Monday, March 24, 2014

Glucocorticoids: Why You Should Avoid This Popular Pet Drug

Glucocorticoids: Why You Should Avoid This Popular Pet Drug

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Link between father’s age and schizophrenia discovered REDISCOVERED!

March 22, 2014, 8:04 pm

Children born to older fathers have a higher than normal risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, Swedish scientists said on Friday.

They suspect that accumulating mutations in the sperm of older men add to the risk of their children suffering from the psychotic disorder.

"There is an association between paternal age and the risk of schizophrenia in the offspring," Professor Finn Rasmussen, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, told.

Other researchers have suggested such a link before but Rasmussen said his study of 700,000 people in Sweden is the largest and most significant.

"On a population level this is important because of the increasing paternal age of the population," he added.

Career demands and other factors have resulted in couples postponing having children. In England and Wales the average paternal age has increased from 29.2 in 1980 to 32.1 in 2002.

Rasmussen and his team, who reported their research in the British Medical Journal, estimated that the three-year age increase in the last 20 years could result in 12-15 percent more cases of schizophrenia.

The causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Scientists believe it affects chemicals in the brain and that there is a biological link which can predispose a person to the disease.

It affects about 24 million people worldwide, mostly between ages 15 to 35. Although it is a treatable illness, more than 50 percent of sufferers do not receive appropriate care, according to the World Health Organization.

Schizophrenia usually begins in the late teens and early 20s and is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices and changes in behavior.

In their study of people born between 1973 and 1980, Rasmussen and his colleagues analyzed hospital admissions for schizophrenia and other disorders between 1989 and 2001. They calculated that, overall, 15.5 percent of schizophrenia cases in the study group may have been due to the patient having a father who was over 30 years at the birth.

The risk increases with age, so a child born to a man of 50 could have a higher risk than one whose father was 30. "The occurrence of mutation in sperm increases with age," Rasmussen added.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Children of older men have greater risk of mental illness

03 March 2014
Appeared in BioNews 744
Children born to fathers who are 45 years old or older are more likely to develop serious mental illness than children born to fathers in their early twenties, a large-scale study comparing siblings suggests.
The researchers posit accumulation of genetic mutation in older men's sperm as a possible reason for the increased risk, which is greater than that suggested by previous studies. Children born to older fathers were 25 times more likely to develop bipolar disorder, for example.
Dr Brian D'Onofrio, the study's first author, from Indiana University, USA, said: 'The findings in this study are more informative than many previous studies'. The research was performed in collaboration with two Swedish research centres. It drew on the medical records of more than 2.6 million people (about 90 percent of the population) born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001, to more than 1.4 million fathers.
'First, we had the largest sample size for a study on paternal age. Second, we predicted numerous psychiatric and academic problems that are associated with significant impairment. Finally, we were able to estimate the association between paternal age at childbearing and these problems', said Dr D'Onofrio.
The researchers could 'control for many factors that other studies could not', he added.
Compared across all the people in the study, paternal age made little difference to mental health. But when the researchers compared the health of siblings born several years apart, clearer findings emerged. Bipolar disorder showed the strongest association with advancing paternal age, followed by ADHD, autism and psychotic disorders. Children born to older men also had lower scores at school and completed fewer levels of education overall, but these trends were less pronounced.
The researchers suggest the increased incidence of psychiatric problems is due to a higher rate of novel mutations in sperm cells of older fathers. Unlike women, who are born with all their egg cells, men produce sperm throughout their lives. In older men, the sperm-producing mechanism may work less well than in young men, leading to more genetic changes in the resulting sperm, some of which may cause problems.
Opinions of other experts, not involved in the study, vary. Speaking to The Guardian, Professor Jennifer Roff, of the City University of New York, said she was unconvinced by the link to mutations in sperm. 'I'm not saying that there is no possible genetic role for paternal age', she said, 'I simply think that this could be confounded with other environmental factors like birth order'.
But Professor Patrick Sullivan, at the University of North Carolina, commented positively on the research. He told The New York Times: 'This is the best paper I’ve seen on this topic, and it suggests several lines of inquiry into mental illness. But the last thing people should do is read this and say, "Oh no, I had a kid at 43, the kid’s doomed". The vast majority of kids born to older dads will be just fine'.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

BBC News | 27 February 2014

The Guardian | 26 February 2014

EurekAlert! (press release) | 26 February 2014

New York Times | 26 February 2014

JAMA Psychiatry | 26 February 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Benefits of Curcumin in Cancer Treatment

March 02, 2014 | 241,319 views

Click HERE to watch the full version.
By Dr. Mercola
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death. What if there was a safe, natural herb that could work for nearly every type of cancer?  
According to Dr. William LaValley, who focuses most of his clinical work on the treatment of cancer, curcumin—a derivative of turmeric, and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color—may fit the bill. It's a natural compound that has been extensively researched, and has been found to have numerous health applications.
Like me, Dr. LaValley was trained in general medicine, but he's devoted a considerable amount of time to understanding the biochemical pathways that can support health nutritionally.
In 1982, he participated in an exchange program to the People's Republic of China, where he got first-hand experience with the ancient practices of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
"One of the important messages that I learned there was that natural products, natural molecules, from plants and animals that are already available in nature, have been used by the Chinese for at least hundreds, probably thousands of years. That deeply changed my perspective in the world of medicine," he says.
"I came back to medical school, and thereafter, looked at how I could integrate the perspective of conventional pharmaceutical administration as well as natural extract, natural product administration."
Curcumin Has Potent Anti-Cancer Activity
In 2005, he took a 75 percent sabbatical from clinical practice to immerse himself in the science of molecular biology, specifically the molecular biology of cancer. He also devoted approximately 9,000-9,500 hours building a relational database from the PubMed literature about the molecular biology of cancer.
One important lesson he learned through that venture is that the understanding of molecular biology can be applied across a range of diseases and symptoms described in the scientific literature. That knowledge can be applied by searching PubMed and other related databases, looking at the relevant molecular pathways involved.
"In learning the molecular biology of cancer pathways, and in learning that what the evidence actually shows for the effect of natural product extracts on various relevant molecular targets in various cancers,

We see that there's actually quite a large amount of evidence that supports using various molecules, natural products, and pharmaceuticals that are already approved and that have been around for a long time to affect anti-cancer activity along that pathway at that target. That's called molecularly targeted anti-cancer treatment, and it's widely practiced in oncology today.
What's not widely practiced is the use of the natural products for the molecularly targeted anti-cancer activity. I provide that for my patients because the evidence base suggests and supports the use of these treatment recommendations."
Curcumin—A 'Universal' Cancer Treatment?
Interestingly, curcumin appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer, which is really odd since cancer consists of a wide variety of different molecular pathologies. You wouldn't necessarily suspect that there would be one herb that would work for most of them. Dr. LaValley explains how he came to this conclusion:
"I went back to the literature and looked at how I can support the decision-making process and the recommendations that I'm making for treatment from the scientific literature, including literature that goes from the treatment of humans with oral products like pharmaceuticals or natural products.
This is where I learned about this molecule called curcumin, all the way down to its use in animals and then its use in test tubes or petri dish... One of the amazing things about curcumin is that this molecule has some profound anti-inflammatory activity and has activity in many molecular targets.
There are molecules that are in the cells, and those molecules interact with each other along certain pathways or tracks. The traffic of that interaction, the signals that are transferred in that trafficking of information in the molecules, presents many different targets or molecular-specific complexes."
As explained by Dr. LaValley, whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in traffic or activity of a particular molecular target, or a decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity. Furthermore, curcumin does not adversely affect healthy cells, suggesting it selectively targets cancer cells. Research has also shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.
Curcumin Destroys Cancer in Multiple Ways
Curcumin has the most evidence-based literature1 supporting its use against cancer of any nutrient, including vitamin D, which also has a robust base. Interestingly, this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous.
Curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression—both by destroying cancer cells and by promoting healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, meaning it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth. As for its effect on molecular pathways, curcumin can affect more than 100 of them, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:
Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
Decrease inflammation
Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)
Why Whole Turmeric Is Ineffective
Unfortunately, while there's some curcumin in whole turmeric, there's not enough in the regular spice to achieve clinically relevant results. The turmeric root itself contains only about three percent curcumin concentration. Another major limitation of curcumin as a therapeutic agent is that it is poorly absorbed. When taken in its raw form, you're only absorbing about one percent of the available curcumin.
"The natural product industry has developed a standard of a 95-percent concentration of curcumin," Dr. LaValleyexplains. "Initially, years ago, that was what we had available for patients. Even at that, taking a 95-percent concentration orally in a capsule, only one percent of that could be absorbed. In order to get amounts of curcumin in the bloodstream that are reasonable to have therapeutic effect, people had to take large amounts of curcumin...
In searching the literature, I found that a way to change that, to dramatically increase the bioavailability, is actually a very simple process of bringing water to a boil, putting those capsules or some dry powder (I use it by the teaspoon), and boiling it for 10 to 12 minutes. That increases the amount of curcumin dissolved in water from that one-percent amount up to 12 percent or so. That amount is a vast number of curcumin molecules that are now in a bioavailable or absorbable form."
However, while this is certainly doable, it's really inconvenient, and great care must be taken to prevent staining your clothes and kitchen surfaces. It's a significant enough problem to have been dubbed "yellow kitchen syndrome," as it's virtually impossible to get the stains out. Turmeric is in fact an excellent dyeing agent for fabrics, rendering them a yellow-orange color.
Convenience and efficiency has driven many of the changes in the forms of curcumin in later years. Because it's a fat-loving or lipophilic molecule, many newer preparations now include some sort of oil or fat, which improves its absorbability and bioavailability. Such preparations typically have seven to eight times higher absorption than the raw, unprocessed 95-percent-concentration of dry powder. There are also newer sustained release preparations, which Dr. LaValley prefers and recommends.
The Connection Between Cancer and Insulin Resistance
If you are overweight, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or diabetes, then in all likelihood insulin and leptin resistance is a factor. Insulin and leptin resistance is also a very common factor among cancer patients. From my perspective, a ketogenic diet (with or without intermittent fasting) would be a prudent treatment strategy to resolve that underlying problem. Once you've normalized your insulin and leptin, you don't necessarily need to maintain a ketogenic diet, if you find it too restrictive.
"I agree with you that a ketogenic diet is really appropriate in many cases, probably the significant majority of cases," Dr. LaValley says. "It's been known for probably 80 years or longer that solid tumors, and some of the blood cancers, are sugar-loving. Another term is that they are addicted to sugar.
I use [a] PET scan to demonstrate to patients that here is objective proof that the tumors you have in your body are sugar-avid. They're taking up sugar at a rate much higher than the other regular healthy cells. I want to drive home that message, so that they are motivated to alter their diet to have a low, low carb intake, causing their body to generate additional nutrient supply molecules called ketones...
What that means is that we're trying to provide an anti-cancer antagonistic pressure on the cancer cells by reducing the amount of sugar that's readily available for uptake by reducing the easily available sugar in the diet and compensating for the nutrient reduction and sugar [reduction] by increasing healthy fats."
Cutting Down on Protein May Be Particularly Useful for Cancer Patients
It would also be prudent to assess your protein intake. Many Americans eat far more protein than required for optimal health. The reason for this is because your body can actually use excess protein (you do need some) to stimulate carbohydrate production. Excess protein also stimulates the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways, which are useful for building muscles but can be detrimental when treating cancer, as mTOR is a pathway that increases cellular proliferation. (Interestingly, the pharmaceutical drug Metformin, which has anti-cancer activity, also inhibits mTOR, and it turns out that curcumin has a very similar effect.)
The formula I recommend for assessing how much protein you might need in your diet is from Dr. Rosedale, which calls for one gram of high-quality protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or about half a gram per pound of lean body mass.
As an example, if your body fat mass is 20 percent, your lean mass is 80 percent of your total body weight. So, if your total weight is 200 pounds; you would then divide 160 by 2.2 to convert pounds to kilograms and come up with 72.7 grams of protein. If you are doing vigorous exercises or are pregnant, you can add up to another 25 percent or another 18 grams in this illustration to increase your total to 90 grams per day.
More Information
Dr. LaValley is available for consultation on a wide variety of health challenges, including cancer, and he's licensed to practice medicine in the US and Canada. His medical clinic is located in Chester, Nova Scotia, where he sees patients. Americans can fly there either through Chicago or Newark. His office number is 902-275-4555. He also spends time in Austin, Texas, where he conducts research. When there, he's available to consult for other physicians and their patients.
"For instance, if a patient has pancreatic cancer and the physician wants to implement one of the protocols that I provide, I will do a consultation with that physician's patient and then make recommendations to that physician for implementation,"  he explains. "In that way, patients are able to get it locally without having to travel to Nova Scotia...
It's a challenge right now because there's so much information that's not readily known by so many physicians that they become afraid. I think one of the biggest issues, certainly in US and Canada, is that when a physician wants to administer one of these natural products, or several of them, as well as some of the off-label pharmaceuticals for their anti-cancer usage, they are afraid of recriminations or disciplinary actions.

That is, I think, very unfortunate, because the evidence base does exist for it, and it's consistent with the way that other types of conventional medicine or practice using off-label pharmaceuticals as well. I think that the most important movement that needs to occur is for the patients to recognize their own value in the decision-making process and demand that they have access to these therapeutic choices because they're available, they're supported in the evidence base, and they have the right to ask for them rather than to just accept whatever the physician is otherwise offering in the conventional realm."

Saturday, March 01, 2014

His Holiness the Dalai Lama - Nobel Peace Prize Forum 2014