Behind the Mask, European Golden Economy and Pasta with Worms

A new treatment for the celiac disease – a common gluten-sensitive autoimmune disease, was published recently in the last volume of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.07.022. The effective treatment for the moment is a gluten-free diet, for the first time now the researchers applied another strategy. They examined the influence of experimental infection with hookworms on the outcomes of escalating gluten consumption by Celiac patients. Parasitic helminths have already held promise for treating some inflammatory disorders. In this 52 weeks study, 12 adults with celiac were infected with hookworm (Necator americanus) larvae, and subsequently they had to consume a growing dosse of pasta every day as a source of gluten. Symptomatic (diarrhea, cramps and vomiting), serologic and histological outcomes were evaluating the gluten toxicity. Regulatory and inflammatory T cell populations in blood and mucosa were examined. As a result of this experiment, the villous height-to-crypt depth ratios did not decrease, the IgA-tissue transglutaminase titers declined, and the quality of life scores improved. Over the duration of the trial, the immune T cells within the intestine developed from being pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory, with corresponding increases in CD4+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. The authors concluded that the worms Necator americanus and the gluten microchallenge promoted gluten tolerance and stabilized or improved all tested indices of gluten toxicity in Celiac subjects.

All summer, guys, I have been working on collecting data, reading and writing articles on autoimmune diseases, like Celiac. Soon you, my faithful friends, will learn all about it.

But now, in connection with the study on Celiac disease, I will tell you about the difficult time I had these last days: yesterday in the hospital of Leuven, the previous day, on the Conference of Silver Economy, organised by European Commission in Brussels.
Yesterday, waiting for my examination, I was looking desperately for healthy lunch, but everywhere I found just sandwiches and cakes. When in the take away shop a few floors higher I found a plastic container, looking like salad with tomato- mozzarella,the sky was the limit in prise I was ready to pay for it. But after I took a fork of green salade, the pasta whitened threatening on the surface.
The other day, knowing the good taste of the European Organisations, I was very disappointed during the lunch pause of the Brussels Conference, because I found also just sandwiches, lasagna, sweet cakes, everything containing gluten. We discussed for a long time and looked from different angles the needs of the older people (50+) and how to prepare the European economy, as the conference was dedicated to the silver economy. The black picture of the near future, where we all will be surrounded by old, sick, suffering from ageing diseases population urged us, the youngsters to make full use of the future situation, hold the enterprises on the silver economy and eventually collect gold!
Why don’t we never discuss or invest in preventing ageing and ageing diseases!? Or such EU program has already passed away!
I have not find answers to my questions, but I am certainly able to understand the pressure of the responsibility

and the heightened risk for suicide of perfectionists as showed a new article published this week in the journal Review of General Psychology, Vol 18(3), 156-172. As this study described , the physicians, lawyers and architects, have an occupations emphasised on precision, and also leaders were at higher risk for perfectionism-related suicide. Fortunately, nothing was mentioned on mathemathisions and other exact scientists… The authors found links between hopelessness, psychological pain, stress and emotional perfectionism with suicidal urges and intentions. The authors discussed how to reduce levels of risk among perfectionists who ‘hide behind a mask of apparent invulnerability’.

Anyway, obviously, nor the cooks, nor the doctors, entrepreneurs or leaders had heard of Celiac disease or its new treatment. Honestly, I am not angry nor vulnerable and please, you, lawyers, politicians, all real perfectionists, please stay alive! Just don’t forget to serve my worms!!!


Immunotherapy for MS mice, diets for children, men, women and the dangers of supplements

A new research, published this week in Nature Communications, described an animal study, which improved the understanding and the application of dose-escalation immunotherapy for the treatment of the autoimmune disease Multiple Sclerosis MS.
The researchers studied a mouse model of MS, where more than 90% of a subset of immune cells (called CD4+ T cells) recognised basic protein, found in the myelin sheath that surrounded the nerve cells. This caused the immune system to attack the myelin sheath an damage it, causing the nerve signals to slow down or stop. Previous studies in mice have shown that a tolerance could be achieved by repeatedly exposing mice with autoimmune disorders to fragments of the components that the immune system is attacking and destroying. The immune cells that were attacking the healthy tissue converted into regulatory cells that actually dampened the immune response.
This process of immunotherapy is similar to the process that has been used to treat allergies.
The researchers initially determined the maximum dose of peptide that could be tolerated, then they increased the dose of peptide and compared the results with those in giving an equal doses of peptide multiple days. Finally, they looked at the genes in CD4+ T cells which have been expressed or repressed during the dose-escalation.
The researchers found that dose escalation was critical for effective immunotherapy and each escalating dose of peptide treatment modified the genes that were expressed. Genes that were associated with an inflammatory response were repressed and genes that were associated with regulatory processes were induced.

Another new study, published in PLOS, used the information collected from 4,116 children, aged 9-10 and found that children who did not usually eat breakfast had higher insulin resistance (though still within normal limits). Higher levels insulin resistance indicated a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Compared to children who ate breakfast every day, those who did not had 26% higher fasting insulin levels; 26.7% higher insulin resistance; 1.2% higher HbA1c (number of red blood cells attached to glucose, which is a marker of average blood glucose concentration, higher numbers increase the risk of diabetes) 1% higher blood sugar levels
Eating a healthy breakfast rich in fibre had been linked to many health benefits and healthy weight.

Another new study, used the data from a sample of 1,806 men with prostate cancer and 12,005 controls, published in AACR journal. The participants were asked to fill out questionnaires on lifestyle, diet, alcohol intake, medical history etc.
The researchers also looked at the intake of components of the “prostate cancer dietary index”: calcium, selenium and tomato products which they used as an indicator of lycopene intake. To be scored as adherent, men had to eat less than 1,500mg of calcium per day; more than 10 servings of tomato and tomato products per week; eat between 105 and 200µg of selenium per day.
After adjusting for possible confounding factors they found that eating 10 or more servings of tomatoes per week was associated with an 18% reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a nutrient thought to protect against cell damage. This study did not provide enough evidence to change the recommendations for reducing the risk of prostate cancer, but recommended a healthy diet and exercise.

In another study, researchers measured the potassium intake based on food consumption in 90,137 women, (aged 50 to 79) and followed them for an average of 11 years, then correlated the data to ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes and death, published in AHA journal.
Multivariate analyses compared highest to lowest quartile of potassium intake indicated a hazard ratio of 0.90 (10% lower risk) for all-cause mortality, 0.88 for all stroke (12% lower risk), and 0.84 (16% lower risk) for ischemic stroke.
The effect on ischemic stroke was more apparent in women with nonhypertension among whom there was observed a 27% lower risk ( hazard ratio of 0.73).
The authors concluded that high potassium intake was associated with a lower risk of all stroke and ischemic stroke, as well as all-cause mortality in older women, particularly those who were not hypertensive. Those findings suggested that women need to eat more potassium-rich foods. like white and sweet potatoes, bananas and white beans.

And the last article for today, is the study that showed the increasing dangers of liver damage caused by use of supplements, compared to ordinary medications.
The final sample comprised 130 (15.5%) of all subjects enrolled (839) who were judged to have experienced liver injury caused by herbal and dietary supplements.
The research team determined that among cases enrolled, liver injuries from herbal and dietary supplements rose to 20% during the study period. Bodybuilding supplements caused prolonged jaundice in young men, but no fatalities or liver transplantations occurred. Death or liver transplantation was more common in middle aged women and occurred 13% more frequently from non-bodybuilding supplements, than from conventional medications (3%).
The authors wrote that they cannot conclude that liver injury due to herbals and dietary supplements was on the rise in the U.S. The authors wanted to inform the public of potential dangers of using dietary supplements and advise that supplement producers, government agencies, healthcare providers and consumers work together to improve safety.

It looks like we have to be careful with the supplements, start to eat a rich in vegetables and fruits diet and never omit the breakfast. I just hope that it will contain enough necessary minerals& vitamins!
From the other site, another more general thought comes to mind, that if we increase gradually the dose of unfair, irritating, distressing stuff in life may be we could get tolerant to it or even be cured from it for ever! But let’s first ask the friendly doctor how to make it gradually and what is the maximum dose that could be tolerated!



The life expectancy and mortality when living at higher altitude above 1500 meters were discussed in a new review, published in the last edition of
Aging Dis. Aug 2014; 5(4): 274–280, by Austrian scientists.
The researchers found that the altitude climate may contribute to the lowering of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular overall mortality, but with disease in progressed phase, living at high altitude may become detrimental.
It has been known from other studies that low barometric pressure, partial pressure of oxygen (hypoxia) and increased ultra violet radiation as components of the high altitude climate probably interacted in a complex way with genes and other environmental factors by unknown mechanisms. The high altitude often showed protective effects on cardiovascular diseases, beneficial effects on mortality from some types of cancer and harmful effects on chronic pulmonary disease. The coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction are uncommon among residents living in Andes. Mortality in New Mexico was 72% at the highest locations compared to the group below 1220 m, predominantly in males. Other study had confirmed the negative relationship between altitude and mortality in the highest 99 out of 100 largest cities of the United States up to an altitude of 1650 m. Studies from Switzerland showed that the mortality rates (after adjustment) decreased for coronary heart disease by 22% and that for stroke by 12% per 1000 m increase of altitude. In this new study the reduction of mortality from coronary heart disease, but not from stroke, was more consistent in women than in men.
There are very few results in the cited literature, showing increasing overall mortality from altitudes between 1500 to 2900m and more than 3000m, eventually due to the differences in ethnicity, behavioural aspects, or medical care.
The authors proposed also possible explanations: Studies consistently showed a linear dose-response relation between the fitness level and mortality. Because physical activity and fitness are increased at higher altitudes this might well explain part of the lower mortality observed. In contrast, when diseases progress, cardiorespiratory systems may be rapidly overstrained even during light physical activities, thereby increasing the mortality risk.
The effect of moderate hypoxia stimulus at altitudes up to 2500 m was suggested before as a potential contributor to the cardiovascular health. Adaptation effects might partly explain the lower systemic systolic and diastolic blood pressures and lower atherogenic lipoprotein cholesterol (C-LDL) in residents of higher compared to lower regions. Effects of this type of intermittent hypoxia (exercising in conditions of low oxygen) include cardioprotection, vasoprotection, neuroprotection, and antistress defines. It was demonstrated recently in other study that prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, systemic hypertension, diabetes, frequency of mental stress and occurrence of memory deficits declined in regular downhill skiing with increasing yearly skiing frequency in Alps region. There were published results, cited by the authors, showing that the risk of sudden cardiac death decreased steeply after sleeping only one night at higher than 700 m elevations!
Decreasing air pollution with increasing altitude might represent another potentially contributing factor to the reduction of mortality from Coronary heart D. Levels of ultraviolet radiation increased by about 10% with every 300 m increase in altitude and might also profoundly influence cardiovascular mortality. Protective effects of ultraviolet radiation were mediated by the higher concentrations of Vitamin D.
The all available data, concluded the authors, indicated that residency at higher altitudes was associated with lower mortality from cardiovascular diseases, stroke and certain types of cancer. In contrast mortality from obstructive pulmonary COPD and probably also from lower respiratory tract infections was rather elevated. The authors proposed that whereas living at higher elevations may frequently protect from development of diseases, it could adversely affect mortality when diseases progress.

What a pleasure, my friends, regular downhill skiing every winter and when one day man is too old for skiing (and too scared from sudden death), then going to sleep just for a night at higher altitudes could save him again!!! Welcome longevity!!!

Another study on 42,807 athletes, analysed the mortality in elite athletes, article published in
Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Aug 6. pii: S0025-6196(14)00519-9.
The researchers found that elite athletes live longer than the general population and have a lower risk of major causes of mortality, namely, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Standard all cause mortality ratio from this study was 0.67, mortality ratio from cardiovascular disease was 0.73 and from cancer was 0,60.
Authors’ CONCLUSION: The evidence available indicated that top-level athletes lived longer than the general population.

In another new study, published in journal
Circulation, 2014 Aug 14; pii: CIRCULATIONAHA.114.011590,
the researchers investigated the associations of circulating omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-6 PUFA), including linoleic acid(LA), gamma-linoleic acid(GLA), dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid(DGLA), and arachidonic acid(AA), with total and cause-specific mortality in a new cardiovascular health study with 2,792 participants (age>/=65y), participants free from cardiovascular diseases. While omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-6 PUFA) have been recommended to reduce coronary heart disease, controversy remains about benefits vs. harms of pro-inflammatory effects of n-6 PUFA.
During the follow-up (1992-2010), higher linoleic acid LA was associated with lower total mortality, whereas circulating GLA, DGLA, and AA were not significantly associated with total or cause-specific mortality. Evaluating both n-6 and n-3 PUFA, lowest risk was evident with highest levels of both. The authors concluded that high circulating linoleic acid LA, but not other n-6 PUFA, was inversely associated with total and coronary heart disease mortality in older adults.

And now after the good news, guys, the bad news:

A new study, published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, an update for 2014 on the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and in particular coronary heart disease and stroke, across the countries of Europe, was published in
Eur Heart J. 2014 Aug 19. pii: ehu299.
Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths among Europeans than any other condition, and in many countries still causes more than twice as many deaths as cancer. The differing recent trends in diminishing cardio vascular mortality have therefore led to increasing inequalities in the burden of cardiovascular diseases between countries, especially for some Eastern European countries, including Russia and Ukraine, where the mortality rate for coronary heart disease for 55-60 year olds is greater than that in France for people 20 years older. The analyses show that cancer is already causing more deaths than cardiovascular disease in men in ten countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and San Marino. In Denmark cancer deaths have overtaken cardiovascular disease in women.

Another large European cohort study followed for 12.6 years, 380 395 healthy at enrolment men and women, in order to investigate the association between alcohol and mortality, published in
BMJ Open. 2014 Jul 3;4(7):e005245. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005245, entitled
“Lifetime alcohol use and overall and cause-specific mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition study”.
Lifetime alcohol use was assessed at recruitment. The rates HR comparing extreme drinkers (more than 30 g/day in women 60 g/day in men) to moderate drinkers (0.1-4.9 g/day) were 1.27 in women and 1.53 in men. Strong associations were observed for alcohol-related cancers mortality, in men particularly, and for violent deaths and injuries, in men only. No associations were observed for cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease mortality among drinkers. Overall mortality seemed to be more strongly related to beer than wine use, particularly in men. The 10-year risks of overall death for women aged 60 years, drinking more than 30 g/day was 5% and 7%, (for nonsmokers or smokers, resp.), whether in men consuming more than 60 g/day, risks were 11% and 18%, depending if smokers.
Authors’ CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol is an important determinant of total mortality.
Alcohol use was positively associated with overall mortality, alcohol-related cancers and violent death and injuries, but marginally to cardiovascular diseases/coronary heart disease mortality.

We have much work to do, friends, especially in some countries in Eastern Europe in order to increase the average life expectancy in Europe!
Fortunately, as I said a year ago (on the SENS conference 2013), we are going to invent very soon an easy way to extend radically our lifespan! Then we could endlessly drink, smoke and misbehave, if we like it, leaving the exercise, sport and healthy habits, (and skiing downhill in the beautiful Alps) to the professionals…
Don’t you loose hope, guys, the SENS Conference 2014 Started, follow on the web the new exciting discoveries in rejuvenation and radical life extension!!!


Economic, environmental and political factors on life expectancy

A recent study estimated the dependance between risk of death and unemployment of the individuals and the economic conditions surrounding them, published on Am. J. Epidemiol. (2014) 180 (3):280-287, doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu12
By using data from the US survey of 1979-1997 and proportional hazards (Cox) regression, the authors found that compared with the employed, for the unemployed individuals, the hazard of death was increased by an amount equivalent to 10 extra years of age, and for each percentage-point increase in the state unemployment rate, the mortality hazard in all individuals reduced equivalent to a reduction of 1 year of age. These results provided evidence of two contradictory on first site conclusions: joblessness strongly and significantly raised the risk of death among those suffering it, and periods of higher unemployment rates, weakening economy, recessions, were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death, a benefit among the entire population. The compound result of both effects was that total mortality rised in expansions and fell in recessions, according to the authors. The study did not cover the potential causes for these phenomena, supposing that an individual joblessness was related to stress and depression.

In the same time, anther recent study suggested that individuals who are under a high level of pressure at work have about 45 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes,
published in Psychosomatic Medicine, Findings From the MONICA/KORA Augsburg Cohort Study, doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000084

Simply said, the unemployed individuals, being under stress, developed depression and lived 10 years less, in the same time, the employed, being also under stress could develop type 2 diabetes and eventually live also a few years less. It looked like a hopeless closed circle to me, until I read another recent article, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

This large-scale study involving over 180,000 people had shown that patients treated with the widely prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes, metformin, had a small but statistically significant improvement in survival compared with the cohort of non-diabetics. Metformin has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease benefits. Metformin is widely prescribed diabetic drug with beneficial effects not only on patients with diabetes but also for people without, and interestingly, people with the autoimmune type 1 diabetes.

Knowing this, my friends, don’t hesitate, don’t be scared of a stressful job, you could be lucky enough to develop diabetes, then be treated with metformin and thanks to it be able to live longer, (with the benefits of receiving a salary).

A recent public health study found that the quantity and quality of urban green spaces are positively related to life expectancy LE and healthy life expectancy HLE, published in J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci(2014)doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu120
The results showed that an increase of 1 SD in the percentage of urban green space was associated with a 0.1-year higher LE, and, in the case of quality of green, with an approximately 0.3-year higher LE and HLE. The average distance to the nearest public green was unrelated to population health. This result concurred with a growing body of evidence that urban green reduced stress, stimulated physical activity, improved the microclimate and reduced ambient air pollution.

But in another recent study over the association between the
access to greenspace and longer life expectancy, which considered the mediating effect of the recreational walking, published in Soc Sci Med. 2014 Apr;107:9-17 the authors found that whilst the relationship between greenspace access and walking was observed for all areas, the relationship between greenspace access and reduced mortality was only apparent in the most deprived areas.

In the September edition of the journal Epidemiology: September 2014, Volume 25, Issue 5, p 776-777, the authors discussed the influence of air pollution on life expectancy and corrected the results of a previous study from Epidemiology. 2013; 24:23–31,
that estimated a 20-day gain in life expectancy for a diminished air pollution mesure of fine particulate matter of 1.6 μg/m3, correcting it to 13 days longer life expectancies at age 65. The authors thought that when using life expectancies at age 65 years, the effects estimates would have decreased accordingly and the effects of other pollutant reductions, smoking and improved medical care could also be taken under consideration .

And in the last article for today on factors on life expectancy, the author compared the inequities in health outcomes in different parts of the developed world , published in J Infect Public Health. 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2014.03.006.
An Health index comprising mortality and morbidity factors was composed for American states and European nations, its value based on life expectancy at birth and morbidity, the last determined by rates of cardiac disease and cancer. The last quartile values were clustered in the American South and Appalachian areas. European states ranking in the bottom quartile were typically from Eastern Europe and showed a history of a Communism and recognized governmental corruption, wrote the author. According to the author, the American poor health rankings were the result of controllable factors (smoking, adult onset diabetes, obesity) and the Americans could improve their bottom quartile status more readily than Europeans whose ranking status was a function of history (Communism, civil conflicts) and poverty (Southeastern and Eastern nations).

I certainly hope, my Eastern friends, that his conclusion was a pessimistic and exaggerated one, that Eastern nations soon could bridge the gap in health and life expectancy in site of “a history of a Communism and recognized governmental corruption”!


Seven Seconds Away, Longevity, Fruits, Probiotics, Training

In a recent study the investigators looked at the dose-response relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of death, published online open access article on 29 July in BMJ.
This systematic review found higher daily consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause, with an average reduction in risk of 5% for each additional serving per day. The researchers systematically searched databases of published literature to identify prospective cohort studies, including Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library. Sixteen prospective cohort studies including 833,234 people with followed-up from 4.6 years to 26 years were examined. Greater fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 4% for each extra serving per day but higher consumption was not appreciably associated with death from cancer.
There was a threshold observed at around 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, after which the risk of death did not reduce further.

I have never known a few handfuls of berries I like at every possible occasion, are just waist of space, time and money. Just 5 blackberries were enough to live longer!

In this connection, another article found that consuming probiotics may improve blood pressure by a modest degree, published in Hypertension journal.
The investigators searched different database (PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and databases to identify eligible articles. Nine trials with various probiotics were included, mostly strains of Lactobacillus consumed as yogurt, cheese, fermented soy products etc. Probiotic consumption significantly changed systolic blood pressure by −3.56 mm Hg and diastolic BP by −2,38 compared with control groups. A greater reduction was found when multiple species of probiotics were consumed, when baseline blood pressure was elevated ( ≥130/85 mm Hg), the duration of intervention was mote than 8 weeks, and daily consumption dose was also elevated (≥1011 colony-forming units).

An improvement in blood pressure was also found in a small group of people aged over 60 after doing high intensity exercise training (HIT) for six weeks, the article was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Each high intensity training session consisted of a few cycling efforts, ranging from six 6-second sprints to ten 6-second sprints gradually, occurring two times weekly over six weeks. The significant improvements in the high intensity training group compared with the control group included a 9% reduction in blood pressure, 8% greater aerobic fitness (maximum oxygen uptake test), in mobility etc.
The authors concluded their results “strongly suggest that performing two minutes of exercise per week for six weeks may be an effective strategy for counteracting age-related functional decline, reducing cardiovascular disease risk and promoting further engagement in physical activity within the elderly population.”

6 seconds sprint, 2 minutes exercise, wau, what a saving of precious time!

Another new study changed the 2 min intensive cycling twice weekly, into 7 minutes daily.

Oh no, please, too much effort for me!!!

The last article studied the effects of running on the risk of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease during a follow-up of 15 years, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The researchers collected questionnaires from 55,137 participants about their last months physical activity. Compared with non-runners, runners had 30% lower risk of any cause death and 45% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The study showed that running for 51 minutes weekly (or over seven minutes daily) was sufficient to reduce the risk of mortality. The researchers calculated that running increased the life expectancy by three years.

You know what I am thinking now, my friends? What if we start working in the office every day just for 2-7 minutes, no longer than the suggested time for working out? What are we going to do with all that time after we finish eating our 5 green bones or peas? I am sure the immortality and longevity will be waiting for us 7 seconds away…