits, no starchy vegetables (such as corn, peas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash), no dairy, no grains and no alcohol. “You’re basically eating protein, vegetables and healthy fats.”
    For example, breakfast can include three eggs, any style; lunch can include up to 6 ounces of poultry, fish or tofu and a green salad, and dinner is basically a larger version of lunch, though steamed vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach can be eaten in place of salad. Snacks include an ounce of nuts and sliced peppers with hummus. Beverages include water, unsweetened tea and black coffee.
    Though they don’t contribute calories, artificial sweeteners are not allowed on the plan, either. “These little pretty colored packets pack such a punch of sweetness, and that’s how our palates get dulled and immune and less reactive to what sweetness really is,” Alpert said.
    Consuming artificial sweeteners causes “you not only (to) store more fat,” Lustig explained, “you also end up overeating later on to compensate for the increased energy storage.”

    How to sugar detox: When an apple tastes like candy

    Once the first three days of the sugar detox are completed, you can add an apple.
    “By the fourth day, an apple tastes like candy,” Alpert said. “The onions are sweet! Almonds are sweet! Once you take sugar away from your diet cold turkey, your palate recalibrates, and you start tasting natural sugars again.”
    Starting with day four, you can add one apple and one dairy food each day. Dairy, such as yogurt or cheese, should be full-fat and unsweetened. “Fat, fiber and protein slow the absorption of sugar, so taking out fat from dairy will make you absorb sugar faster,” Alpert said.
    You can also add some higher-sugar vegetables such as carrots and snow peas, as well as a daily serving of high-fiber crackers. Three glasses of red wine in that first week can be added, too.
    During week two, you can add a serving of antioxidant-rich berries and an extra serving of dairy. You can also add back starchy vegetables such as yams and winter squash.
    For week three, you can add grains such as barley, quinoa and oatmeal, and even some more fruit including grapes and clementines. You can also have another glass of red wine during the week and an ounce of dark chocolate each day.
    “Week three should be quite livable,” Alpert said.
    Week four is the home stretch, when you can enjoy two starches per day, including bread and rice, in addition to high-fiber crackers. Wine goes up to five glasses per week.
    “You can have a sandwich in week four, which just makes things easier,” Alpert said. “I want people living. Week four is the way to do it.”
    Week four defines the maintenance part of the plan — though intentional indulgences are allowed, such as ice cream or a piece of cake at a birthday party. “Because the addictive behavior is gone, having ice cream once or twice will not send you back to square one,” Alpert said. Additionally, no fruit is off-limits once you’ve completed the 31 days.
    “The whole purpose is to give people control and ownership and a place for these foods in our life,” Alpert said.

    Benefits and cautions with slashing sugar

    Detoxing from sugar can help you lose weight quickly. “We had over 80 testers from all over the country, and they lost anywhere between 5 to 20 pounds during the 31 days, depending on their weight or sugar addiction,” Alpert said. “Many also noticed that a lot of the weight was lost from their midsection. Belts got looser!”
    Participants also reported brighter eyes, clearer skin and fewer dark circles. They also had more energy and fewer mood swings.
    “I have lost approximately 40 pounds following the sugar detox,” said Diane, who preferred not to share her last name. She has been on the plan for approximately two years.
    “I thought I was educated on weight loss, but like many, I was miseducated, and by reducing fat, I was really just adding sugar. With the elimination of sugar, including artificial sweeteners, it is incredible how sweet foods tastes.”
    Diane added back some healthy fats into her diet, which keeps her feeling satisfied. And her sugar cravings disappeared. “This is probably the longest I have remained on a plan, and I don’t feel like this will change. It just feels natural and normal.”
    There are challenges and medical considerations before starting, though. Since the first few days of a sugar detox can be challenging, it’s important to pick three days during which your schedule will be supportive.
    “Depending on how intense your addiction is, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as brain fog, crankiness and fatigue,” Alpert said. Lustig found that the children in his study experienced anxiety and irritability during the first five days of eliminating sugar and caffeine, though it eventually subsided.
    “If you feel bad, stop and have a piece of fruit. But if you can push through and stay well-hydrated, you can really break your cycle of sugar addiction,” Alpert said.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    It’s important to note that the plan may not be appropriate for diabetics, extreme athletes or anyone taking medication to control blood sugar. It is also not recommended for pregnant women.
    Finally, before starting a sugar detox, enlist the help of friends and/or family members for support. “You need people around you to help you be successful,” Lustig said. “The whole family has to do it together.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/health/sugar-detox-food-drayer/index.html

    d1807a4cf95814a86e32032133637f8f.jpeg

    Type 2 diabetes rise in children ‘disturbing’ – BBC News

    Image copyright Getty Images

    More than 600 children and teenagers are being treated for type 2 diabetes in England and Wales, and the rise in cases is a “hugely disturbing trend”, local councils are warning.

    The figures come from a report by child health experts which found 110 more cases among under-19s in 2015-16 than two years previously.

    The youngest children affected are aged between five and nine.

    Council leaders said urgent action on childhood obesity was needed.

    The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, added that government cuts to public health budgets had affected their ability to tackle the issue.


    Why are children getting type 2 diabetes?

    Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and three-quarters of these children were obese.

    With child obesity rates in England rising – but now by a smaller amount than they have been – it’s no surprise more children are being treated for the condition.

    In primary schools in England, one in 10 children in Reception and one in five children in year 6 were classified as obese in 2015-16.

    Type 2 diabetes in children is a serious condition which can lead to long-term health complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.


    Who are they?

    Children from Asian and black ethnic backgrounds were particularly affected, and children who lived in deprived areas were more likely to have type 2.

    There were twice as many girls than boys with the condition and most of the cases were among 15-19 year olds.

    Across all children and teenagers, numbers are on the rise – from 507 cases in 2013-14 and 543 in 2014-15 to the current tally of 621.

    But there could be more who are undiagnosed, the report said – these are only the ones being treated by paediatric specialists around the country.


    What should parents do?

    Parents can make an appointment with their family GP if they are concerned about their child’s weight.

    They can then be referred to a paediatrician, weight loss services or a dietician, depending on what is available in the area.

    When children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the whole family will normally be involved in encouraging more physical exercise and a healthier diet, which are crucial to managing the condition.

    Because type 2 diabetes can be more aggressive in children than in adults, it is important to manage the condition carefully in order to prevent any health problems occurring.


    What do experts say?

    Children’s doctors, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, say type 2 diabetes is preventable in most cases and more action is need to reverse the trend.

    Dr Justin Warner, from RCPCH, said the sugar tax was “a positive step” towards reducing sugar in diets, but the government should be doing more to ban junk food adverts on TV targeted at children.

    Diabetes UK said there should be moves to reduce the sugar and saturated fat content in food.

    Libby Dowling, senior clinical adviser at the charity, said: “We need to make it as easy as possible for children and their families to lead healthy lives and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its serious complications.”


    What is the government’s plan?

    It published a childhood obesity plan a year ago, which included measures asking the food and drink industry to cut 5% of the sugar in products popular with children, with a target of 20% over four years.

    A Department of Health spokeswoman said this was already delivering results.

    The plan also called on primary schools to deliver at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and to help parents and carers ensure children got the same amount at home.

    But local councils in England, which now fund public health, want an increased budget to tackle the problem.

    They say more needs to be done to reach out to black and other minority ethnic groups, where a disproportionately high number of children and teenagers have type 2 diabetes.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40900269

    014b9749ed04aa849b0dfaf61166557f.jpeg

    Color Genomics goes beyond cancer with a test for heart health

    Cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death in the United States. So far, Color Genomics has been focused on testing for mutations leading to a higher risk of certain cancers. But, today the four-year-old company is introducing a new category of genetic testing for cardiovascular health.

    The new Color Hereditary High Cholesterol Testwill tell you if you have a genetic mutation for something called Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a hereditary condition that causes high cholesterol levels leading to coronary heart disease.

    Possibly 34 million people are affected by the disease worldwide. About one in fifty people with high cholesterol have the mutation. The problem? Most people with the genetic mutation dont know they have it until they have a potentially fatal heart attack.

    Like cancer testing, earlier detection of the mutation can prevent the disease, improve survival rates and reduce medical costs. And thats where Color hopes its new test can help.

    We started with cancer because it was one of the leading causes of death and the science around genetics and cancer was well-established, Color chief marketing officer Katie Jacobs Stanton told TechCrunch. Similarly, there is well-established science around genetics and cardiovascular diseaseGiven that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (and combined with cancer costs over $1.1trillion per year), we saw an opportunity to help more people learn their risk of developing hereditary cardiovascular conditions and proactively managing their heart health using genetic data.

    Unlike at-home genetic tests like 23andMe, you order this one through your doctor. The test is $249 for new customers. However, those whove gone through Colors cancer testing can purchase the cardiovascular test for an additional $150.

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/10/color-genomics-goes-beyond-cancer-with-a-test-for-heart-health/

    f133869dea9c2d3ac5c26eacf2252945.jpeg

    A danger to public health? Uproar as scientist urges us to eat more salt

    Exclusive: In a new book a US scientist claims eating more salt will make us healthier. But UK experts have condemned the advice as potentially dangerous

    Public health experts in the UK have spoken out against a new book that claims many of us should be eating more salt, not less claiming the advice could endanger peoples health.

    New York scientist James DiNicolantonio says in his book The Salt Fix that the World Health Organisation and the US and UK advisory bodies on diet have got it wrong with their advice to cut down on salt.

    Salt is necessary and good for us, he says. Eating more salt will reduce the amount of sugar in our diet and help us lose weight, he says. Indeed low-salt diets may be causing brittle bones and memory loss and more salt could fix diabetes, he claims.

    Instead of ignoring your salt cravings, you should give in to them they are guiding you to better health, he argues in his book, which has won attention for his ideas in the UK media. Most of us dont need to eat low-salt diets. In fact, for most of us, more salt would be better for our health rather than less.

    Meanwhile, the white crystal weve demonized all these years has been taking the fall for another, one so sweet that we refused to believe it wasnt benign. A white crystal that, consumed in excess, can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease: not salt, but sugar.

    But Public Health England (PHE), speaking out as promotion of DiNicolantonios book gathered pace in the UK, said his advice was not only wrong but dangerous. Prof Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at PHE, said: Diet is now the leading cause of ill health. By advocating a high-salt diet this book is putting the health of many at risk and it undermines internationally recognised evidence that shows a diet high in salt is linked to high blood pressure, a known risk for heart disease.

    Our work with the food industry to cut the salt in food has already seen consumption in the UK reduce by 11% and is seen as the model to aspire to globally.

    The row follows other diet controversies, such as the renewed debate over saturated fat and cholesterol. But the evidence on salt is incontrovertible, according to Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine, who led the campaign for action on salt and health (CASH). That succeeded in persuading the government to take action by putting pressure on fast food companies to reduce the salt levels in their ready-meals, the biggest source of salt in our diets.

    He is entitled to his views but it is all based on a few studies and they are misplaced, said MacGregor. It you look at the totality of the evidence on salt, it is much stronger than for sugar or saturated fat or fruit and vegetables in a positive way. Its overwhelming because weve got all the epidemiology, migration studies [where people have gone to live in another country and changed their diet], treatment trials, mortality trials and now outcome trials in countries.

    Finland has reduced salt. The UK has and there have been big drops in heart deaths. You cant really argue against the importance of salt but you always get one or two people who deny it.

    MacGregor, who now also runs Action on Sugar, says DiNicolantonio is probably quite well-meaning but is one of those who think every death on the world is because of sugar.

    But DiNicolantonio, who is an associate editor of the journal BMJ Open Heart and a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Lukes Mid America Heart Institute, says the evidence does not stack up, whatever bodies such as PHE and the American Heart Association (AHA) say. The AHA recommends no more than a teaspoon of salt a day equating to 2,300 milligrams of sodium and says most Americans should cut down to not much more than half of that.

    Because the average Americans sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to no more than 2,400 milligrams a day will significantly improve blood pressure and heart health, it says, noting that 75% of intake comes from processed, packaged or restaurant food.

    DiNicolantonio says there is no evidence that a low-salt diet will reduce blood pressure in the majority of people. Evidence in the medical literature suggests that approximately 80% of people with normal blood pressure (less than 120/80 mmHg) are not sensitive to the blood-pressure-raising effects of salt at all. Among those with prehypertension (a precursor to high blood pressure), roughly 75% are not sensitive to salt. And even among those with full-blown hypertension, about 55% are totally immune to salts effects on blood pressure, he writes.

    The governments scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN), which backed a reduction to 6g of salt a day in the UK diet from around 9g, lists a large number of trials in animals and humans that suggest high salt levels do lead to higher blood pressure in its 2003 report. However, it could not come to conclusions on the numbers of cases of heart disease and deaths that might be caused, because the data was hard to collect.

    But the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which looked at the impact of salt reduction for the population in 2013, said the governments strategy could lead to 20,000 fewer heart deaths each year.

    DiNicolantonio also claims that we lose too much salt when we exercise or sweat in heatwaves. MacGregor says that is not so. There was a very good experiment with the SAS, parachuted into a desert, which found they needed quite a low salt intake. If you have a higher salt intake it is more dangerous. They had to carry more water with them because of thirst, he said.

    Speaking to the Guardian, DiNicolantonio rejected the criticism from PHE that his book would make people risk their health, saying he was advocating for a normal salt intake, which he claims is between 3,000 and 6,000 mg of sodium per day. As sodium accounts for 40% of salt, that would equate to 7.5g to 15g of salt a day. But he says that is not a high salt diet. Moreover, if a high salt diet really put peoples health at risk then why are the highest salt-eating populations (Japan, South Korea, and France) living the longest with the lowest rates of coronary heart disease in the world? he said.

    Low-salt diets are putting the population at risk as there are literally millions of people who are at risk of salt deficiency, with over six million people in the US alone diagnosed with low sodium levels in the blood every year.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/08/a-danger-to-public-health-uproar-as-scientist-urges-us-to-eat-more-salt

    f9d8777b0a5c667495c30f180476e52e.jpeg

    First genes linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease among African-Americans

    (TIME.com)Alzheimer’s disease is more common among African Americans but the genetic contributors to the disorder haven’t been identified until now.

    In the largest study of genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s in the African American population, researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that two genes associated with higher risk of the neurodegenerative disorder among whites also contributed to higher rates of the disease among African Americans.
    Changes in these genes, however, conferred a higher risk of disease among African Americans than among whites.
      In the study involving nearly 6,000 African American participants aged 60 or older, about 2,000 of whom had Alzheimer’s and 4,000 who did not, variants in the genes ABCA7 and ApoE increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 80% and more than two fold, respectively. By comparison, ABCA7 is likely responsible for a 10% to 20% increased risk for the memory-robbing disorder within white populations, and about 40% of whites with certain forms of ApoE are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
      ABCA7s role in the Alzheimer’s doesn’t come as a complete surprise; it is involved in producing cholesterol and lipids, and some research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may involve aberrations in fat metabolism that are similar to those behind heart disease. The more prominent contribution that ABCA7 seems to play in Alzheimer’s risk among African Americans, however, does suggest that such lipid-based pathways may be more important in this population than among whites. ABCA7 also regulates transport of proteins, including those responsible for the production of amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s when it builds up in sticky plaques in the brain.
      More studies are needed to confirm the role that these genetic variants play in contributing to Alzheimer’s in the African American population, but if the associations are confirmed, they could lead to more refined ways of diagnosing and treating the disease in this group.
      Focusing on lowering cholesterol production or regulating lipid movement into the brain might be more effective, for example, than among whites, whose disease might rely on a different molecular pathway. And even if these interventions don’t prevent the disease, they may help in slowing the onset of symptoms.
      This story was originally published on TIME.com.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/11/health/alzheimers-african-americans/index.html

      340a944e5ea8bbedbf09c6bf43ad31b5.jpeg

      The Mediterranean diet doesn’t benefit everyone, study says

      (CNN)The Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, yet only people with higher incomes or more education, or a combination of the two, experience this benefit, found a study published Monday in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

      The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating plant-based foods, including vegetables, nuts, fruits and whole grains, in addition to fish and poultry. The diet also recommends that you limit red meat, replace butter with olive oil, and exercise.Red wine in moderation is optional on the diet, which past scientific research proves to be heart-healthy.
      Marialaura Bonaccio, lead author of the new study and a researcher at IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, an Italian Clinical Research Institute, said in an email that this same problem — in which people from different income levels get different results from the same diet — may also be true for other diets.
        The reason? Diets “focus on quantity, rather than on quality” of the food, she said.

        Diet data

        Bonaccio and her co-authors randomly recruited over 18,000 people living in the Molise region of southern Italy between March 2005 and April 2010. The Pfizer Foundation, which helped fund enrollment costs, did not influence the analysis or interpretation of results, Bonaccio noted.
        She and her team calculated total physical activity, body mass index (BMI), smoking status and health history, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. The data available for each participant also included education, household income and marital status.
        Using the Mediterranean Diet Score, Bonaccio and her colleagues assessed participants’ food intake, examining the variety of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish consumed. They scored participants’ cooking methods, detailing whether they’re using healthy methods such as boiling and stewing or less healthy methods such as frying, roasting and grilling. Vegetables were categorized as organic or not, bread as whole-grain or not.
        Over an average followup period of about four years, participants experienced a total of 5,256 cardiovascular disease events, including incidents of heart failure, diagnoses of coronary heart disease (a buildup of plaque in the arteries) and strokes.
        Analyzing the data, the researchers found that a Mediterranean diet effectively reduced cardiovascular disease risk, but only among a select group of participants: those with higher income or more education.
        “We found heart advantages were limited to high socioeconomic status groups, even if groups showed the same adherence to the Mediterranean diet,” Bonaccio wrote. No benefits occurred for participants in the low income and low education group.

        Differences in food quality

        Surprised by this result, the researchers dug into the data more deeply and unearthed a possible reason for the difference: The same Mediterranean diet adherence score still included slight differences in food consumption.
        “For example, as compared to less advantaged counterparts, people with high socioeconomic status tended to consume fish more frequently,” Bonaccio wrote. She added that, beyond diet adherence, participants in the most advantaged category reported a higher quality diet, which included higher consumption of organic products and whole grain foods.
        “Let’s give that two persons follow the same diet, that is equal amounts of vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil etc. every day so that they report the same adherence score to Mediterranean diet,” Bonaccio said. “It might be that, beyond quantity, differences in quality may exist. For example, in olive oil.”
        She said it’s unlikely that a bottle of extra virgin olive oil with a price tag of 2 to 3 euros has the same nutritional properties as one costing 10 euros. Given that it is reasonable to assume higher-income participants are more likely to buy the 10-euro bottle compared with lower-income participants, “our hypothesis is that differences in the price may yield differences in healthy components and future health outcomes,” Bonaccio said.
        How the food is cooked or prepared might also contribute to differences in results, according to Bonaccio, though she said the differences in cooking procedures — “a kind of marker of the numerous differences still persisting across socioeconomic groups” — probably did not “substantially account” for the disparities in cardiovascular risk.

        Similar results in US?

        Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, an assistant professor and visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, said evidence, including from her own research, shows that a Mediterranean diet is “one of the best choices to improve health.”
        Sotos-Prieto, who was not involved in the new research, wrote in an email that the new study, which relied on self-reported data, does not prove that socioeconomic status caused the health benefits seen; it shows only a relationship between income and/or education and health outcomes.
        “Previous studies have already showed a socioeconomic gradient regarding adherence to diet quality,” Sotos-Prieto wrote. Because of this, a similar difference in health results depending on socioeconomic status may also be occurring in the United States among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, she said.
        Dr. Barbara Berkeley, who specializes in weight management and practices medicine in Beachwood, Ohio, said “one caveat in interpreting studies like this is that they are based on diet recall. It is generally very difficult for people to keep accurate food records and there is a tendency for participants to record their diets in the best possible light.”
        Berkeley, who was not involved in this research, agreed with the hypothesis of the authors.
        “A good diet is undoubtedly more than just a shopping list,” she said. “Quality, freshness, variety and purity of production may truly differentiate diets even when they appear to be the same.”
        Berkeley noted that “food deserts” in lower-income areas means both quality and variety of fresh foods may be limited, while organic produce may be unavailable or too expensive.
        “A healthy diet is likely not the sum of its parts but the quality of its elements,” Berkeley said.
        Maria Korre, a research fellow at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, noted that “among the most important perceived barriers to healthy eating are the time and cost of shopping.” Korre, who did not contribute to the new study, added that “we need to work toward identifying ways … to overcome these barriers.”
        “As a result of the worldwide epidemics of obesity and diabetes, we witness a strong and renewed interest in the traditional Mediterranean diet,” Korre said. Yet the appeal of this diet extends well beyond proven health benefits.
        With its wide range of colorful foods, the diet provides “delicious meals” and “because of its emphasis on limited consumption, rather than abstention from red meat and sweets” plus its inclusion of moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages, “the Mediterranean diet represents a healthy yet indulgent and appealing lifestyle that can be sustained over long periods of time,” Korre said.

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        According to the study authors, people of high socioeconomic status may actually be selecting foods that are higher in both polyphenols (plant-based micronutrients) and antioxidants (a nutrient found in fruits and vegetables that helps repair damage in our bodies). Such daily choices could result in health advantages unseen by those who make different selections.
        “This hypothesis could be only tested by a direct measure of such natural compounds in biological samples, e.g., blood levels or urinary polyphenol excretion,” Bonaccio said. She said her groups’ future research and analysis will test this theory.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/health/mediterranean-diet-heart-benefits-socioeconomic-study/index.html