As many of my readers are aware, for the past several years I have been deeply involved in studying a fascinating area of biochemistry that plays a pivotal role in all degenerative conditions that we as humans want to avoid.
The Nrf2 pathway has been referred to as the “master regulator of antioxidant, detoxification and cell defense gene expression…” and It is for these reasons that so much research has been carried out trying to explore how activating this life-sustaining pathway may have critically important applications for our health and longevity.
The Nrf2 pathway has been especially studied in various brain degenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, as well as autism, to name a few. Indeed, as I recently described, the research from Harvard demonstrated significant improvement in autistic children treated with sulforaphane, an extract of broccoli, which is known to activate the Nrf2 pathway.
As researchers from the University of Colorado publishing in the journal Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications have described, activation of the Nrf2 pathway may find clinical application in a variety of other conditions including atherosclerosis, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and even cancer. The authors concluded: Continue reading
As a practicing neurologist, one of the most challenging conditions I deal with is peripheral neuropathy. This is a condition in which the nerves in the arms and legs are damaged, and this leads to a variety of issues including pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, and burning. Peripheral neuropathy can be a result of trauma but more commonly it is the result of metabolic problems like diabetes. Alcoholism is a common cause as well as exposure to various toxins including chemotherapy. Some cases of peripheral neuropathy are inherited and sometimes it results from vitamin deficiency, especially the B vitamins.
Lets talk nuts. From macadamias to pistachios, nuts are nature’s energy packets. For their taste, they’re a classic cocktail party snack, and for their calorie and fat content, they’re villainized. But curent research supports the idea that calorie quality matters at least as much as quantity, and despite prior misgivings about our tasty snacks, nuts may in fact be quite healthful after all.
First, lets look at the most recent data, a meta-analysis in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition relating to nuts and their interaction with ischemic heart disease, diabetes and all cause mortality, which found nut consumption inversely related to risk of heart disease and death from any cause. Suggestions for these findings usually center around the healthful fats found in nuts, as well as their anti-inflammatory effects and high mineral contents.
When heart disease tops the list of death causes in the US, it’s worthwhile to look closely at anything lowering our risk for developing this deadly condition. Some data even suggests that the same healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts act as antiarrhythmics, stabilizing our heartbeat patterns. This may help to explain the fact that nut consumption was shown in the same study to correlate with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Continue reading
Zyprexa, is an incredibly popular psychiatric medication manufactured by Eli Lilly. Yet, although Zyprexa was originally developed for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it has now gained widespread use for the treatment of depression as well.
Back in 2007, Lilly was required to add a strong warning label to Zyprexa indicating the drugs tendency to cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and other metabolic problems. It was found that weight gain could continue for as long as two years after the medication was stopped and that one in six patients who took the medication would gain more than 33 pounds after two years of using it. And this is information that was added to the label.
These issues, weight gain and changes in metabolism, profoundly threaten long-term health. The relationship with respect to the drug is clear, but what hasn’t been well defined is the actual mechanism by which Zyprexa causes these events to occur. Continue reading
Normally, I would be sharing a new blog post with you today. In fact, I already had one lined up about the link between antidepressants and weight gain (which I hope you’ll check back for in a few days). However, just this week a press release from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found its way to my inbox, and I was so caught by the results of the study they reported, that I want to immediately share it with all of you. What this study means for the treatment of autism is groundbreaking.
Read MGH’s press release below, copied in its entirety, and view the original study here, for your reference. You can learn more about sulforaphane, the subject of this groundbreaking research as it relates to Parkinson’s disease, in this 2013 study.
BOSTON – A small study led by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found evidence that daily treatment with sulforaphane – a molecule found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – may improve some symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. In their report being published online in PNAS Early Edition, the investigators describe how participants receiving a daily dose of sulforaphane showed improvement in both behavioral and communication assessments in as little as four weeks.
The authors stress that the results of this pilot study – conducted at the MGHfC-affiliated Lurie Center for Autism – must be confirmed in larger investigations before any conclusions can be drawn about sulforaphane’s therapeutic benefit. “Over the years there have been several anecdotal reports that children with autism can have improvements in social interaction and sometimes language skills when they have a fever,” explains Andrew Zimmerman, MD, a co-corresponding author of the current report who also published a 2007 paper documenting the fever effect. “We investigated what might be behind that on a cellular level and postulated that it results from fever’s activation of the cellular stress response, in which protective cellular mechanisms that are usually held in reserve are turned on through activation of gene transcription.” Affiliated with the MGHfC Department of Neurology, Zimmerman is now based at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Continue reading
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a central role in brain health. As I have discussed before, one of the key factors that correlates levels of DHA to brain health and disease resistance is DHA’s ability to turn on the brains “growth hormone” called BDNF.
In this report, from the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, researchers evaluated the level of DHA in red blood cells in a group of over 1500 men and women aged 67 ± 9 years who were dementia free . The study then measured the size of their brains, and evaluated their brains by doing MRI scans to look for small strokes. In addition, the subjects underwent a variety of cognitive assessments. Continue reading
Remember when back in the day we were told that the food we definitely don’t want to eat is eggs? Because if you eat eggs all kinds of terrible things will happen to you. But we now understand that there is a robust level of science that really shows us that eggs are actually a good food. Let’s take a look at one report that really illustrates this.