“Given that coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide, even small health effects of substances in coffee may have large public health consequences,” says Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Larsson and her colleagues looked at data on 34, 670 women, who were participating in a mammography study. The women were asked about coffee consumption – overall they averaged three cups of coffee a day. During a followup ten years later, a national hospital discharge registry recorded 1,680 strokes among the women. The researchers found, after adjusting for other stroke factors such as smoking, that women drinking at least one cup of coffee a day were 24% less likely to suffer a stroke. While drinking more coffee was not linked to an even lower stroke risk, the researchers concluded, “the risk appeared to be increased among women with low or no consumption of coffee” compared to daily coffee drinkers.
Larsson and her colleagues suggest that antioxidant polyphenols in coffee may be the reason for an association of coffee drinking and lower likelihood of stroke. The coffee compounds may improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation. Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory says, “there is a biological plausibility for such an effect, though I feel it is more likely due to the phenolic acids, e.g., chlorogenic acid, than to the polyphenols in the beverage. The fact that other studies have found somewhat similar results provides further confidence in the association.”
In 2010, English scientists reported to the American Stroke Association conference that both men and women who drank a cup of coffee a day were 30% less likely to suffer a stroke over a 12 year period…….. www.tuftshealthletter.com 5/20/13
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of Zomig and Zomig-ZMT (orally disintegrating tablets). Zomig is in the class of drugs called triptans, and is indicated for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults. The generic Zolmitriptan tablets will be available in 2.5 mg and 5 mg strengths. Apotex Corp., Glenmark Generics and Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have said their distributions will begin immediately. Apotex and Glenmark will also produce Zolmitriptan Orally Disintegrating Tablets in 2.5 mg and 5 mg strengths. www.drugs.com
A study recently published in the journal Neurology studied over 1,000 people around the age of 79. At the start of the study none of them had dementia, though 109 of them had already developed skin cancer. During the course of the study, 32 more participants developed skin cancer, and 126 eventually developed dementia. Among those who developed dementia, 100 developed Alzheimer’s.
The researchers found that the participants who had skin cancer were about 80% less likely to have Alzheimer’s when compared to the people with no history of skin cancer. Among those with skin cancer, only two went on to have Alzheimer’s. The link was not seen with people who developed melanoma, and the correlation was not seen for other types of dementia, such as those related to circulatory issues. Study author Dr. Richard Lipton, a professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine said, “the apparent protective effect is enormous, and we were surprised by the magnitude.” Lipton and his colleagues believe environmental factors could be contributing to this result. It’s theorized that people who are more active may be outside in the sun more. This in turn may put them at greater risk for skin cancer, but at a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It’s also possible that getting more exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays may also help to absorb more vitamin D.
Lipton points out however, that these results should not encourage people to stop using sunscreen or to protect their skin from ultraviolet rays. “Whatever we learn from this might lead to interventions. If it turns out the vitamin D hypothesis is correct, no doctor will say, ‘get skin cancer,’ but they might recommend taking vitamin D supplements.” Recently Lipton saw his dermatologist, and was diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer. I said, ‘Oh good,’ because my mom died of Alzheimer’s disease and I live in fear of it. It’s not that having skin cancer makes it a guarantee, but you’re at a reduced risk and that provides a little upside to something that otherwise has only downsides,” he says. healthland.time.com 5/16/13
Recently, an English study found that adults over 30 are more likely to get up off the couch if reminded by their loved ones. In fact, the least active participants told researchers that they needed and appreciated pestering by spouses and children. These findings were recently presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in London. A 2010 German study showed that people are more apt to regularly exercise if in committed relationships. The study suggested that partners tend to encourage and monitor healthy behaviors.
So, how can a loved one be supportive, without doing it in a negative way? Miami-based psychiatrist and wellness expert Gabriela Cora says, “If you are constantly – and negatively – trying to push someone to do something by saying ‘you should go to the gym’ or ‘stop eating so much’ then the other person is going to feel awful and ignore you in self-defense. “On the other hand, if you nag but associate it with a positive result, this could make a difference.”
Psychotherapist Tina Tessina of Long Beach, California suggests taking the weight loss issue off the table, and instead focus on health, longevity and fun. She says, “If you cook healthy food, invite your partner to take walks with you and generally live a healthier lifestyle, that’s the best way to influence your partner.” And, it’s also important to practice what you preach. “You can nag all you want but if you sit on the couch all day and eat junk food, nobody will take you seriously,” says Shelton Masse, a fitness trainer from Chicago……. www.philly.com
A new meta-analysis suggests that a serving or two of spinach or lettuce a day may help keep type 2 Diabetes away. Patrice Carter, a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester in England and colleagues looked at 3,446 previously published studies. Four of the studies specifically examined intake of green leafy vegetables – a trend was seen toward reduced diabetes risk. The researchers standardized the definition of a serving as 106 grams, or 3.73 ounces. In defining green leafy vegetables, the studies included kale, lettuce, and spinach. Carter also mentioned broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and herbs including parsley, dill and fennel as green vegetables. Green leafy vegetables in particular, and fruit and vegetables in general may help prevent chronic disease because of their antioxidant content. The researchers added that “green leafy vegetables also contain polyphenols, which are known for their antioxidant properties.”
In an accompanying editorial, Jim Mann, PhD, of the University of Otago in New Zealand and Dag-finn Aune, BSc. of Imperial College in London emphasized the importance of diet: “Although some studies have shown associations between individual vegetables and fruits and coronary heart disease, stroke and some cancers… most current recommendations focus on food groups as a whole rather than magic bullets. And, they added, “The findings are also a useful reminder to clinicians that giving dietary advice may be just as beneficial, if not more so, than prescribing drugs to patients at risk of chronic disease.” www.tuftshealthletter.com 5/14/13
While study results have been conflicting for decades, a large study that has looked at thousands of Americans born between 1885 and 1980 reveals that well-being increases with age. However, overall happiness can be dependent on when a person is born.
Past studies have compared older adults with middle aged and young adults, and have sometimes found that older adults are not as happy. This study, published in Psychological Science, however, looked specifically at the age and different life experiences of the participants. The researchers found that well-being increases over everyone’s lifetime. Though people who have lived through severe hardship, like the Great Depression may begin life less happy than those who have not been through such difficult times, it does not have to have a long-term negative effect. These findings may help to explain why past studies have found contradictory results – that tough times can influence a generation’s happiness for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, the new study found that well-being increases over everyone’s lifetime, even for those who experience adversity early on. The good news is that we can look forward to feeling more content as we get older…… Scientific American Mind May/June 2013
“The Migraine Girl” frequently posts blogs at migraine.com. Here is a recent post of her’s, describing the frustration of seeing her daily routine scrapped due to a migraine…
Despite my nature (which dictates that I live messily and spontaneously and hope others can fly by the seats of their pants as well), I am trying to become someone who plans ahead. I know: gasp. I’ve blogged before about what a procrastinator I am, and I know that putting things off until the last minute isn’t a good idea for anyone, let alone for someone who could get waylaid by migraine at any moment.
But I’m encountering a whole new set of issues as I try to establish a more solid work routine at home and at my business. I have a virtual meeting with my events coordinator each week. I have a set payroll schedule. I have publishers I have to pay by certain dates. I have documents to file by particular deadlines. In my home office, I try to set up calendar alerts and plans to make sure I have a good idea of the weeks and months ahead. I set up calendar alerts and reminders so I can spread my work out among different dates.
Too bad all that shizzy hits the fan as soon as I am thrown off course by a migraine. Say I am supposed to write one blog post per week and I’ve set aside Monday afternoons for that. Well, a migraine comes along and I end up in bed most of the day Monday, not in a good mindframe for writing. By the time Tuesday rolls around, blogging time is over, as we’re onto Tuesday’s schedule. See what I mean?
In good health times, I thrive with routine. I feel better and more productive when I awake early each day and go to bed around the same time each night. I love having a plan and pattern to my day (this is especially true when I’m working from my home office, which is rife with delightful distraction). But everything gets wonky when a migraine intrudes and disrupts the schedule. So routine is my best friend, but I don’t treat it very nicely when I break from the pattern. It’s hard to fall back in step once I’m feeling good again…….. migraine.com 5/10/13
Casey Keller, Wrigley’s president for North America said a few days ago, “after discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply.” So, less than two weeks after launching its Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, the Wrigley Company has pulled the product off the market.
Recently, there has been a dramatic growth in caffeinated energy drinks, as well as caffeinated food products. This has caused concern for the increased availability of these products to children and teens. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that children and adolescents should avoid caffeinated drinks because caffeine can boost heart rates, increase anxiety and interfere with sleep.
Keller called for “changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products.” www.npr.org 5/9/13
The connection between how skin responds when rubbed with chili oil, and the phenomenon that occurs in the brain during a migraine has Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology company in the world looking to produce new medicines for the millions of people affected by migraine. Amgen, as well as Alder Bioparmaceuticals Inc., Arteaus Therapeutics, and Labrys Biologies Inc., are looking at a chemical released during a migraine that carries a “pain” signal from nerve to nerve. The aim is to block off receptors from receiving messages, in the hope that drugs can be created that cut off migraine symptoms before they start.
A similar pain-signal transmission happens when chili oil touches skin. The capsaicin in the pepper causes the body to release calcitonin gene-related peptides, or CGRP. This event leads to an increase in blood flow to the area. Researchers at Amgen injected their drug under the skin of patients who had chili oil on their skin. The therapy blocked the CGRP that causes increased blood flow. “It sounds simple, but it’s important; it tells us that our drug is getting into the body in relative concentrations that are generally well tolerated and that block CGRP,” says Rob Lenz, a lead researcher in Amgen’s migraine drug development. Currently, Amgen’s AMG 334 and Alder’s ALD 403 are in the second of three clinical trials typically needed for U.S. regulatory approval.
There is a lot of excitement for this new pain blocker approach. By blocking a receptor in the brain from receiving a message, migraines could be totally avoided, says Dr. Peter Goadsby, director of the University of San Francisco’s Headache Center. Goadsby helped discover CGRP’s link to migraines, and has worked with drug companies on advancing his findings into medicines.
Financial analysts are also closely watching these trials. Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets predicts Amgen’s new migraine drug could reach $1 billion in sales, should it gain U.S. approval……. Chicago Tribune 5/12/13
According to Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Executive Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Bayer is not only marketing One A Day multivitamins for reducing the risk of breast cancer, it’s also marketing and advertising to give consumers the impression that various One A Day multivitamins can prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
A One A Day web site warns, “Every three minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer, and according to the American Cancer Society, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer at some point during her life is about 1 in 8.” The site offers ways for avoiding the disease, including self exams, getting annual mammograms, and eating a healthy diet. Bayer’s final suggestion? “Take One A Day Women’s multivitamins formulated with a high level of vitamin D to support breast health.” According to Dr. Jacobson, Bayer’s putting it’s pills in the same category as self exams and annual mammograms is “unbelievable and also against the law.” In 2009 the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Bayer to stop them from claiming One A Day Men’s multivitamins with selenium could reduce one’s risk of prostate cancer. Bayer abandoned those claims.
Dr. Robbins adds that numerous studies have shown that multivitamins may have more negative factors than positive ones….. Center for Science in the Public Interest 5/6/13