Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Add nature, art and religion to life’s best anti-inflammatories

Wondering if people with anti-social tendencies, and those who harm others have less anti-inflammatories…

Add nature, art and religion to life’s best anti-inflammatories 

From the 3 February 2015 UC Berkeley repress release

The awe we feel when we're in nature may help lower our inflammatory response, new study suggests
The awe we feel when we’re in nature may help lower levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, a new study suggests (iStockphoto)

Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert’s “Ave Maria” may give a boost to the body’s defense system, according to new research from UC Berkeley.

Researchers have linked positive emotions – especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality – with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder.

“Our findings demonstrate that positive emotions are associated with the markers of good health,” said Jennifer Stellar, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study, which she conducted while at UC Berkeley.

While cytokines are necessary for herding cells to the body’s battlegrounds to fight infection, disease and trauma, sustained high levels of cytokines are associated with poorer health and such disorders as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression.

It has long been established that a healthy diet and lots of sleep and exercise bolster the body’s defenses against physical and mental illnesses. But the Berkeley study, whose findings were just published in the journal Emotion, is one of the first to look at the role of positive emotions in that arsenal.

 

February 5, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Experts Challenge Super Food Claims: Healthy-Giving Properties of Broccoli, Blueberries, May Not Make It Past the Gut

 

broccoli

broccoli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a pharmacology lab technician about 30 years ago.
He was discouraged that drug research did not include studies on how drugs were broken down by digestion, the resultant by-products, and how the by-products worked to “cure” diseases or ameliorate conditions.  I suspect little has changed since then in drug research.

 

 

 

From the 5 October 2012 article at Science Daily

 

They have been the mainstay of the health industry for the best part of a decade, but now researchers at London’s Kingston University are using an approach that allows them to delve deeper into the effectiveness of health-promoting ‘super foods’ and their elixir-giving ilk. While there’s no doubt foods such as broccoli, blueberries and whole grains contain polyphenols – compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – the academic experts contend that little of these health-giving properties actually make it past the gut.

“Polyphenols may well work when cells are exposed to them directly, such as under laboratory conditions, but what needs to be established is how effective they are when consumed as part of a food. If they don’t actually get through the gut membrane and into the rest of the body, then they’re not a super food,” Dr Lucy Jones, Deputy Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, said.

Dr Jones and her colleague Dr Elizabeth Opara have taken a model developed in the early 1980s by US cancer research institute Sloane Kettering and adapted it to see if and how medicinal Chinese herbs, known to limit the growth of cancer cells, are absorbed in the body. Known as the Caco-2, the model mimics the action of the small intestine, the principal place where nutrients are taken up. The Kingston researchers have used it to assess what does and doesn’t make it through the gut…

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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