From the Harvard Gazette:
Research Also Shows People Who Eat Nuts Weigh Less
According to the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts, say scientists from the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,contains further good news: The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate fears that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight.
The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death.
“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s.
Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.
Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for more than 30 years.
For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known, ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes. The Nurses’ Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010. Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years. With each questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts in a serving size of one ounce. A typical small packet of peanuts from a vending machine contains one ounce.
Sophisticated data analysis methods were used to rule out other factors that might have accounted for the mortality benefits. For example, the researchers found that individuals who ate more nuts were leaner, less likely to smoke, and more likely to exercise, use multivitamin supplements, consume more fruits and vegetables, and drink more alcohol. However, analysis was able to isolate the association between nuts and mortality independently of these other factors.
“In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period,” explained Ying Bao of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, first author of the report. Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 percent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 percent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 percent reduction; and seven or more times a week, a 20 percent reduction in death rate.
The authors noted that this large study cannot definitively prove cause and effect; nonetheless, the findings are strongly consistent with “a wealth of existing observational and clinical trial data to support health benefits of nut consumption on many chronic diseases.” In fact, based on previous studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2003 that eating 1½ ounces per day of most nuts “may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The study was supported by National Institutes of Health and a research grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.
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From coal plants to auto exhaust, air pollution is something we seem to think we can adapt to. Cancer isn’t something one adapts to. Check out this video. Better take a deep breath first.
Red Wine Chemical Remains Effective Against Cancer
After The Body Converts It
02 October 2013 Leicester, University of
A chemical found in red wine remains effective at fighting cancer even after the body’s metabolism has converted it into other compounds.
This is an important finding in a new paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine by Cancer Research UK-funded researchers at the University of Leicester’s Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine.
The paper reveals that resveratrol – a compound extracted from the skins of red grapes – is not rendered ineffective once it is metabolised by the body.
This is an important development, as resveratrol is metabolised very quickly – and it had previously been thought that levels of the extracted chemical drop too quickly to make it usable in clinical trials.
The new research shows that the chemical can still be taken into cells after it has been metabolised into resveratrol sulfates.
Enzymes within cells are then able to break it down into resveratrol again – meaning that levels of resveratrol in the cells are higher than was previously thought.
In fact, the results appear to show resveratrol may be more effective once it has been generated from resveratrol sulfate than it is if it has never been metabolised because the concentrations achieved are higher.
The team, led by University of Leicester translational cancer research expert Professor Karen Brown, administered resveratrol sulfate to mice models.
They were subsequently able to detect free resveratrol in plasma and a variety of tissues in the mice.
This is the first direct sign that resveratrol can be formed from resveratrol sulfate in live animals, and the researchers think it may help to show how resveratrol is able to have beneficial effects in animals.
The study also showed that resveratrol generated from resveratrol sulfate is able to slow the growth of cancer cells by causing them to digest their own internal constituents and stopping them from dividing.
Professor Karen Brown said: “There is a lot of strong evidence from laboratory models that resveratrol can do a whole host of beneficial things – from protecting against a variety of cancers and heart disease to extending lifespan.
“It has been known for many years that resveratrol is rapidly converted to sulfate and glucuronide metabolites in humans and animals – meaning the plasma concentrations of resveratrol itself quickly become very low after administration.
“It has always been difficult to understand how resveratrol is able to have activity in animal models when the concentrations present are so low, and it has made some people skeptical about whether it might have any effects in humans.
“Researchers have hypothesized for a long time that resveratrol might be regenerated from its major metabolites in whole animals but it has never been proven.
“Our study was the first to show that resveratrol can be regenerated from sulfate metabolites in cells and that this resveratrol can then have biological activity that could be useful in a wide variety of diseases in humans.
“Importantly, we did all our work with clinically achievable concentrations so we are hopeful that our findings will translate to humans.
“Overall, I think our findings are very encouraging for all types of medical research on resveratrol. They help to justify future clinical trials where, previously, it may have been difficult to argue that resveratrol can be useful in humans because of the low detectable concentrations.
“There is considerable commercial interest in developing new forms of resveratrol that can resist or overcome the issue of rapid metabolism. Our results suggest such products may not actually be necessary to deliver biologically active doses of resveratrol to people.”
Dr Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK health information officer, said: “This interesting study supports continued research into resveratrol as a therapeutic molecule, but it’s important to note that any benefits from the molecule don’t come from drinking red wine. It’s well established that drinking any type of alcohol, including red wine, increases the risk of developing cancer.”
The study was carried out over eight years, and was funded by the Cancer Research UK and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in Leicester, and the US National Cancer Institute.
Professor Karen Brown of the University of Leicester Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine.
Sugar lights up cancer in MRI scans
Cancer Has A Sweet Tooth
A new technique for detecting cancer by imaging the consumption of sugar with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been unveiled by University College London scientists.
The breakthrough could provide a safer and simpler alternative to standard radioactive techniques and enable radiologists to image tumors in greater detail.
The new technique is based on the fact that tumors consume much more glucose (a type of sugar) than normal, healthy tissues in order to sustain their growth.
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