Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Healthiest Foods On Earth: MSN

By Jonny Bowden,

What is the best diet for human beings?

Vegetarian? Vegan? High-protein? Low-fat? Dairy-Free?

Hold on to your shopping carts: There is no perfect diet for human beings. At least not one that's based on how much protein, fat or carbohydrates you eat.

People have lived and thrived on high-protein, high-fat diets (the Inuit of Greenland); on low-protein, high-carb diets (the indigenous peoples of southern Africa); on diets high in raw milk and cream (the people of the Loetschental Valley in Switzerland); diets high in saturated fat (the Trobriand Islanders) and even on diets in which animal blood is considered a staple (the Massai of Kenya and Tanzania). And folks have thrived on these diets without the ravages of degenerative diseases that are so epidemic in modern American life—heart disease, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis and cancer.

In Pictures: The Healthiest Foods On Earth

The only thing these diets have in common is that they're all based on whole foods with minimal processing. Nuts, berries, beans, raw milk, grass-fed meat. Whole, real, unprocessed food is almost always healthy, regardless of how many grams of carbs, protein or fat it contains.

All these healthy diets have in common the fact that they are absent foods with bar codes. They are also extremely low in sugar. In fact, the number of modern or ancient societies known for health and longevity that have consumed a diet high in sugar would be ... let's see ... zero.

Truth be told, what you eat probably matters less than how much processing it's undergone. Real food—whole food with minimal processing—contains a virtual pharmacy of nutrients, phytochemicals, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and healthful fats, and can easily keep you alive and thriving into your 10th decade.

Berries, for example, are phenomenally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with plant compounds that improve memory and help fight cancer. Studies have consistently shown that nut-eaters have lower rates of heart disease. Beans are notorious for their high fiber content and are a part of the diet of people—from almost every corner of the globe—who live long and well.

Protein--the word comes from a Greek word meaning "of prime importance"—is a feature of every healthy diet ever studied. Meat, contrary to its terrible reputation, can be a health food if—and this is a big if—the meat comes from animals that have been raised on pasture land, have never seen the inside of a feedlot farm and have never been shot full of antibiotics and hormones.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: The Healthiest Foods On Earth: MSN

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Regular eggs 'no harm to health': BBC

Limiting egg consumption has little effect on cholesterol levels, research has confirmed.

A University of Surrey team said their work suggested most people could eat as many eggs as they wanted without damaging their health.

The researchers, who analysed several studies of egg nutrition, said the idea that eating more than three eggs a week was bad for you was still widespread.

But they said that was a misconception based on out-of-date evidence.

Writing in the British Nutrition Foundation's Nutrition Bulletin, they said eating saturated fats was far more likely to cause health problems.

Researcher Professor Bruce Griffin said eggs were actually a key part of a healthy diet, as they were particularly packed full of nutrients.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: Regular eggs 'no harm to health': BBC

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thiamine 'reverses kidney damage' : BBC

Doses of vitamin B1 (thiamine) can reverse early kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes, research shows.
The team from Warwick University tested the effect of vitamin B1, which is found in meat, yeast and grain, on 40 patients from Pakistan.
The treatment stopped the loss of a key protein in the urine, the journal Diabetologia reports.
Charity Diabetes UK called the results "very promising" - but said it was too early for any firm conclusions.
The latest findings build on earlier work by the Warwick University team, showing that many diabetes patients have a deficiency of thiamine.
According to the researchers, this cheap and readily available supplement could benefit most people with diabetes - both type 1 and type 2 - as between 70% and 90% of people with diabetes are thiamine deficient.
In diabetes the small blood vessels in the body can become damaged.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: Thiamine 'reverses kidney damage' : BBC

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google tool uses search terms to detect flu outbreaks: CNN

By Elizabeth Landau

(CNN) -- If you have a fever, headache and runny nose, you might go to Google and type the words "flu symptoms" to see whether you've come down with influenza.

Google knows that you might do something like that, and it also knows which U.S. state you're in. Now, it's putting that information together in a tool that Google says could detect flu outbreaks faster than traditional systems currently in use.
Google's new public health initiative, Google Flu Trends, looks at the relative popularity of a slew of flu-related search terms to determine where in the U.S. flu outbreaks may be occurring.
"What's exciting about Flu Trends is that it lets anybody -- epidemiologists, health officials, moms with sick children -- learn about the current flu activity level in their own state based on data that's coming in this week," said Jeremy Ginsberg, the lead engineer who developed the site.
The tool, which launched Tuesday, operates on the idea that there's likely to be a flu outbreak in states where flu-related search terms are currently popular. Watch's Elizabeth Landau explain how Google Flu Trends works »
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborated with Google on the project, helping validate and refine the model, and has provided flu tracking data over a five-year period, said Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch in the CDC's influenza division.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: Google tool uses search terms to detect flu outbreaks: CNN

When Alzheimer's Hits at 40: WSJ

Early-Onset Sufferers Juggle Children, Job and Dementia

Brian Kammerer, the 45-year-old chief financial officer of a small hedge fund, called his wife one day from a cellphone in the men's room of his Manhattan office building. A colleague had just asked him for something, he whispered, but he had no idea what it was.

"It clicks and it holds papers together," he said.
"A stapler?" Kathy Kammerer asked.
"I think that's what it's called," he replied.
Soon after that exchange in early 2003, the father of three was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, capping nearly five years of uncertainty and fear about his increasing forgetfulness and difficulty with language.

While most people who get Alzheimer's are over 65, Mr. Kammerer is one of about 500,000 Americans living with Alzheimer's or other dementias at an atypically young age. Alzheimer's takes a long time to develop -- usually, it isn't diagnosed until 10 years after the first symptoms appear -- but more Americans are identifying it early, thanks in part to aggressive screening programs pushed in recent years by groups including the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, a national alliance of caregivers.

The disease can be especially torturous when it creeps up on those in their 30s and 40s. As these patients move through Alzheimer's early stages, they are forced to cope with the dread of not knowing what is happening to them, often in the years when they're raising young children and building financial security. As the disease progresses, there are slip-ups to cover, appearances to keep up. When these "early onset" Alzheimer's sufferers are finally diagnosed, they face hard questions -- whom to tell and when, and what these divulgences mean for their jobs and health insurance.

Overall, an estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's, with as many as 10% diagnosed under the age of 65 -- the definition of early onset, according to the Alzheimer's Association, a national research organization. As the population ages, the number of individuals with Alzheimer's is expected to hit 7.7 million in 2030.

There are no Alzheimer's cures now on the market. Current medications mitigate some symptoms but don't slow or halt the disease's progression. Pharmaceutical companies are working on new therapies that reduce or remove amyloid, a sticky substance in the brain thought to play a role in the disease. There are more medicines in development for Alzheimer's than any other neurologic disease except pain, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry trade group. It will likely be years before a new generation of drugs makes it to market.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: When Alzheimer's Hits at 40: WSJ

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Statins May Halve Heart-Attack Risk: Time

By Alice Park

MedicalRF / Getty

A much-anticipated study released Nov. 9 at the American Heart Association's annual meeting confirms what doctors have long suspected: that inflammation may be as critical a predictor for heart-disease risk as is a patient's cholesterol score.

The study's results suggest that using statins to treat the symptoms of inflammation, an oft-overlooked condition, may nearly halve people's risk of future heart attack, stroke and heart-related death.

Led by Dr. Paul Ridker at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the study tracked about 17,800 people in 26 countries. Participants included men ages 50 and older and women ages 60 and older, who had high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) but normal cholesterol levels and no history of heart disease. Half the participants were given rosuvastatin (Crestor), and half were given a placebo daily for just under two years. The statin group reduced their CRP levels by 37%; their LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels dropped 50% to about 55 mg/dL. Among the 8,901 statin-takers, 31 suffered a heart attack and 33 suffered a stroke. When compared with the placebo group, those figures translated to a 54% lower risk of heart attack and a 48% lower risk of stroke in people taking a statin for inflammation — double the reduction of risk in patients who lower their cholesterol alone.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: Statins May Halve Heart-Attack Risk: Time