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Can Eating Peppers Help You Live Longer
Tulane University September 28, 2022
People who have a taste for chili peppers and other hot spicy foods may live longer, research suggests.
A new study of more than 500,000 Chinese adults over seven years finds that participants who ate foods flavored with chili peppers every day reduced their risk of premature dying by 14 percent, as compared to people who ate chili peppers less than once a week.
“Even among those who consumed spicy foods less frequently [one to two days a week], the beneficial effects could be observed,” says Lu Qi, professor of epidemiology at Tulane University. “Indeed, moderate increase of spicy foods would benefit.”
While his study, published in the BMJ, doesn’t address other foods, earlier research has indicated that horseradish, black pepper, garlic, and ginger may offer similar benefits.”There also is preliminary data from other studies showing such potential,” Qi says. Capsaicin in chili peppers may be what protects health, Qi says. It reduces risk of obesity, offers antibacterial properties, and helps protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. Chili peppers also improve inflammation and reduce blood pressure and oxidative stress.
Omega-3 may be helpful for attention, impulse control in adolescents
University Pompeu Fabra (Spain), October 3 2022.
Research findings reported in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry revealed that higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) were respectively associated with better test scores for attention and impulsiveness among adolescent boys and girls compared with adolescents who had lower levels.
“Polyunsaturated fatty acids are critical for brain development and function, and their deficiency may have long-term functional consequences” authors Ariadna Pinar-Marti and colleagues explained.
“Despite the established importance of DHA in brain development, few studies have evaluated whether it plays a role in the attention performance of healthy adolescents,” commented study coordinator Jordi Júlvez, PhD. “In addition, the possible role of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another omega-3 but of plant origin, has not been as extensively studied.”
In comparison with adolescents whose DHA levels were among the lowest one-third of participants, those whose levels were among the top third showed better attention performance as indicated by scores for reaction time and conflict response. Higher ALA levels were associated with less impulsivity. “The role of ALA in attention control is still unclear, but this finding may be clinically relevant, as impulsivity is a feature of several psychiatric conditions, such as ADHD,” Dr Pinar-Martí noted.
Weighted blankets found to increase melatonin
Uppsala University (Sweden), October 3, 2022
A new study from Uppsala University shows that using a weighted blanket at bedtime increases melatonin in young adults. This hormone increases in response to darkness, and some evidence suggests that it promotes sleep. The findings are published in the Journal of Sleep Research.
Previous research has shown that weighted blankets may ease insomnia in humans. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden experimented with 26 young men and women to examine if the bedtime use of a weighted blanket increases the production of sleep-promoting and anti-stress hormones like melatonin and oxytocin. In addition, they investigated whether the bedtime use of a weighted blanket (12% of participants’ body weight) reduced the activity of stress systems in the body. To this end, saliva was collected repeatedly from participants while they were covered with either a weighted or a light blanket to measure melatonin, oxytocin, cortisol, and the activity of the fight and flight sympathetic nervous system.
“Using a weighted blanket increased melatonin concentrations in saliva by about 30%. However, no differences in oxytocin, cortisol, and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system were observed between the weighted and light blanket conditions,” says Elisa Meth, first author and Ph.D. student at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at Uppsala University.
“Our study may offer a mechanism explaining why weighted blankets may exert some therapeutic benefits, such as improved sleep. However, our findings rely on a small sample and investigated only the acute effects of a weighted blanket. Thus, larger trials are needed, including an investigation of whether the observed effects of a weighted blanket on melatonin are sustained over longer periods,” says senior author Christian Benedict, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at Uppsala University.
Clinical Trial: Vegetable Extract may Treat Autism Better than Drugs
Harvard Medical School, September 30, 2022
A recent clinical trial has shown that one vegetable extract may have astounding positive effects on those with autism – broccoli extract.
Along with an extensive Autism Spectrum Disease research database at GMI, there is evidence suggesting that broccoli extract (along with avoiding heavy metals, minimizing glyphosate exposure, and eradicating the diet of gluten) shows promise in improving ASD.
The active ingredient in broccoli that seems to help is called sulforaphane, a molecule found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
A groundbreaking study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA titled, “Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD),” found that a broccoli sprout extract significantly improved the behavior of boys and men (those who most often suffer from autism). Sulforaphane was selected, in part, because its physiological effects are well characterized and ideal for those with ASD:
“Dietary sulforaphane, of recognized low toxicity, was selected for its capacity to reverse abnormalities that have been associated with ASD, including oxidative stress and lower antioxidant capacity, depressed glutathione synthesis, reduced mitochondrial function and oxidative phosphorylation, increased lipid peroxidation, and neuroinflammmation.”
The placebo-controlled, randomized pilot study of 44 males, ages 13-27, showed that after 18 weeks of treatment with a sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract, 46% had noticeable improvements in social interactions and 42% has improvements in verbal communication. More than half of all participants also showed a decrease in irritability, hyperactivity, and repetitive movements.
Of note, once treatment with broccoli extract stopped, most of the behaviors associated with autism returned.
The dosing schedule was determined by body weight:
· 100 lbs or less: one capsule containing 50 µmol (232 mg) of sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract was given daily
· 101–199 lbs, 100 µmol (two capsules of 232 mg each) of sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract was given daily
· More than 200 lbs: 150 µmol (three capsules of 232 mg each) of sulforaphane-rich broccoli extract was given daily
Social media use linked to developing depression regardless of personality
University of Arkansas, October 3, 2022
Researchers in public policy and education recently found that young adults who use more social media are significantly more likely to develop depression within six months, regardless of personality type.
Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, the study, “Associations between social media use, personality structure, and development of depression,” was co-authored by Renae Merrill, a doctoral student in the Public Policy Program at the University of Arkansas.
This new study found strong and linear associations of depression across all personality traits.”
Among the study’s findings was that people with high agreeableness were 49% less likely to become depressed than people with low agreeableness. Additionally, those with high neuroticism were twice as likely to develop depression than those with low neuroticism when using more than 300 minutes of social media per day. More importantly, for each personality trait, social media use was strongly associated with the development of depression.
The sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 to 30 was from data collected by Primack and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh.
The authors suggest that problematic social comparison can enhance negative feelings of oneself and others, which could explain how risk of depression increases with increased social media use. Engaging primarily in negative content can also enhance these feelings. And lastly, engaging in more social media reduces opportunities for in-person interactions and activities outside of the home.
“Findings from this study are important during a time of technology expansion and integration,” Merrill said. “Connecting to people virtually may increase the risk of miscommunication or misperception that leads to relationship difficulties and potential risk for developing mental health problems.”
“People have innate emotional needs for social connection and understanding,” Merrill added. “For example, social media experiences can be improved by becoming more aware of our emotions and our connection with others in various life circumstances. This awareness helps improve relationship quality by simply reaching shared meaning and understanding through more effective communication and concern for others and ourselves. Despite our differences, we have the ability to create a culture of empathy and kindness.”
Which grains you eat can impact your risk of getting heart disease earlier
Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), October 3, 2022
In one of the first studies to examine the relationship between different types of grain intake and premature coronary artery disease in the Middle East, researchers found a higher intake of refined grain was associated with an increased risk of premature coronary artery disease in an Iranian population, while eating whole grains was associated with reduced risk.
According to the researchers, previous epidemiological studies have reported an association between different types of grain intake with the risk of coronary artery disease. The current study evaluated the association between refined and whole grains consumption and risk of PCAD in an Iranian population.
Premature coronary artery disease (PCAD) refers to atherosclerotic narrowing of coronary arteries in males under 55 years old or in females under 65 years old. It is often asymptomatic early in the course of the disease but may lead to chest pain (angina) and/or heart attack with progressive development of narrowing (stenosis) or plaque rupture of the arterial wall. Risk factors for PCAD include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Whole grains are defined as containing the entire grain, while refined grains have been milled—ground into flour or meal—to improve shelf life but they lose important nutrients in the process. The ACC/American Heart Association Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease recommends a diet that emphasizes the intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and fish to decrease heart disease risk factors.
The study recruited 2099 individuals with PCAD from hospitals with catheterization labs in different cities and ethnicities throughout Iran who underwent coronary angiography (women aged ≤ 70 and men ≤ 60). In total, 1,168 patients with normal coronary arteries were included in the control group, while 1,369 patients with CAD with obstruction equal or above 75% in at least a single coronary artery or ≥ 50% in the left main coronary artery made up the case group.
After adjusting for confounders, a higher intake of refined grains was associated with an increased risk of PCAD, while whole grain intake was inversely related to reduced risk of PCAD.