August 6, 2001 Research UpdateBy James Bogash
Catechin intake and ischemic heart disease
The benefits of tea are well known, and generally, whatever black tea does, green tea does many times over. One of the compounds believed to provide the beneficial effects is a class of compounds called catechins. This article confirms that catechins, independent of the source (tea or otherwise) can lower the risk of heart disease. Add this to the preventative list which also includes osteoporosis, some types of cancers and diabetes. Remember, however, that just because isolated catechins show a positive result we should not run out and buy up supplements loaded with catechins…just drink tea! AJCN — Abstracts: Arts et al. 74 (2): 227. Click here for more information.
Lipid peroxidation, plasma antioxidant micronutrients in Crohn disease
There is a very important take home message here in this article. The article asseses the antioxidant status of patients with Crohn’s disease and finds high levels of oxidative stress. A few things to consider here. First, it is not determined whither the source of the stress. Do patients with Crohn’s absorb antioxidants poorly from the diet or does the overall inflammatory state tax the body’s reserves of antioxidants? Either way, a patient with Crohn’s should take care to keep high levels of antioxidants in their system. Another take home point (and a very important one) is that the oxidative stress was present in study participants even though their symptoms were currently low and 78% were medicated. Current pharmacological management of this disease, based on this study, is symptomatic and does not address underlying factors. Surprised? AJCN — Abstracts: Wendland et al. 74 (2): 259. Click here for more information.
Preprandial Rise in Ghrelin Levels Suggests a Role in Meal Initiation
I don’t have much to say on this issue at this time. The hormone ghrelin is a newly discovered hormone and may show to play a role in weight management and appetite. Considering the fact that we just discovered a new hormone, does anyone out there feel comfortable about taking drugs that alter appetite in an attempt at weight management? We have no idea what the long term impacts are on messing with this process. I’m sure that as research on ghrelin progresses, we will find that it has impacts on other body systems, much like where we were with leptin several years ago. Diabetes — Abstracts: Cummings et al. 50 (8): 1714. Click here for more information.
Adiponectin reverses insulin resistance
Here is another example of a newly discovered hormone that plays a role in insulin/weight management. Keep an eye out for this one; this is a mouse study but the impact on human health is huge. The fat-derived hormone adiponectin reverses insulin resistance associated with both lipoatrophy and obesity. Click here for more information.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease; a Feature of the Metabolic Syndrome
We have identified a host of conditions assocated with impaired insulin sensitivity such as hypertension, heart disease, hypercholesterolemia and abdominal adiposity. We can now add fatty liver disease to the list. On the converse side, that would also mean that any patient with liver problems should have their insulin sensitivity assessed. Diabetes — Abstracts: Marchesini et al. 50 (8): 1844. Click here for more information
Cerebral Atrophy Related to Corticotherapy in Lupus.
While this article focuses on patients with SLE, the concept applies to the common method of treatment for many autoimmune disorders. With all the other damaging effects of corticosteroid use (adrenal suppression, bone loss, damage to GI mucosa, liver problems), now with loss of brain matter added, why would this therapy be a front-line approach to many diseases? We have so many other approaches in functional medicine designed to modify and balance the immune response. Springer LINK: Clinical Rheumatology – Abstract Volume 20 Issue 4 (2001) pp 245-250. Click here for more information.
Food Allergy and Seronegative Arthritis: Report of Two Cases
This is really an article that touches on many aspects. First, food allergy is a very important aspect in health and should be evaluated or at least considered in every patient. It is very well accepted that our dogs with arthritis can do much better with dietary changes, and yet when it comes to us humans it’s virtually unheard of. Next, food allergies having systemic effects really points to the need for healthy digestion, notably stomach acid. Allergies are most often produced in response to proteins; most proteins should not survive intact through the digestive process. Optimal digestion of proteins plays an important role in avoiding food allergies. Lastly, this article once again points to the systemic effect that the GI tract can have on our health. This is one area that still has not been grasped by mainstream medicine, and yet it’s impact on patient’s health can be tremendous. Springer LINK: Clinical Rheumatology – Abstract Volume 20 Issue 4 (2001) pp 279-281. Click here for more information.
This article was a compilation of Medline abstracts put together by Mescape Neurology with a link to 18 articles with abstracts. 2 of these dealt with natural substances. One with glucosamine (not a well known use for this substance) and one with feverfew (well known and effective for headaches). A third article reviewed treatment for pediatric migraine and noted that there are no trials currently available supporting pharmacologic management of pediatric migraine. Mysteriously lacking was any manipulative therapies or lifestyle management. A headace patient in my office, so long as they’re ready to make any recommended changes, can almost always find relief. The bias against natural therapeutics is still way too prevalent.
Increased BMI Before Pregnancy Linked w/ Heart Defects in Infants.
We have had a major push in obstetrics for folic acid and yet there are many factors that contribute to a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid is important, but avoidance of toxins such as pesticides can be equally important. Healthy levels of multiple vitamins and minerals such as calcium and zinc. Avoidance of exposure to heavy metals such as mercury in tuna fish. Now we see that a lower body mass index may contribute to a healthier pregnancy as well.
Epidemiology 2001;11:439-446 Women who are overweight or obese before conception appear to have an increased risk of giving birth to infants with isolated heart defects, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta report in the July issue of Epidemiology. Using data from the Atlanta Birth Defects Case-Control Study, Drs. Margaret L. Watkins and Lorenzo D. Botto studied heart defects in 851 live and stillborn infants, among whom 608 had an isolated heart anomaly. The researchers compared these infants with data from 2767 infants without heart defects (controls). Study data were collected for infants born between 1968 and 1980, with interviews of parents conducted between 1982 and 1983. The researchers found that compared with infants of average-weight women, infants of underweight women (body mass index [BMI] < 16.5) were less likely to have to have a major isolated heart defect (adjusted odds ratio 0.64). In addition, compared with average- or underweight mothers, the investigators found that overweight and obese women were more likely to have an infant with a major isolated defect. Among women with a BMI of 26 to 29, the adjusted odds ratio was 1.41, and for women whose BMI was above 29, the adjusted odds ratio was 1.29. This trend toward an increase in isolated heart defects with increased maternal BMI was not present when the investigators looked at multiple heart defects. For isolated heart defects, they note that the adjusted odds ratio per unit of BMI was 1.02, while for multiple defects it was 1.00. In addition, Drs. Watkins and Botto report that “mothers of infants with heart defects were less likely to be white and less likely to report periconceptional vitamin use,” and that infants born during the later years of the study were more likely to have heart defects. Although the reason for the relationship between prepregnancy weight and isolated heart defects is unknown, “if the association between maternal weight and heart defects is real, it has important implications for prevention, given the increasing prevalence of obesity and the morbidity and mortality association with heart defects,” Drs. Watkins and Botto conclude.
Related blog posts
- How are abnormal liver function tests dealt with in primary care? – (02-05-01)
- S-Adenosyl-L-methionine: its role in the treatment of liver disorders – (10-24-02)
- Supplementation with branched-chain amino acids in advanced cirrhosis – (06-23-03)
- Fatigue and primary biliary cirrhosis – (03-29-04)
- CELIAC DISEASE ASSOCIATED WITH SEVERE LIVER DISEASE RISK – (04-22-02)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since acquiring a passion for how the body works in chiropractic school, I have continued to indulge this desire by reading some 120 peer reviewed medical journals per month. I’m always learning more about how to help people avoid chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis, obesity and cancer, and pass along this information in my blog. There are currently almost 2,000 posts cataloged on almost every health topic imaginable. Click Here for more bio information