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Past News Items - Dec 2015


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In the News

Transcendental Meditation and Lifestyle Modification Increase Telomerase

Can Iron Affect the Neonatal Brain?

Incredible Advances in Anti-Aging Medicine

Coffee Could Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The Perks of Purpose

Possible Impact of Dietary Supplements on the Brain

Favorable Objective Response Rates and Overall Survival in Adults with Anaplastic Astrocytoma

Reduce Post-Workout Muscle Soreness and Speed Recovery

Mitochondria Affect Stress Responses




Released: 12/21/15


Transcendental Meditation and Lifestyle Modification Increase Telomerase

A new study published in PLOS ONE found that the Transcendental Meditation technique and lifestyle changes both appear to stimulate genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme that's associated with reduced blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.

Specifically, these approaches were found to activate two genes that code for telomerase, which adds molecules to the ends of chromosomes, or telomeres, protecting them from deteriorating.

May explain mechanism for known health benefits

"The finding that telomerase gene expression is increased, and that this is associated with a reduction in blood pressure in a high-risk population, suggests that this may be a mechanism by which stress reduction improves cardiovascular health," said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, coauthor of the study.

Earlier research on the Transcendental Meditation technique found lower rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and death, as well as slowing of biological aging. The new study examined what was happening at the level of DNA, showing that the Transcendental Meditation technique increases telomerase gene expression and suggesting that this may contribute to the cardiovascular and aging benefits.

Both groups show improvement after 16 weeks

For this pilot trial, the subjects included 48 men and women with high blood pressure who were recruited and studied at Howard University Medical Center. Half were assigned to a group that learned the Transcendental Meditation technique and received a basic health education course. The other half were assigned to a group that focused on achieving significant lifestyle modifications such as weight reduction, reducing salt intake, engaging in regular physical activity, and moderating alcohol. They also participated in support groups and group exercises.

After 16 weeks, both groups showed significant increases in telomerase gene expression and reductions in blood pressure. There was no significant difference between the changes in the two groups. The results also showed that the lifestyle modification group made a larger number of changes in their lifestyle behaviors.

"These findings are very encouraging for prevention," said Dr. Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at MUM. "They show that both the Transcendental Meditation technique and active lifestyle modification can contribute to heart health."

Coauthor Otelio Randall, MD at Howard University College of Medicine concluded, "This pilot study in African Americans suggests stress reduction and lifestyle modifications may reduce blood pressure with an increase in telomerase."

Encouraging findings for heart health

"The result is valuable new information, relevant both to cardiovascular disease and to the molecular mechanisms involved in Transcendental Meditation," said John Fagan, professor of molecular biology at Maharishi University of Management and senior author on the study.

Released: 12/21/15


Can Iron Affect the Neonatal Brain?

In the first study of its kind, researchers have shown that inadequate maternal iron intake during pregnancy exerts subtle effects on infant brain development. Their findings have been published online by Pediatric Research.

The research—led by principal investigators Bradley S. Peterson, MD, director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Catherine Monk, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center—indicates the potential significance for the child of even modest changes in maternal dietary health.

Dietary iron is required for normal growth and development, and for optimal brain growth in utero. But 35 to 58 percent of healthy women have some degree of iron deficiency, especially in pregnancy. Worldwide, nearly half of pregnant women are anemic, and this severe maternal iron deficiency can have adverse consequences for the developing fetus.

Past animal studies have shown that prenatal brain iron deficiency leads to impaired functioning of the hippocampus, adversely affecting learning and memory, and with delayed maturation of white matter in the brain. Consistent with these findings, it has been shown that newborns with a low iron profile lagged in general motor and neurocognitive development.

In this study, the researchers looked at the organization of newborn brain tissue using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique. The DTI images—taken at an average of 20 days after birth—were used to associate maternal iron intake during pregnancy to differences in cortical gray matter and, to a lesser extent, in major axonal pathways within the underlying white matter of the brain.

The scientists found that maternal iron intake correlated inversely with fractional anisotropy (FA)—a unit of measurement in DTI that is a useful measurement of tissue organization in the brain—at locations scattered throughout the gray matter of the brain. This suggests that higher dietary iron intake is associated with greater complexity and therefore greater maturity of cortical gray matter and, conversely, that lower dietary iron is associated with lesser complexity and more immaturity of the developing gray matter shortly after birth.

“These findings are consistent with our expectations,” said Peterson, who is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “Neurons become increasingly more complex in their extensions and connections as the brain matures, and the maturational delays reported previously in animal models and human behavioral studies of iron deficiency would predict that lower iron intake would produce neurons in cortical gray matter that are structurally less complex and more immature. That is what our DTI findings suggest is the case.”

These correlations were detected in the newborn infants of a sample of 40 healthy adolescent mothers who were adhering to prenatal care and across a range of iron intake. Despite their prenatal care, 14 percent still met clinical criteria for mild anemia, underscoring the health risks in adolescent mothers and their newborn children.

Peterson says that the technical nature of MRI brain assessments limited the number of adolescent women and their infants who could be studied, the findings bear further investigation. “Our imaging findings add brain-based assessments to the growing evidence that common inadequacies in maternal nutrition influence a child’s development, even before birth.”

Additional contributors to the study include Michael K. Georgieff, University of Minnesota Medical School; Dongrong Xu and Xuejun Hao, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Ravi Bansal, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California; and Hanna Gustafsson and Julie Spicer, Columbia University Medical Center.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health grant #MH093677.

Released: 12/21/15


Incredible Advances in Anti-Aging Medicine

Anti-aging seems to have risen in relevance in recent years. It seems that whether you’re browsing beauty products, supplements, or even cookbooks, you’re going to see something labeled “anti-aging.”

The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine held the world's largest Anti-Aging Conference this December 2015 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 23rd Annual Conference earned the designation as the largest longevity, anti-aging medical conference to occur in history, with participation by over 5100 medical specialists and attendees and more than 450 exhibition booths from over 60 nations.

A now $380 billion industry, anti-aging medicine continues to be championed by the A4M as it continues in a period of explosive growth. The anti-aging industry is now projected by economic experts to exceed $1 trillion before 2025. At this pace, anti-aging medical therapies are expected to soon displace disease-based healthcare, which has been the focus of contemporary Western medicine.

When asked about the impact of anti-aging sciences on communities across the globe, globally recognized anti-aging guru and physician founder of this anti-aging revolution and healthcare specialty, Dr. Ron Klatz, MD, DO stated, "The A4M is excited to see our decades of research resulting in incredible achievements. We are pleased to announce that varying communities spanning the globe are now achieving average life expectancies of 91.5 years versus the standard 68 year life expectancy for those only receiving standard care."  He continued, "This 23.5 year difference is so substantial that I have coined it 'the anti-aging dividend'."

 

Dr. Klatz discussed the current challenges related to environmental toxicity. He stated, "Scientists are repeatedly reporting astounding amounts of heavy metals and micro/nano- particulates in the air we breathe, as well as unbelievable levels of toxins including prescription drugs, hormones, and fracking wastes in the drinking water of over 50 percent of American cities."   He went on to further explain "additionally, the rising level of electromagnetic (RF) smog from 'smart' meters, cell phones, and WiFi microwave radiation is fueling the epidemic. These seemingly unavoidable toxins are fueling exponentially multiplying numbers of patients suffering from brain fog, tinnitus, insomnia, and brain cancers. In light of this, the A4M believes physicians and their patients seeking longevity must now address environmental toxicity, as there will be no anti-aging without detoxification."

Released: 12/21/15


Coffee Could Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Much to coffee lovers' delight, drinking three to four cups of coffee per day has been shown to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

Scientists report in ACS' Journal of Natural Products that they have identified two compounds that contribute to this health benefit. Researchers say that this knowledge could someday help them develop new medications to better prevent and treat the disease.

Patients with type 2 diabetes become resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps turn glucose from food into energy. To overcome this resistance, the pancreas makes more insulin, but eventually, it just can't make enough. High blood glucose levels can cause health problems, such as blindness and nerve damage. Several genetic and lifestyle risk factors have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but drinking coffee has been shown to help prevent its onset. Caffeine was thought to be responsible, but studies have shown it has only a short-term effect on glucose and insulin, and decaffeinated coffee has the same effect as the regular version of the drink. To investigate which of coffee's many bioactive components are responsible for diabetes prevention, Søren Gregersen and colleagues tested the effects of different coffee substances in rat cell lines.

The researchers investigated different coffee compounds' effects on cells in the lab. Cafestol and caffeic acid both increased insulin secretion when glucose was added. The team also found that cafestol increased glucose uptake in muscle cells, matching the levels of a currently prescribed antidiabetic drug. They say cafestol's dual benefits make it a good candidate for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, because coffee filters eliminate much of the cafestol in drip coffee, it is likely that other compounds also contribute to these health benefits.

Released: 12/21/15


The Perks of Purpose

People who have a higher sense of purpose in life are at lower risk of death and cardiovascular disease, according to a pooled data analysis in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

"Possessing a high sense of purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk for mortality and cardiovascular events," according to the study by Doctors Randy Cohen and Alan Rozanski and colleagues at Mt. Sinai St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, New York. While the mechanisms behind the association remain unclear, the findings suggest that approaches to strengthening a sense of purpose might lead to improved health outcomes.

How Does Purpose in Life Affect Health and Mortality Risks?
Using a technique called meta-analysis, the researchers pooled data from previous studies evaluating the relationship between purpose in life and the risk of death or cardiovascular disease. The analysis included data on more than 136,000 participants from ten studies—mainly from the United States or Japan. The US studies evaluated a sense of purpose or meaning in life, or "usefulness to others." The Japanese studies assessed the concept of ikigai, translated as "a life worth living."

The study participants, average age 67 years, were followed up for an average of seven years. During this time, more than 14,500 participants died from any cause while more than 4,000 suffered cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, etc).

The analysis showed a lower risk of death for participants with a high sense of purpose in life. After adjusting for other factors, mortality was about one-fifth lower for participants reporting a strong sense of purpose, or ikigai.

A high sense of purpose in life was also related to a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Both associations remained significant on analysis of various subgroups, including country, how purpose in life was measured, and whether the studies included participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

There is a well-documented link between "negative psychosocial risk factors" and adverse health outcomes, including heart attack, stroke, and overall mortality. "Conversely, more recent study provides evidence that positive psychosocial factors can promote healthy physiological functioning and greater longevity," according to the authors.

The new analysis assembles high-quality data from studies assessing the relationship between purpose in life and various measures of health and adverse clinical outcomes. The researchers write, "Together, these findings indicate a robust relationship between purpose in life and mortality and/or adverse cardiovascular outcomes."

While further studies are needed to determine how purpose in life might promote health and deter disease, preliminary data suggest a few basic mechanisms. The association might be explained physiologically, such as by buffering of bodily responses to stress; or behaviorally, such as by a healthier lifestyle.

"Of note, having a strong sense of life purpose has long been postulated to be an important dimension of life, providing people with a sense of vitality motivation and resilience," Dr. Rozanski comments. "Nevertheless, the medical implications of living with a high or low sense of life purpose have only recently caught the attention of investigators. The current findings are important because they may open up new potential interventions for helping people to promote their health and sense of well-being."

 

Read the article here

Released: 12/09/15


Possible Impact of Dietary Supplements on the Brain

Can specific dietary supplements slow the deterioration of the brain as a result of aging?

Dr. Lorenza Colzato, researcher at the Institute for Psychological Research at the University of Leiden, will investigate this together with some of her fellow European researchers. For this, the scientists have been awarded a subsidy of just under one million Euros by the Joint Programming Initiative 'A Healthy Diet for A Healthy Life' (JPI HDHL).

The researchers will study various aspects including the effect of the amino acid tryptophan and of a specifically developed multispecies probiotic. They want to verify whether administering these supplements has a positive effect on the social cognition of the elderly—the way they view themselves and others. This has to do with selecting, interpreting, remembering, and using information in order to assess matters and make decisions. Social cognition usually deteriorates with age, and the research team wants to know whether this process can be slowed down.

Healthy Aging

This is the first time that research will be done on the effect of probiotics and tryptophan on social functioning in the elderly. Particularly in this group, a good social cognition is important for maintaining good health and vitality. If the outcomes are positive, supplementation with tryptophan and probiotics may contribute to a healthier aging process.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is one of the twenty amino acids that naturally occur in the human body. Tryptophan plays an important role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is linked to mood, appetite, sleep, and emotion, among other things. Tryptophan can be found in foods such as bananas, milk, chickpeas, and chocolate. Some dietary supplements contain tryptophan.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that can have a positive effect on the health of the host. The probiotic that will be studied is Ecologic® BARRIER by Winclove Probiotics in Amsterdam. It consists of eight different types of bacteria. Previous research by the University of Leiden with this probiotic has shown that it can reduce the sensitivity for depression, which is probably caused by the probiotic stimulating the production of serotonin.

Released: 12/09/15


Favorable Objective Response Rates and Overall Survival in Adults with Anaplastic Astrocytoma

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) announced the publication of “A Phase II Study of Antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 (ANP) in Adult Patients with Primary Brain Tumors – Final Report (Protocol BT-09).” This single arm, two stage, phase II clinical trial, was designed to treat adults with different types of primary brain tumors that were not curable by standard therapy.

14 of 40 patients treated (35%) had an anaplastic glioma (AG), of which 12 (86%) had an anaplastic astrocytoma (AA), a grade 3 tumor with a poor prognosis. In BT-09, the objective response rate in AA patients was 42% while the median progression-free survival was 5.4 months. The median overall survival (OS) for AA patients was 25.4 months with the OS at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years being 83%, 58%, and 50% respectively, which compares favorably with current standard treatment. ANP was well-tolerated with reversible grade 3 and 4 toxicity in 35% of all 40 patients treated.

After a review of BRI’s Investigator Brochure and annual reports, which documented outcomes for all AGs treated with ANP in phase II clinical trials, the FDA, in personal correspondence with BRI, advised an end-of-phase II meeting “for grade 3 AGs, specifically AA, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, and mixed oligoastrocytoma [OR rate of 20% (95% CI: 12, 31)],” indicating that ANP exhibited sufficient clinical activity in these tumors to justify further development.

About Burzynski Research Institute, Inc.

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (OTCBB:BZYR) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing treatment for cancer based on genomic and epigenomic principles. Research and development efforts are focused on basic research and phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, particularly in the treatment of brain tumors and other forms of cancer. 

Released: 12/03/15


Reduce Post-Workout Muscle Soreness and Speed Recovery

Has your workout got you feeling down? Sufferers of achy and fatigued muscles may have a new and unique dietary supplement option to help them recover more quickly.

In a recently published clinical study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition researchers from Texas A&M University® shed light on the benefits of Montmorency Tart Cherry Powder supplementation for exercise recovery. A short-term dose helped to accelerate recovery from muscle soreness, slow strength decline during recovery, and lessen markers of muscle catabolism in resistance trained individuals. 

Led by Dr. Richard Kreider from the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, in College Station, Texas, the research team used a well-established double-blind, placebo-controlled testing method to examine if short-term ingestion of a powdered tart cherry supplement, prior to, and following intense resistance-exercise alleviates muscle soreness and recovery from strength loss.

The study looked at healthy, resistance-trained men and matched them based on relative maximal back squat strength, age, body weight, and fat free mass. The subjects were then assigned, in a double-blind manner, capsules containing 480mg of powdered Montmorency Tart cherries or a placebo.

The study reports those taking the tart cherry supplement reported a significant decrease in post-workout muscle soreness compared to the placebo group. Blood tests also revealed significantly attenuated post-workout markers of protein catabolism, indicating muscle recovery benefits following exercise in the tart cherry supplement group.

The Texas A&M study adds another chapter to the growing body of evidence for describing the beneficial use of Tart Montmorency cherries in post-exercise recovery.

Built upon the health benefits inherent to phytonutrients, CherryPURE® Montmorency Tart Cherry Powder is produced using proprietary processing technology that starts with cherries carefully harvested in the USA and utilizes methods to protect the rich phytonutrient levels of each individual cherry.

For more information about CherryPURE® and Anderson Global Group, LLC’s entire portfolio of quality ingredients, visit www.andersonglobalgroup.com.

Released: 12/03/15


Mitochondria Affect Stress Responses

Just when you thought the “Powerhouse of the Cell” couldn’t possibly do more, new research shows that mitochondria may do even more than what you already knew.

Mitochondria, the tiny structures inside our cells that generate energy, may also play a previously unrecognized role in mind-body interactions. Based on new studies of stress responses, this insight may have broad implications for human psychology and for the biology of psychiatric and neurological diseases.

A pioneering scientist in mitochondrial medicine has led research in animals showing how alterations in mitochondrial function lead to distinct physiological changes in hormonal, metabolic and behavioral systems in response to mild stress.

"Our findings suggest that relatively mild alterations in mitochondrial genes, and hence mitochondrial physiology, have large effects on how mammals respond to stressful changes in their environment," said Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This has profound implications for the hereditary basis of neuropsychiatric diseases and for the role of stress in human health."

Wallace and colleagues published their study ahead of print on November 16 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wallace, who has investigated the genetics of mitochondria and their role in health for over 40 years, has long argued that a traditional biomedical approach focused on anatomy and thus, on the organ exhibiting the most prominent symptoms of a disease, overlooks the key role played by systematic bioenergetics in health. At the core of bioenergetics are the mitochondria, residing in large numbers outside the nucleus of every cell. Mitochondria contain their own DNA, which codes for essential energy genes and which exchanges biological signals with the more familiar DNA housed in the cell nucleus. Those interactions affect physiological networks essential for health.

In this current study, the researchers subjected the mice to a standardized psychological stress: placing them in restraint for a brief period. They then measured the effects of this stressor on the animals' neuroendocrine, inflammatory, metabolic, and gene transcription systems. In humans, all of these systems are involved in behavioral responses to stress and long-term susceptibility to stress-related diseases.

Wallace and colleagues showed that in the mice, relatively mild mutations in mitochondrial genes, located in either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA, produced unique whole-body stress-response signatures, indicated by physiological and gene expression patterns. These differential responses to stress due to mitochondrial variation provide a physiological explanation for a 2012 observation by Wallace's laboratory team. That research, published in Cell, involved mixing two normal but different mtDNAs in a mouse model, thus thwarting the usual strict maternal inheritance of the mitochondrial DNA. Simply mixing those two mtDNAs resulted in hyper-excitable mice with severe learning and memory defects.         

While researchers have long recognized individual differences in response to environmental cues such as stress, identifying the genetic and physiological basis for these individual differences has eluded scientists. Although he emphasizes that much more research remains to be done on the role of mitochondria on human behavior, Wallace postulates that the current study indicates that an important reason for our limited progress in understanding the genetic and biologic basis of psychology is our lack of appreciation for the importance of systematic alterations in energetic metabolism. "The brain, constituting only 2 percent of human body weight, consumes 20 percent of the body's energy," he said. "Hence, mild variations in mitochondrial bioenergetics will have significant effects on the brain."

It is well known that frequently activating stress responses can inflict long-term damage in mammals and humans. Under the framework of mind-body connections, stress researchers refer to allostatic load: the cumulative wear and tear on the body that can result in both psychological disorders and human diseases such as diabetes and age-related cognitive decline.

As Wallace and associates point out, "Scientists have long known that stressful experiences, on their own, do not cause disease; it's our responses to stress that have the potential to culminate in disease." They conclude, "In this emerging paradigm, mitochondria are at the interface of genetic and environmental factors contributing to disease trajectories."

One implication of this new study, said Wallace, is that identifying the altered mitochondrial states associated with neuropsychiatric diseases may help suggest new therapies. These may permit physicians to more effectively ameliorate the effects of environmental stressors on human health. This could make people more resilient in environmental changes, reduce the long-term burden of stress-related diseases and produce more effective therapies for psychiatric disorders.

Wallace concludes, "While human differences in behavior and its relation to predisposition to mental illness as well as to a wide varied of pediatric and adult neurological diseases has been the subject of intense investigations for over a century, we still have a rudimentary understanding of the physiological, genetic, and environmental factors that mediate mental health and illness.  Our recent papers strongly suggest that by reorienting our investigations from the anatomy of the brain and brain-specific genes to the mitochondria and the bioenergetics genes, we may have a more productive conceptual framework to understand neuropsychiatric disease.  If so, this will spawn a whole new generation of neuropsychiatric therapeutics." 

The Simon Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (grants NS21328, DK73691, and CA143351) supported this study. In addition to his CHOP position, Wallace is on the faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His co-authors were from CHOP, Penn, Thomas Jefferson University and Rockefeller University.

"Mitochondrial functions modulate neuroendocrine, metabolic, inflammatory, and transcriptional responses to acute psychological stress," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online early edition, Nov. 16, 2015. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1515733112

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