“Angry leave it for the dogs”

“If your dog doesn’t like someone you probably shouldn’t either.”
– Unknown

Has your behavior gone to the dogs?

Even if you are in an angry mood never bark at anyone. It is bad for your image and makes communication tougher.-MW

“The external expression of anger can be found in facial expressions, body language, physiological responses, and at times in public acts of aggression. Humans and animals for example make loud sounds, attempt to look physically larger, bare their teeth, and stare. The behaviors associated with anger are designed to warn aggressors to stop their threatening behavior. Rarely does a physical altercation occur without the prior expression of anger by at least one of the participants. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of “what has happened to them,” psychologists point out that an angry person can be very well mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.”

Speak from your heart so anger never overruns you.

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/lMjxfL

Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/igyFIB

“Afraid of big bad wolf -diet soda?”

Research results reported at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles

People who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day.”This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke,” Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami and her colleagues reported at the conference.

The risk persisted after controlling for metabolic syndrome, peripheral vascular disease, and cardiac disease history.

The researchers looked at more than 2500 people from the multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study. Participants were asked to report how much and what kind of soda they drank.

During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, 559 vascular events occurred, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

The researchers also observed a marginally significant increased risk for vascular events among those who consumed diet soda daily and regular soda once or more a month (adjusted relative risk, 1.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.96 – 3.16).

As reported by Medscape Medical News, previous studies have suggested a link between diet soda consumption and the risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

This is the first time diet drinks have been associated with vascular events.

 

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/ljqG1n

Excerpts courtesy of  http://abcn.ws/k8GXzK

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/lcNTYU

 


 

“Effects of Japanese radiation blast now downplayed-poor choice”

Marine scientists say they are concerned about radiation spewing from the crippled Japanese nuclear plant.

“Radiation from Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is accumulating in marine life off Japan’s coast above legal limits for food contamination, Greenpeace said Thursday.
The environmental group said its findings run counter to Japanese government reports and the WoodsHole report that radiation from the Fukushima plant, damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, is being diluted as time passes.

What is being released from the Fukushima reactors and how dangerous is it?

The Fukushima reactors have been primarily composed of two radioactive substances: iodine-131 and cesium-137. In large doses, both of these isotopes or radionuclides can cause long-term health problems.

Are there different types of radiation?
In general, there are two types of radiation, ionizing and non-ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation includes visible light and radio waves — things that, as the name implies, do not have the ability to form charged ions in other materials. Ionizing radiation, however, can and as a result presents a serious health threat because it can alter the atomic structure of living tissue. Ionizing radiation also comes in several different types, including alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, all with different degrees of concern and health impacts.

How long is the radiation from these substances a risk to humans and the environment?
Radioactive materials are, by their very nature, unstable and decline in strength over time -a long time. This change is measured in half-lives — the length of time it takes for the radiation to decrease by one-half. Every radioactive substance has a different half-life, ranging from fractions of a second to billions of years. Those with longer half-lives are potentially more difficult to deal with because they remain radioactive for longer periods of time. Cesium-137, for example, has a half-life of 30 years and so is a potentially serious health threat for decades or centuries. Iodine-131, on the other hand, has a half-life of just 8 days and so loses much of its potency after just days and effectively disappears after one to two months.

How far can radiation travel?
Ionizing radiation itself cannot travel very far through the air. Typically, dust and other particles, seawater and other liquids, or even gases become radioactive due to exposure to radionuclides and are then transported great distances. In the months and years after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine scientists were able to track the spread of radioactive material in the atmosphere and the ocean around the globe. Within a week after the explosions at the Fukushima plant, there were reports of very small increases in the continental U.S.

How will the radioactive material released in Japan affect humans?
People who live near the plants were evacuated to a safe distance restrictions and other precautions recommended by the Japanese government and at-risk individuals needed to take suggested extra precautions such as taking potassium iodide to avoid thyroid problems.

Near the reactors, seafood and other products taken from the sea are not safe for human consumption.  However, crops and other vegetation near the reactor site (including grass that cows eat to produce milk) that receive fallout from the atmosphere build up radioactivity can not be eaten even if washed. When these foods are consumed, a person receives much of this dose internally, often a more severe pathway to receive radiation than by external exposure.

Prevailing winds over from Japan blow east towards North America; ocean currents in the region also flow generally east into the North Pacific, though much slower than winds. Radiation from the plants have been found in milk in Phoenix, AZ USA and in the waters over the eastern coast of the US.  The concept that this increasing radioactivity is not a point of cern is ridiculous. Drinking milk contaminated with more radiation then is already polluting are environment is not a problem makes no sense. It equates with someone saying well if you take a little more poison daily you won’t notice the difference in your health.
I am disappointed the Woods Hole has played down the dangers of this worldwide radiation increase.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/jW7Jzx

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/loX0te

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lkmWTY

“Acetaminophen isn’t free from cardio risk”

Acetaminophen may raise blood pressure
For people with cardiovascular disease who need relief from aches and pains, acetaminophen (Tylenol and its generic cousins) has long been touted as a “safer” alternative to aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. See list of current products containing acetaminophen click here.

Other side effects of acetaminophen include

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing

Swiss research study warns that it you should be cautious that it  as with all medication. Acetaminophen isn’t free from cardiovascular side effects. It is worth a try as a first-line drug for pain relief, but it can have negative effect on your blood pressure.
Acetaminophen under the microscope
The Swiss team found that the people suffering  with

  • blood pressure of people with coronary artery disease,
  • angina (chest pain with exercise or stress)
  • anyone who has had bypass surgery or angioplasty
  • those with cholesterol-clogged arteries.

The study

33 men and women with one or more of the health problems listed above

took 1,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen

or

an identical placebo three times a day for two weeks.

Then, after a two-week break, each volunteer took the other treatment. The amount of acetaminophen used in the study is a standard daily dose for pain.

Results
When the participants took acetaminophen, average systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) increased from 122.4 to 125.3, while the average diastolic pressure (the bottom number) increased from 73.2 to 75.4. Blood pressure stayed steady when participants took the placebo. These increases aren’t large. But they indicate that acetaminophen, like NSAIDs, somehow affects the cardiovascular system. A larger, longer trial would have given more reliable results. It would also have been unethical, since none of the participants were in pain. That means they couldn’t reap any benefit from acetaminophen, but could only be harmed by it.

Making choices
The sudden removal of the popular painkiller Vioxx from the market in October 2004 over concerns that it caused cardiovascular problems put all pain relievers under the spotlight — except acetaminophen. It avoided the “black box” warning about increased risk of cardiac problems that the FDA now requires on the labels of all NSAIDs. And the American Heart Association later recommended it as a safe alternative to NSAIDs.

Acetaminophen is easier on the stomach than aspirin and other NSAIDs, and is probably a good option for people who take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven, generic) or clopidogrel (Plavix). But because it is so widely used and perceived as safe, people tend to take it without thinking, one reason acetaminophen is a leading cause of liver failure and transplantation in the United States.
If you have some form of cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to take acetaminophen rather than an NSAID for a fever, headache, pulled muscle, or other occasional problem. But if you need relief every day for pain from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, acetaminophen may not be a better option than an NSAID — it doesn’t work that well against inflammatory pain and, like an NSAID, may slightly elevate blood pressure.

The key message from this study is that acetaminophen isn’t free from cardiovascular side effects. It is worth a try as a first-line drug for pain relief, but if it doesn’t control your pain, it is reasonable to switch to an NSAID.

Resources
Excerpts provided courtesy of   http://hvrd.me/fbVSUy

Excerpts provided courtesy of   http://1.usa.gov/ihr61A

Image 1. courtesy of acetaminophen-300×202.jpg

Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/jFBzjQ

“Death by worms”

The hookworm, the whipworm and the spiral threadworm cause mortality and death  to one billionpeople across the globe

New parasitic worm discovery could help 1 billion people worldwide.
Scientists have discovered why some people may be protected from harmful parasitic worms naturally while others cannot in what could lead to new therapies for up to one billion people worldwide.
The University of Manchester researchers have, for the first time, identified

Mucin-5AC as a protein that in humans is encoded by the MUC5AC gene to be the key component of the mucus found in the guts of humans and animals is toxic to worms.

Dr Sumaira Hasnain, the lead researcher said “For the first time, we have discovered that a single component of the mucus barrier, the Muc5ac mucin, is essential for worm expulsion.
Learning who is and isn’t susceptible to parasitic worms can lead to new treatments for people with chronic worm infections.

How does Muc5ac mucin effect cells?

  • The abnormal expression of gastric M1/MUC5AC mucin in precancerous lesions and colon cancer.
  • Cigarette smoke when it enters lung tissue induces MUC5AC mucin overproduction via tumor necrosis factor-α-converting enzyme in human airway epithelial (NCI-H292) cells.
  • During inflammation Nitric oxide (NO) is generally increased in airway diseases. This causes NO to increase the secretion of mucin from the goblet cell and submucosal glands.

“These parasitic worms live in the gut, which is protected by a thick layer of mucus,” explained Dr David Thornton, from the University’s Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Matrix Research. “The mucus barrier is not just slime, but a complex mixture of salts, water and large ‘sugar-coated’ proteins called mucins that give mucus its gel-like properties.

By creating more mucous study mice were able to expel this whipworm from the gut. Importantly, the mucus from these mice contained the mucin, Muc5ac. This mucin is rarely present in the gut, but when it is, it alters the physical properties of the mucus gel.
Mice unable to genetically produce Muc5ac were unable to expel the worms, despite having a strong immune response against these parasites. This resulted in long-term infections.

Muc5ac is also essential for the efficient expulsion from the gut like hookworm, and the spiral threadworm. Together, these worms cause mortality and morbidity in up to one billion people across the globe.
Excerpts and Image 2. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kj9cXm
Image 1. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kuLDE5

“Fighting for quality school eats”

Concerned about the obesity of our children, the battle starts here, in their school’s cafeteria.

If you’ve been wondering where Season 2 of the Food Revolution had gone on ABC do not fear the show is taking a short break following the recent positive events in the Food Revolution in L.A .

Looking forward to seeing the superintendent of the LAUSD offering to recommend to the board the removal of flavored milk from schools and agreeing to work with Jamie.

All new episodes beginning Friday, June 3rd at 9pm ET/8pm CT.

If you’ve missed either of the first two episodes, they will be airing back-to-back on Friday May 27th at 8:00 and 9:00 pm ET (7 and 8 CT) or you can watch them on www.abc.com !

You can get involved with the Food Revolution below.

Sign Jamie’s petition! We want to reach 1 million. If you’ve already signed ask all of you friends and family to do so as well. Signing up to our newsletters is also a great way to stay informed on all things Food Revolution and receive a roundup of the latest news each week, just fill in the ‘Stay in the loop’ box on the website.

• Join the Food Revolution Community on Facebook for the latest news, actions, announcements and recipe of the week. We want you to download the recipe of the week, cook it and post a picture of your creation on the community wall. This week it’s the delicious Caesar on the Lighter Side, you have until the end of Tuesday each week to post your photo. We’ll be posting our team photo each Friday so check out the Community page for this. We’ll be picking the best ones and featuring them in our weekly newsletter and on the website.

• Check out our Activists map to find a local group in your area to connect with and join their Facebook page. If there isn’t one locally submit a request to create a group and become a local leader. All leaders receive a handy Welcome Toolkit to get them started and all groups receive messages from Jamie and the team, we want you to succeed in your local campaign and will be keeping track of the great work already going on.

• Our Sugary Milk Campaign already has over 48,000 signers, to sign up and find out more about the campaign and milk in schools click here and read about the success in LA so far here.

• Join our weekly Competwitions and Twitter parties on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where the community gets together to talk recipes, school food, cooking, gardening and the Food Revolution campaign. Read some of the conversation from this week’s party and competwition – including this week’s winner!

The Food Revolution Team

Season 2 EP1&2 airing May 27 on ABC 8/7c then weekly on Fridays 9/8c from June 3.

Article courtesy of  www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/lfKvZA

“Mushrooms say oil spills be gone!”

Researcher Paul Stamets says mushrooms can eat oil spills and rid the world of toxins.

For more than a decade, mycologist, inventor and researchers Paul Stamets has known

that mushrooms eat oil. Now he has to learn how to do it on a larger scale and get the US government’s blessing.

After the Deep Water Horizon explosions last year, the EPA contacted him several times to request a proposal. They wanted to understand how mycoremediation—the reduction of toxic compounds into harmless ones by fungi—could work as a component of their cleanup strategy for the spill.

Stamets calls fungi the “interface organisms between life and death” because they specialize in breaking indigestible substances down into smaller particles that other living things can use as nutrients.

In fact, polishing the public image of fungus may be more important for Stamets than any decision to bring mushrooms to the Gulf spill. This is because he sees human partnership with fungi as essential to the broader project of creating a sustainable society. Like most other environmentalists, Stamets believes our society is hurting the earth and that the consequences of this damage will be severe. But he differs from the others in his conviction that fungi are the key to repairing that damage, healing the planet and accepting decay as part of nature as well.

Stamets calls fungi the “interface organisms between life and death” because their mic specialize in breaking indigestible substances down into smaller particles that other living things can use as nutrients. It is this ability to digest complex organic compounds that makes fungi so promising for cleaning up oil.

 

Stamets first tested the fungal appetite for oil in 1997, when he teamed up with researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to provide fungi for several lab-based experiments. The team selected mycelial strains and set them loose on diesel-contaminated soil.

After eight weeks, they found that the fungi had removed 97 percent of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—heavy chemicals within oil that other forms of remediation had consistently failed to break down.

The next year Washington State Department of Transportation joined with Stamets and the Battelle Marine Science Laboratory to research the most effective bio-safenmethods for cleaning up a maintenance yard contaminated with diesel fuel. Workers scooped piles of the toxic soil onto tarps, and each of several piles were inoculated with, either with a form of oil-eating bacteria or with Stamets’  oyster-mushroom mycelia and wood chips mix.

There were also several control patches of soil.

Results showed that his patches were teeming with huge oyster mushrooms feasting happily on the diesel compounds while destroying more than 95 percent of the PAHs and the mushrooms were also free of any petroleum products. The control and the bacteria patches, were dead, dark, and stinky and the diesel compounds remained.

Because the contamination in the soil patches was very uneven,  it was difficult to measure the precise concentration of contaminants both before and after remediation. However, researchers at the Department of Transportation eventually declared the fungi-cleansed soil pure enough to use for landscaping purposes along the highways of Washington. And in the years since, Stamets’s findings have been replicated by many other researchers, and further study has shown that various types of fungi are able to partially or fully detoxify oil and pesticides.  T^he fungi have also been successful at breaking down depleted uranium from anti-tank shells by allowing it to bond with phosphates to form a more stable mineral.

Since the Deepwater Horizon spill in April 2010, Stamets has been testing his oyster mushrooms for tolerance to salt water and sun in preparation for a gig off the coast of Texas or Louisiana. So far, he’s managed to isolate a strain that can tolerate the salinity of Puget Sound, which is only slightly less than that of the Gulf. And he’s found ways to float the mushrooms cheaply on hemp “mycobooms” filled with straw and mycelia from which the mushrooms can metabolize oil on the surface of the sea.

Stamets has discovered is that the enzymes and acids that mycelium produces to decompose this debris are superb at breaking apart hydrocarbons – the base structure common to many pollutants. So, for instance, when diesel oil-contaminated soil is inoculated with strains of oyster mycelia, the soil loses its toxicity in just eight weeks

Creative solutions under pressure

Stamets says this new research is “very cool and unlikely to have been discovered if it were not for this disaster.” He believes it will be used in the near future and has applied for a provisional patent to prevent oil companies from stealing the research.

(Most likely the oil companies would not want to spend their profits on solutions, but maybe you could try using mushrooms to clean up any small oil soil caused by your car  or truck..- Editor’s note)

Stamets says he would be happy to share it for free

with affected communities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Six ways mushrooms can save the world.

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lLQtR2

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/m7U7s3

“A recipe for a quality life”

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

75 per cent of Americans are focused on eating more whole grains

What is a whole grain?
A whole grain is a grain unprocessed and straight from Mother Nature.
They include: amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgar wheat, couscous, millet, oatmeal, popcorn (seed), quinoa, sorghum and triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat whole oats, whole rye, wild rice (a blend of seeds) and whole wheat.

To be a whole grain it must still contain the bran and germ, when it is processed the brain and germ are removed, leaving behind the white endosperm. This causes many nutrients to be left behind.
To try to make up for the bleeding of nutrients through processing, companies will throw in a sprinkle of vitamins and call their product “enriched”. There is nothing enriching about this scam. 25% of their original protein content and 17 other essential nutrients are usually lost.

Whole grain breads pack more protein, fiber, vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin E), and minerals (magnesium and iron), as well as some antioxidants not found in junk foods.

The U.S. government recommends that half of your daily grains servings should be whole grains. That’s at least three servings of whole grains per day.

Even desserts can be made more nutritious using whole grains and a natural sugar.

Help Finding whole grain products

Until recently, finding whole grain products was difficult. Is this product whole grain, or simply refined flour with caramel coloring? Does 100% wheat mean it’s whole grain? What does multigrain really mean?
Help from the whole grains council
The Whole Grains Council is helping consumers to find and eat more whole grains
Look for the Whole Grain Stamp, a special packaging symbol now on hundreds and hundreds of popular products. Check out the list of “Stamped Products” here on our website.
At Restaurants, using our list of food outlets that offer at least one whole grain choice at every meal.
For Foodservice, using our new foodservice list. If you run a restaurant or cafeteria, you need to know where you can buy bulk containers of whole grains – not the usual consumer-size products. We can help.

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kc3eEY

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kwtfW6

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lbiS1e

“Optimum vitamin D level above 50 ng/ml”

Make it or take it vitamin D level over 50 ng/ml

Professor Hollis is the scientist who provided the best reason to keep your vitamin D level around 50 ng/ml.  Some scientists say 20 ng/ml is good enough because parathyroid hormone (PTH) is pretty much suppressed with levels of 20, other scientists say levels should be 30 because calcium absorption is maximized with that level.  That is, PTH suppression and calcium absorption are biomarkers for adequate vitamin D blood levels.

Professor Hollis provided another biomarker, one every woman – and most men – can immediately accept as the best biomarker yet: how much vitamin D does a woman need to be sure that her breast milk has adequate vitamin D?  When you think about it, that’s about as good as biomarkers get.

Professor Hollis answered that question in his research, finding that when a lactating woman has vitamin D blood levels of 40-50 ng/ml, her breast milk finally has enough vitamin D to support the vitamin D levels of her nursing infant. At levels below 40, the vitamin D content of breast milk becomes unpredictable.  Human breast milk – unlike the breast milk of wild mammals – has little or no vitamin D.  Nature’s most perfect food is too often void of the pre-hormone needed for infant growth and development.

Dr. Bruce found that breast milk is not void of it, it is just that virtually all modern lactating women are void of it.

There is a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH)D. Levels should be above 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L) year-round, in both children and adults. Thanks to Bruce Hollis, Robert Heaney, Neil Binkley, and others, we now know the minimal acceptable level. It is 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L). In a recent study, Heaney, et al expanded on Bruce Hollis’s seminal work by analyzing five studies in which both the parent compound (cholecalciferol) and 25(OH)D levels were measured. They found that the body does not reliably begin storing cholecalciferol in fat and muscle tissue until 25(OH)D levels get above 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L). The average person starts to store cholecalciferol at 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L), but at 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L) virtually everyone begins to store it for future use.

At levels below 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L), the body uses up vitamin D as fast as you can make it, or take it, indicating chronic substrate starvation—not a good thing. 25(OH)D levels should be between 50–80 ng/ml (125–200 nmol/L), year-round.

Two forms of Vitamin D are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from sunlight. Foods may be fortified with vitamin D2 or D3.Vitamin
Other ways Vitamin D is needed in the body

  • maintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
  • aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.
  • protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.
  • calcium absorption which your bones need to grow.
  • needed for nerve, muscle, and immune systems function.

Excerpts courtesy of John Cannell, MD/Vitamin D Council  http://bit.ly/kAGVcX

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kcNiCV

Image 1. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kcNiCV

Image 2. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/m7ae5K

 

“Dementia linked to overweight”

Being overweight or obese in midlife and beyond increases the risk for dementia even if there is no history of diabetes and vascular disease.

With 1.6 billion adults around the world being overweight, controlling body weight can help prevent dementia in seniors, the researchers say.

Recent research has shown a link “between midlife obesity and dementia, but for overweight, the association has been controversial,” said lead author Weili L. Xu, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. “But from this twin study, we demonstrated that both overweight and obesity increases the risk of dementia in later life.”

The study was published in the May 3 issue of Neurology.

The research study used data from the nationwide Swedish Twin Registry between the years 1998 and 2001. The twins in this registry were age 65 years and older. 13,723 twins completed cognitive screening tests and 8534 were included in this study.

The protocol included a neuropsychological assessment, including the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Researchers calculated body mass index (BMI) at midlife (mean age, 43.4 years) using self-reported weight in kilograms divided by self-reported height in meters squared and categorized BMI into 4 groups: underweight (BMI < 20), normal weight (20-25), overweight (26-30), and obese (>30).

Dementia was diagnosed in 350 of the 8534 participants (4.1%), including 232 with Alzheimer’s disease and 74 with vascular dementia; 114 (1.3%) had what was considered questionable dementia.

Compared with those without dementia, twins with confirmed or questionable dementia were older; had lower levels of education and current BMI; and were more likely to have diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

The study showed a strong link between dementia and midlife BMI. In the model adjusted for age, sex, education, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease, both overweight and obesity at midlife were associated with increased dementia risk compared with normal BMI.

In this study, 29.8% (2541) of the twins were overweight or obese at midlife, a percentage much lower than the over 50% who are currently considered overweight or obese in the United States and Europe. This, said Dr. Xu, is because the data are from 30 years ago, before the global obesity epidemic.

Dementia-Discordant Twins

In a matched case-control analysis of 137 dementia-discordant twin pairs a high BMI equaled a higher rate of dementia.

Because twins share the same genes and early life environment, these 2 factors might help explain the link between body weight and dementia, said Dr. Xu.

In the case of only 1 twin developing dementia, that sibling might have been exposed to a trigger in early life that turned on a gene that increased the risk for obesity or dementia, she added. Dr. Xu and her colleagues have shown that the FTO gene, for example, is associated with both obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to the contribution of genes, the link between body fat and dementia could involve a vascular pathway, said Dr. Xu. “High body fat is associated with diabetes and vascular disease, which in turn are related to dementia risk.” However, this study controlled for lifespan vascular disease, suggesting that the pathway may be nonvascular.

If that’s the case, the pathway may involve metabolism. High adiposity is associated with an altered metabolic status, including hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and high blood pressure. This can contribute to the metabolic syndrome, which other studies have linked to cognitive decline, said Dr. Xu.

Or, the association could also involve a hormonal pathway or inflammation, said Dr. Xu. “Adipose tissue is the largest endocrine organ and it secretes inflammatory cytokines and growth hormones such as interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein, and also leptin, which is associated with obesity.”

Whatever the mechanism, the important message is that overweight and obese people need to lose weight. Dr. Xu emphasized that even though the study looked at midlife body weight, “it’s never too late” to shed excess pounds.

She added that physical activity can reverse the risk for dementia due to obesity. “This is part of our ongoing study, but preliminary results already show that if you do more physical activity, you can reduce your risk of dementia.”

John Hart, MD, professor of neurology, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, and member of the American Academy of Neurology, emphasized that the study shows correlation between obesity and dementia and does not prove cause and effect.

As for the contribution of environmental factors, Dr. Hart agreed that twins share genes, but they don’t necessarily share the same experiences that might trigger a genetic reaction. For example, one twin may have had a severe infection or a head injury that the other twin didn’t.

This is just one more wake up call to stay fit and eat right.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/jMOFVc

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/jwm4lE