Rising Global Temperatures Could Be Contributing to Worldwide Diabetes Epidemic

Growing global temperatures may be playing a part in the rising numbers of people developing type 2 diabetes, suggests new research from the Leiden University Medical Center and the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.

Map of the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico), showing the mean annual temperature and the magnitude of the β coefficients from the obesity-adjusted meta-regression analysis, per state or territory over the period 1996–2009. The β coefficient from meta-regression analysis, representing the difference in diabetes incidence rate per 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature; red circles indicate a positive β coefficient, while blue circles indicate a negative β coefficient. Adjusted for the effect of time passage. Diabetes incidence rate is… Read more

Bolivian Tsimane People Have World’s Healthiest Arteries, Study Says

According to a new study published in The Lancet , the Tsimane (pronounced chee-MAH-nay) — an indigenous people of lowland Bolivia — have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date, with coronary atherosclerosis being five times less common than in the United States.

Tsimane village from the water. Image credit: Hillard Kaplan et al .
“The lifestyle of the Tsimane people suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed fiber-rich carbohydrates, along with wild game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day could help prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart,” said lead author Professor Hillard Kaplan, from the University of New Mexico.
“The loss of subsistence diets and lifestyles could be classed as a new risk fac… Read more

Regular Tea Consumption Reduces Risk of Neurocognitive Disorders in Older Adults, Study Says

Regular consumption of tea lowers the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults by 50%, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging .

Feng et al found that regular tea consumption is associated with lower risk of neurocognitive disorders among Chinese elderly. Image credit: Deaphen.
“A cup of tea a day can keep dementia away, and this is especially so for those who are genetically predisposed to the debilitating disease,” said lead author Dr. Lei Feng, from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the National University of Singapore.
The long-term study involved 957 community-living Chinese elderly (aged 55 years or older) who were cognitively intact at baseline.
“We collected tea consumption information at baseline from 2003 to 2005, and ascertained incident cases… Read more

Being Parent Could Add Extra Years to Your Life

Parenthood is associated with a longer life than childlessness, particularly in older age, according to a study led by Karolinska Institute researcher Karin Modig. By the age of 60, the difference in life expectancy, which does not seem to be influenced by the sex of the child(ren), may be as much as two years.

Modig et al found that people who had at least one child tended to live longer.
To find out if parenthood might help stave off death in older age, Dr. Modig and co-authors tracked the lifespan from the age of 60 onwards of all men (704,481) and women (725,290) with a birth date between 1911 and 1925 and living in Sweden, using national registry data. The study also gathered registry data on marital status and the number and sex of any children they had.
Age specific risks of death were calculated and compare… Read more

Lactobacilli Can Reverse Depression Symptoms, Study Finds

Lactobacilli, a group of probiotic bacteria that ferment milk into yogurt and aid in the digestive process in the body, can reverse depression-like behavior and anxiety in mice, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports on March 7, 2017.

Lactobacillus reuteri bacteria (blue). Image credit: Alistair Walsham & Stephanie Schüller, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00244.
Depression is one of the most common types of mental illnesses, affecting up to 7% of the population.
While improved diagnosis led to appreciation of the frequency of the disorder, better understanding of the mechanisms leading to depression is needed for the development of new therapeutic approaches for this debilitating disease.
The role of the gut microbiome has been of tremendous interest to researchers s… Read more

Study: Caffeine, 23 Other Compounds Boost Dementia-Fighting Enzyme

A team of scientists at Indiana University, Bloomington, has identified 24 compounds — including caffeine, retinoic acid, and rolipram — with the potential to boost an enzyme in the brain shown to protect against dementia.

Indiana University Professor Hui-Chen Lu and co-authors have identified 24 compounds that increase the brain’s production of the enzyme NMNAT2, which helps prevent the formation of tau tangles associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Image credit: National Institute on Aging / National Institutes of Health.
The enzyme in question is called nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2).
Its protective effect was discovered last year through research conducted by Indiana University Professor Hui-Chen Lu and co-authors.
According to the researcher… Read more

Fetal Sex Plays Role in Immunity of Pregnant Women, New Study Finds

Women tend to react with stronger responses to immune challenges while pregnant with girls than with boys, a new study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity has found.

The study by Mitchell et al shows baby’s sex is associated with pregnant women’s immune responses.
A team of scientists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center followed 80 pregnant women (46 with male and 34 with female fetuses) across the course of their pregnancy and examined whether women exhibited different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on fetal sex.
Analyses were conducted on levels of cytokines in the blood and levels produced by a sample of immune cells that were exposed to bacteria in the lab.
“While women didn’t exhibit differences in blood cytokine levels based on fetal sex, we did fi… Read more

‘Molecular Switch’ that Causes Mucosal Autoimmune Diseases Discovered

According to an international team of researchers led by University College London and King’s College London, the discovery of a ‘molecular switch’ that causes the mucosal inflammatory diseases ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease, could lead to effective new treatments for these autoimmune conditions. The discovery is reported in the journal PLoS Genetics .

According to Soderquest et al , T-bet plays an important role in coordinating the body’s immune responses. Image credit: Werbe Fabrik.
For the first time, researchers have a specific target for the treatment of these life-changing conditions by identifying an immune molecule called T-bet (TBX21) as the key control point that regulates the genetic risk in specific diseases.
“Our research outlines a specific focus for… Read more

Vitamin B3 Protects Mice from Glaucoma, Study Finds

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin and nicotinic acid, prevents eye degeneration in glaucoma-prone mice, according to a study published in the Feb. 17 issue of the journal Science .

Williams et al show that dietary supplementation with a single molecule (vitamin B3 or NAM) or Nmnat1 gene therapy significantly reduces vulnerability to glaucoma by supporting mitochondrial health and metabolism. Image credit: Mizianitka.
Glaucoma, a group of complex, multifactorial diseases, is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases worldwide and the most common cause of age-related blindness in the United States. There is currently no cure, and once vision is lost, the condition is irreversible.
In most glaucoma patients, harmfully high pressure inside the eye or intraocular pressure leads to the pro… Read more

Vitamin D Protects Against Colds and Flu, New Study Finds

Vitamin D supplementation can help protect against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu, particularly among very deficient individuals, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ .

The study by Martineau et al provides the most robust evidence yet that vitamin D has benefits beyond bone and muscle health, and could have major implications for public health policy.
Acute respiratory tract infections are a major cause of global morbidity and mortality and are responsible for 10% of ambulatory and emergency department visits in the United States.
They can include anything from the common cold to bronchitis and pneumonia and have been linked with low blood levels of vitamin D.
Some studies have shown that vitamin D can trigger immune responses to certain bacteria and viruse… Read more

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