Mediterranean diet groups may have exploited the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the foods

Mediterranean diet groups may have exploited the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the foods

The cognitive function tests showed that on average, those consuming either version of the Mediterranean diet scored significantly higher than the low-fat dieters. Because the participants were Spanish men and women, it’s possible that other lifestyle or cultural factors played a role in the results. But even after adjusting for factors such as age, family history of cognitive problems and dementia, education, and even depression, which can affect cognitive function, the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet remained.

Many studies have linked the diet to health improvements, and researchers are starting to pin down some of the factors that could be driving these effects. In this study, the researchers noted that the Mediterranean diet groups may have exploited the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the foods.

“Oxidative stress has been associated with neurodegeneration. The main components of the [Mediterranean diet] intervention in the…trial, extra virgin olive oil and nuts, have antioxidant properties and, together with other polyphenol-rich foods in the [Mediterranean diet], are suggested to relate to improved cognitive function,” the authors wrote in the study. They also suggested that the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet come from improvements in underlying risk factors that otherwise could contribute to strokes or other related health problems.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/05/21/mediterranean-diet-better-than-low-fat-diet-in-keeping-aging-brains-sharp/#ixzz2TwYkMnq6

Novartis Ruling Reverberates Past India’s Borders

India’s Supreme Court says drug maker Novartis can’t hold onto its patent for the pricey cancer drug Gleevec simply by tweaking its chemical formula. That means generic drug makers can keep making a form of the drug at a tenth of Novartis’s price. Consumer advocates call it a major advance for access to generic drugs. The drug industry says it will chill companies’ willingness to produce innovative products.

 

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/02/175997129/novartis-ruling-reverberates-past-indias-borders

Obama unveils $100m plan to help fight disease

Barack Obama has launched an ambitious plan to map the human brain for the first time, in an attempt to seek vital clues for treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The Brain Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) will launch with $100m of federal funding, and there are hopes that it could create thousands of jobs in spinoff scientific and technological enterprises.

The funding – a tiny fraction of the $2.7bn that the Human Genome Project cost US taxpayers between 1990 and 2005 – will come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.

The initial funding is enough to jumpstart the project, but it will have to attract a great deal more cash if it is to do all that the president and NIH hope.

Launching the initiative at the White House on Tuesday, Obama called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join in one of what he has identified as the “grand challanges” of the 21st century. Obama pointed to the long-term benefits for science, the economy and the human race as a whole of these huge scientific endeavours.

“Imagine if no family had to feel helpless watching a loved one disappear behind the mask of Parkinson’s, or struggle in the grip of epilepsy,” he said.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/apr/02/obama-brain-initiative-fight-disease

Sanjay Gupta, M.D. discusses pain

S. GUPTA: Former President Bill Clinton’s familiarity with pain killers goes back to when he lived in the White House. 

Have you ever been prescribed a medication like this? 

CLINTON: Well, I did take some painkillers when I tore my — 90 percent of my quadriceps, but I tried to be very careful and I was in a lot of pain. 

S. GUPTA: And years after leaving the Oval Office, he would once again need pain pills. He said he and his doctors were cautious. 

CLINTON: After my heart surgery, you know, when I was — I hurt pretty bad for three weeks so I got some medicine, but I really tried to get off of it as quick as I could and my doctors were really good about it, you know, telling me, you know, take this if it’s killing you, but be careful. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poison Center. This is Rosie. 

S. GUPTA: Be careful. It’s a warning that might prevent call after call pouring in here at the Washington Poison Center. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poison Center, this is Deborah. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn’t getting pain relief so I took too many oxycodone. I, took, um, five 10-milligram oxycodone. And I’m feeling really shaky, light headed. I’m just nervous. 

HURLEY: For the most part this hasn’t been recognized as a national phenomenon or a national problem at all. 

S. GUPTA: Not recognized among the general population and also not recognize among the medical community? 

HURLEY. Exactly. They had no idea that this combination of medications could lead to their death, and in many cases, their doctors don’t recognize the risk to those patients. S. GUPTA: So how did we quietly become a country inundated with pain pills? Some believe it all began when pain was designated the fifth vital sign. 

When you talk about vital signs, typically, someone gets their body temperature measured, their heart rate, their respiratory rate and their blood pressure, but the results of this push to say the fifth vital sign is pain. Never forget about asking someone about their pain. 

You think that fueled this or helped drive this? 

HURLEY: I do. I think physicians around year 2000 started to get pushed to better manage pain. And the physicians in our culture, that means give out more medication. 

S. GUPTA: So pain becomes a vital sign. Laws are passed liberalizing the use of opiods for more than just cancer or chronic pain patients. That creates new marketing opportunities for aggressive pharmaceutical companies. Doctors prescribe the drugs for legitimate reasons but also for conditions that could be treated with much milder medications or with therapy. 

The result, we prescribe enough pain pills to give every man, woman and child a dose every four hours for three weeks. Remember, 80 percent of the world’s opioids are used by Americans. 

Eighty percent. Does that surprise you? 

CLINTON: I didn’t know that. No, because — 

S. GUPTA: Is that a cultural U.S. problem? 

CLINTON: Yes. It is cultural and you know, people think I’ve got a headache, or about this, or my elbow is sore whatever. And look, I don’t want to minimize, there are a lot of people who live courageous lives in constant pain but there’s no question. This since we represent 5 percent of the world’s people we got no business popping as many pills as we do. 

Superfoods

10 Superfoods to Incorporate Into Your Diet

By Nick LivermoreEco18.com On March 17, 2013 @ 7:51 am In Nutrition | No Comments

Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help with brain function and your vision. (Michael Urban/AFP/Getty Images)

Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that can help with brain function and your vision. (Michael Urban/AFP/Getty Images)

Superfoods. The name itself carries so much hype, and many nutritionists can’t stand it. The concept, however, has the best of intentions. Essentially, superfood is used to describe food with a particularly high nutrient profile and minimal negative ingredients.

We’re not saying to eat them constantly. What we are saying is buying them at the store and incorporating them into your diet will have benefits on your waistline and overall health and wellness.

Avocado 
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados also loaded with fiber and lutein, an antioxidant linked to eye and skin health.

Blueberries 
Loaded with antioxidants, mainly anthocyanins, blueberries can help with brain function and your vision. They also make a great snack.

Dark Chocolate 
Packed with flavonols and antioxidants, one piece of dark (80%+ cacao is best) provides a healthy dose of disease-fighting compounds and may help to reduce cholesterol.

Oats 
Rich in protein and minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron, oats also packed an excellent dose of soluble fiber! Great for breakfast.

Eggs 
One of, if not the most, protein-rich foods on earth, eggs are also loaded with amino acids and other nutrients. It’s also OK to eat the yolks.

Almonds 
Full of cholesterol-lowering fiber and monounsaturated fat, almonds make a great snack or can be easily incorporated into virtually any meal.

Red Wine 
One glass of red wine a night has been shown to boost levels of healthy cholesterol and packs a healthy dose of antioxidants, resveratrol and saponins.

Salmon 
According to The American Heart Association, eating fish two meals per week, helps cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Fatty fish, such as salmon, may also help alleviate depression. Just make sure it’s wild-caught, never frozen and comes from a store that supports sustainable agriculture.

Ancient Grains 
Heirloom and ancient grains carry a far superior nutritional makeup than modern wheat, which has been crossbred and may be genetically modified. Grains such as Kamut khorasan, spelt, and amaranth generally contain higher levels of protein, antioxidants and minerals and generally taste better, too!

 

Seeds 
Chia, quinoa, and flax seeds all carry a host of nutritional benefits ranging from antioxidants and minerals to protein and fiber.

Health Care’s Sticker Shock

Peeling Away Health Care’s Sticker Shock

  • By Andy Grove
  • 6:30 AM

The US spends trillions on medical care—but good luck finding out the price of an appendectomy or an aspirin.

 

In the early 1950s, it was nearly impossible to know the value of an automobile. They had prices, yes, but these would differ radically from dealer to dealer, the customer a pawn in the hands of the seller. This all changed in 1958, when US senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma shepherded a bill through Congress requiring that official pricing information be glued to the window of every new automobile sold in the US. The “Monroney sticker,” as it came to be known, has been with us ever since. It became an effective means of disclosing the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, and a billboard for other data disclosures to the consumer: the car’s fuel economy, its environmental rating, and so on.

The sticker price was one of the triumphs of consumer-rights legislation and has made buying a car an easier—though never altogether easy—experience. What’s more, window stickers made automobile pricing rational and understandable. A customer who knows the base price going in will expect more value coming out. In economic terms, the sticker turned a failed market flummoxed by information asymmetry into something resembling a functioning, price-driven marketplace.

If there is ever an industry in need of a Senator Monroney today, it is health care, in which 1950s-era thinking still rules the day, and irrational and inexplicable pricing is routine. The health care industry plays a gigantic game of Blind Man’s Bluff, keeping patients in the dark while asking them to make life-and-death decisions. The odds that they will make the best choice are negligible and largely depend on chance. Patients need to have data, including costs and their own medical histories, liberated and made freely available for thorough analysis. What health care needs is a window sticker—a transparent, good-faith effort at making prices clear and setting market forces to work.