March 14, 2012
By David Martin
“This is pretty much common sense. Change your unhealthy lifestyle and get healthy. Duh!” –KTRN
Late-life dementia has a lot in common with heart disease – and many of the same causes, according to an article published Tuesday in Nature Reviews Neurology.
Like heart disease, the cognitive impairment that accompanies aging is usually the result of a combination of lifestyle and other factors, the article says. Diabetes, obesity, untreated hypertension, sedentary lifestyle and stress are all linked to both heart disease and dementia.
Other factors linked to dementia: untreated obstructive sleep apnea, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency, post traumatic stress disorder, head trauma, brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, and the ApoE, or Alzheimer’s, gene.
Lead author Dr. Majd Fotuhi says the latest research shows dementia can be delayed, stopped and sometimes even reversed with lifestyle changes.
Fotuhi, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says this is empowering news for anyone worried about dementia or confronting mental decline.
“All of a sudden you can be in charge,” says Fotuhi, who is also chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Research and Fitness. He estimates only a fifth of late-life dementia is Alzheimer’s.
Fotuhi and his colleagues reviewed factors that alter the size of the hippocampus. The hippocampus, a pair of almost thumb-sized structures on either side of the brain, is critical for the formation of new memories.
February 27, 2012
By Mark Hyman. M.D.
This week, in an act of desperation to turn back the tide of the obesity epidemic that now affects almost seven out of every 10 Americans and more than 80 percent of some populations (African-American women), the advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 20 to 2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, a “new” obesity drug that is simply the combination of two older medications, phentermine (the “phen” of phen-fen”) and topiramate (Topamax).
It is a misguided effort at best, and a dangerous one at worst. Mounting evidence proves that the solution to lifestyle and diet-driven obesity-related illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer won’t be found at the bottom of a prescription bottle.
By 2020, more than 50 percent of the U.S. adult population will have Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, with annual costs approaching $500 billion. By 2030, total annual economic costs of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. are predicted to exceed $1 trillion. By 2030, globally we will spend $47 trillion, yes trillion, to address the effects of chronic lifestyle-driven disease.
Prescription medication for lifestyle disease has failed to bend the obesity and disease curve. Statins have been recently found to increase the risk of diabetes in women by 48 percent. And large data reviews by independent international scientists from the Cochrane Collaborative found that statins only work to prevent second heart attacks, not first heart attacks, which means they are not helpful and most likely harmful for 75 percent of those who take them.
Avandia, the No. 1 blockbuster drug for Type 2 diabetes, has caused nearly 200,000 deaths from heart attacks since it was introduced in 1999. The drug was designed to prevent complications of diabetes, yet heart attacks are the very disease that kills most Type 2 diabetics. In 2011, the FDA issued stricter prescribing guidelines for Avandia, but the drug is still on the market.
The large ACCORD trial found in more than 10,000 diabetics that intensive blood-sugar lowering with medication and insulin actually led to more heart attacks and deaths.
Something is deeply wrong with our medical approach.
The problem of chronic disease, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, is not a medication deficiency, but a problem with what we put at the end of our fork.
The emperor truly has no clothes. Why would good men and women of science vote to approve a medication for a condition that is a social disease and requires a social cure? The social, environmental, economic, and political conditions of America and increasingly the global community have created an obesogenic environment.
Clearly we need to do something. But it is not better medication or surgery or more angioplasties and stents, which have no proven benefit in more than 90 percent of those who receive them. The data show they work for acute coronary events, but not stable angina or blockages.
We continue to pay for expensive treatments for chronic disease, despite the fact that they don’t work, while insurance does not pay for nutrition counseling unless the patient has kidney failure or diabetes.
Chronic disease is a food-borne illness. We ate our way into this mess and we must eat our way out.
January 30, 2012
By S.D. Wells
Aluminum Lake food coloring, used to heavily coat liquid medicines for children, contains dangerous amounts of aluminum and harmful synthetic petrochemicals. These “petrochemicals” are carcinogens containing petroleum, antifreeze and ammonia, which cause a long list of adverse reactions. Aluminum poisoning can lead to short and long term central nervous system (CNS) damage, such as memory impairments, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation, and dementia.
Research shows that just 4ppm of aluminum can cause the blood to coagulate. This is what causes Alzheimer’s Disease and has been documented to inhibit learning. Aluminum consumption can also be associated with the development of bone disorders, including stress fractures.
Also known as tartrazine, FD&C Yellow Aluminum Lake is a chemical concoction derived from coal tar. It is known to be a reproductive toxin. All artificial colors contain Aluminum Lake, so when your child gets to pick between red, blue or green medicine, they’re really choosing which poison they get to consume. Several chemically enhanced food colorings contain ammonia and therefore produce compounds proven to cause various cancers in animal studies, according to CSPI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
January 23, 2012
By Mike Adams
Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly population of adults over 65 years of age. A recent study found that elderly people who suffer from dementia are more likely to suffer falls if they are given anti-depressants.
Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to dementia patients, who often also experience depression. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that the risk of elderly injuring themselves from falls was TRIPLED after they were given SSRIs. This class of drugs includes the popular depression drugs Prozac and Paxil, which have long been considered first-line therapy for treatment of depression in older adults.
The high risk of falls following treatment with older anti-depressant medications is well established, as these drugs have long been shown to cause unpleasant and dangerous side effects in elderly such as dizziness and unsteadiness.
October 27, 2011
By Andrew W. Saul, PhD
Cavities and gum diseases are not often regarded as serious diseases, yet they are epidemic throughout our society, from the youngest of children to the oldest of senior citizens. Research more than suggests that the same good nutrition that prevents cavities and gum diseases may also prevent other illnesses.
Dental caries and gum pathology are frequently associated with serious chronic health problems. Multiple independent studies published after 1990 document this. Cavities are associated with poor mental health [1-4]. Elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease had an average of 7.8 teeth with fillings vs. an average of only 2.7 fillings for elderly individuals without dementia . It is likely that the toxic heavy metal mercury, which makes up half of every amalgam filling, is a contributing factor.
A recent authoritative review showed a clear association between cavities and heart diseases . More importantly, this same study showed that people with poor oral health, on average, lead shorter lives. The association between cavities and diabetes is also a subject of active, ongoing research [6-8]. Connections between heart disease, diabetes, and dental decay have been suspected for decades. Many of the scientists who called attention to this have proposed that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates were the common cause of these diseases [9-15].
Dental diseases, mental diseases, heart disease, infectious respiratory diseases, and heart disease are all at least partially caused by common failures in metabolism. Such failures are inevitable when there is a deficiency of essential nutrients, particularly vitamins D, C, and niacin.
There is especially strong evidence for a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cavities. Dozens of studies were conducted in the 1930′s and 1940′s [16-27]. More than 90% of the studies concluded that supplementing children with vitamin D prevents cavities. Particularly impressive was a study published in 1941 demonstrated the preventative affect of “massive” doses of vitamin D . And yet no subsequent studies in the scientific literature suggested a need to follow up and repeat this work.
October 17, 2011
By: John Phillip
Researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Calabria in Italy publishing in The FASEB Journal report that resveratrol blocks the effect of estrogen and can help to prevent the malignant growth of breast cancer in women. The grape/red wine derivative has been the subject of numerous scientific studies in recent years and has shown promise in lowering risks from cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Scientists also believe the protective nutrient may extend healthy lifespan by directly influencing mortality genes known as SIRT. Health-minded adults will want to include resveratrol from natural food sources or supplementation to reap the numerous health benefits.
To design their study, researchers used several breast cancer cell lines expressing the estrogen receptor to test the effects of resveratrol. They exposed the different cells to a solution containing resveratrol and compared the results to cells left untreated. They found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated with resveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells. Further experiments determined that this effect was caused by a critical reduction in estrogen receptors caused by the administration of resveratrol.
Resveratrol Supplementation Suppresses the Growth of Malignant Breast Cancer Cells
This finding is the first of its kind as it relates specifically to the effect of resveratrol on a particular cancer cell line. The team was able to conclude that resveratrol is able to counteract the malignant progression of breast cancer cells by inhibiting the growth and spread of hormone resistant cancerous cells. This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancer whose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy.
A peer review board examining the study data concluded “scientists haven’t finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine.” It is important to note that in this body of research, resveratrol only demonstrated an effect on malignant cancer cells and exerted no effect on non-cancerous cells.
While the authors cautioned that people should not go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements as a treatment for breast cancer, the finding strongly indicates that the plant-protective compound should be considered as a component in an overall plan designed to prevent the devastating disease. Nutrition experts recommend a supplemental intake (from a purified, organically derived source) of between 50 and 250 mg per day for optimal health benefits.
October 6th, 2011
By: John Phillip
Many people are aware that vitamin B12 status declines during aging, as millions of seniors fall prey to a decline in this critical nutrient. Vitamin B12 circulating in the blood declines in the elderly due to absorption problems in the digestive tract leading to poor uptake by body tissues, especially the brain. Researchers publishing in the journal Neurology have established a definitive link between poor vitamin B12 levels and brain shrinkage, a hallmark of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia. Supplementation with the biologically active form of the B vitamin may help prevent shrinkage and preserve learning capabilities and memory functions as we age.
The study involved 121 participants from the Chicago Health and Aging Project who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for over a period of four and a half years. Additionally, each member of the study had blood drawn to measure levels of vitamin B12 and B12-related markers that can indicate a B12 deficiency. The same subjects took tests measuring their memory and other cognitive skills.
Vitamin B12 Deficiencies Linked to Shrinking Brain Volume and Cognitive Decline Among Elderly
MRI scans were analyzed to measure total brain volume and to look for other signs of brain damage. The tests included seven measures of episodic memory, two measures of visual spatial ability and perceptual organization, two measures of perceptual speed, two measures of semantic memory, and three measures of working memory. Stored blood samples were analyzed for vitamin B12 and homocysteine, a byproduct of metabolism associated with dementia, cognitive decline and coronary artery disease.
Researchers determined that having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume. Indicators of vitamin B12 insufficiency contributed to poor global cognitive test scores and a decrease in brain volume revealed by MRI findings compared to those with better B12 status. Higher levels of the vitamin B12 markers were linked to decreased total brain volume. Elevated homocysteine levels were indicative of greater white matter volume and elevated risk of cerebrovascular events.
Lead researcher, Dr. Christine Tangney concluded “Our findings suggest that … vitamin B12 deficiency, may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume whereas the effect of homocysteine on cognition may be mediated through increased white matter hyperintensity volume and cerebral infarcts.” Vitamin B12 deficiency among the elderly is a significant cause for concern and may very well be a key contributor to the explosion of Alzheimer’s disease cases over the past 50 years. Nutritionists recommend supplementing with the bioactive form of B12 known as methylcobalamin (1 to 5 mg per day taken sublingually) to regulate circulating levels of this critical brain nutrient.
September 21st, 2011
By: S. L. Baker
Currently, an estimated 24 million people world-wide are living with Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of the mind and personality-robbing affliction known as dementia. And the numbers keep climbing. But why? Mainstream medicine puts the blame on the fact people are living longer and genetics offers little hope to stop dementia unless Big Pharma comes up with some miracle pill – an approach that so far has failed miserably.
However, now there’s evidence much dementia could be triggered by another disease that is often preventable and even reversible with natural health strategies.
A new study just published inNeurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, reveals diabetes significantly increases the risk of developing dementia. And type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease which has reached epidemic proportions, is due primarily to obesity and inactivity.That suggests that by taking control of your health with good nutrition and exercise, you may be able to not only prevent diabetes but also dementia.
“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia,” said study author Yutaka Kiyohara, MD, PhD, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, in a media statement. “Diabetes is a common disorder, and the number of people with it has been growing in recent years all over the world. Controlling diabetes is now more important than ever.”
The research found people with diabetes were more likely to develop both Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, such as vascular dementia. Vascular dementia results when blood vessels become damaged and interrupt oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain.
In all, the scientists studied 1,017 people age 60 and older who were given a glucose (sugar) tolerance test after fasting overnight in order to test for diabetes. Then, over the course of about 11 years, the research subjects were followed and tested for dementia. During this time, 232 people developed the memory destroying disease.People with diabetes had double the risk for dementia when compared to those with normal blood sugar levels.
These findings remained consistent even after the researchers accounted for other factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking. The risk of dementia was also higher in people who did not have diabetes, but had impaired glucose tolerance. This “pre-diabetes” condition is also part of a cluster of symptoms (including being overweight, having high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels) known as metabolic syndrome which has become widespread and is already known to raise the risk for heart disease as well as diabetes – and now dementia can be added to this list.
The new study findings are actually positive because, as NaturalNews as previously covered, there are numerous ways to reduce and sometimes even reverse type 2 diabetes — by keeping weight under control, exercise and adding specific foods to a healthy diet.
July 18th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
A study recently published in the journal Nature Genetics explains that nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, or NRTIs, which are drugs used primarily in Africa and other developing regions of the world to treat HIV and AIDS, are responsible for causing heart disease, dementia, premature aging, and other age-related illnesses.
Originally introduced in the late 1980s, many NRTIs have since been replaced in developed countries by newer, and much more expensive, antiretroviral drug cocktails that may be just as damaging. But the older NRTIs are still being used on the poor with HIV and AIDS, and their devastating side effects are only just now beginning to be realized.
“It takes time for these side effects to become apparent, so there is a question mark about the future and whether or not the newer drugs will cause this problem,” said Patrick Chinnery, lead author of the study from the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Newcastle University, to Reuters in a telephone interview. “They are probably less likely to, but we don’t know because we haven’t had time to see.”
Scientists observed that the chemical compounds in NRTIs damage DNA in patients’ mitochondria, which are the power producers for cells. When these important structural elements become harmed or destroyed, they are unable to produce energy for cells, which can lead to a host of health problems and eventually death.
“The DNA in our mitochondria gets copied throughout our lifetimes and, as we age, naturally accumulates errors,” added Chinnery. “We believe these HIV drugs accelerate the rate at which these errors build up. So over the space of, say, ten years, a person’s mitochondrial DNA may have accumulated the same amount of errors as a person who has naturally aged 20 or 30 years.”
The findings illustrate the general fact that the unknown, long-term dangers associated with all types of drugs have not been properly identified. Because NRTIs and most other drugs have never been tested for long-term side effects, it is highly likely that a great majority of them will eventually be identified as damaging in much the same way as NRTIs.
February 21st, 2011
By: John Phillip
Most people understand the importance of a well balanced diet, including the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, to prevent chronic disease. These critical cofactors of life are repeatedly shown to promote health and prevent a myriad of chronic diseases from diabetes and dementia to heart disease and cancer. The impact of proper nutrition on a child`s developing brain is brought to light in a study published in the British Medical Journal. A processed food diet packed with sugar, fat and excess salt can lower IQ in early childhood, while eating a diet filled with healthy natural foods that provide a full compliment of vitamins and nutrients is shown to benefit cognitive development.
The study results were based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children involving 14,000 children born in 1991 and 1992. Based on parent questionnaires, children were placed into one of three dietary groups based on eating patterns: `processed` including excessive fats, sugars and salt, `traditional` based on high quantities of meats and vegetables and `health-conscious` that stressed salads, fruits, vegetables, rice and pasta.
IQ was measured at the age of 8 1/2 using the standardized Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Researchers found that children eating the most processed food diet at age 3 scored 1.67 IQ points lower for each 1 point increase in dietary pattern score. Similarly, those eating the most healthful diet scored 1.2 IQ points higher for every 1 point improvement in dietary pattern score. Diet was found to have no effect on IQ score after the age of 4 years.
This study underscores the importance of proper diet on the developing brain. Prior research has shown an association between early childhood diet and later behavior and school performance. The research authors noted “This suggests that any cognitive/behavioral effects relating to eating habits in early childhood may well persist into later childhood, despite any subsequent changes (including improvements) to dietary intake”.
The brain is growing at an accelerated rate during the first three years of life, and scientists have observed that head growth during this time is linked to intellectual ability. Clearly a diet filled with processed and refined foods that have been stripped of most natural nutrients during these formative years stunts normal brain growth and the development of the critical neural network that are essential to higher brain function and learning.
Researchers concluded “It is possible that good nutrition during this period may encourage optimal brain growth.” Starting infants and children on a natural diet early in life is one of the most important lifestyle habits we can teach our children. The diet they become comfortable eating during these early years will help them to develop optimally and avoid the many diseases that plaque adults throughout life.