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SUBJECT: Science and AGE Special edition from Roc nutrition investigator

There are so many things happening in nutrition, like a Science feature issue on chronic disease, that here's a bonus.
FROM SCIENCE, Sept 21, 2012
1. Vitamin D goes on trial -A. It reduces the risk of getting a cold: In 2010, a randomized trial in 334 Japanese schoolchildren found that those taking vitamin D supplements were less likely to suffer from an influenza infection. And in August, scientists from Harvard Medical School in Boston reported in Pediatrics that Mongolian schoolchildren whose milk was fortified with vitamin D had half the risk of catching a cold compared to those drinking unfortified milk. B. It may prevent cancer and heart disease - Proponents of the sunshine vitamin have also amassed a variety of data suggesting it wards off asthma, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cognitive decline. And a body of evidence indicates vitamin D could cut the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease dramatically, they argue. For colorectal and breast cancer alone, raising vitamin D levels on a population level could prevent more than 100,000 cases each year and cut deaths from these diseases by three-fourths in the United States and Canada, a paper published in the Annals of Epidemiology in 2009 calculated. C. It may prevent tuberculosis - Vitamin D helps immune cells called macrophages kill the mycobacterium responsible for TB, as well as suppress the secretion of enzymes the pathogen uses to degrade lung tissue.

2. Will an Aspirin a Day Keep Cancer Away? - Data suggesting that regular aspirin use lowers cancer risk has accumulated to the point where some argue that it's time to recommend that many more people take the drug. People who regularly used aspirin were 40% less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who didn't take the drug. The studies, which tallied cancer cases among people who had been taking aspirin for years to prevent vascular events such as heart attack and stroke, found that death rates from several tumor types were as much as 37% lower. And even in the people who developed a cancer, taking aspirin seemed to slow the spread of tumors to other parts of the body. Because aspirin can cause stomach upset and dangerous internal bleeding, U.S. guidelines now recommend that only people at elevated risk for heart disease or stroke take low doses of the medicine, typically 81 milligrams a day. But Chan and others suggest that medical societies and policymakers should also consider aspirin's general cancer-fighting effects.

3. Asthma may be caused by allergy to dust mites - Worldwide, more than 300 million people suffer from asthma, often sparked by a violent immune response to common environmental allergens. Current treatments include corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation but have side effects, and a procedure called desensitization in which asthma/allergy patients are given increasing doses of an allergen cocktail. But the success of desensitization varies from person to person and occasionally causes a life-threatening reaction: anaphylaxis. A team led by Bruno Pitard at the University of Nantes in France is now tackling asthma with a variation on the traditional vaccine. Pitard's strategy stems from the observation that 50% of Europeans with allergies harbor antibodies against the Der f 1 protein from Dermatophagoides farinae, one of the most common dust mites in the United States and Europe. But instead of immunizing with actual Der f 1 proteins from this mite, which can trigger an allergic response in people with asthma, Pitard and his colleagues are testing a vaccine composed of DNA coding for the protein, with the idea that it would train the immune system to tolerate it.

4.Most non-communicable diseases can be prevented - Effective approaches for large-scale NCD prevention include comprehensive tobacco and alcohol control through taxes and regulation of sales and advertising; reducing dietary salt, unhealthy fats, and sugars through regulation and well-designed public education; increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains by lowering prices and improving availability; and implementing a universal, effective, and equitable primary-care system that reduces NCD risk factors, including cardiometabolic risk factors and infections that are precursors to NCDs, through clinical interventions.

5. Changing human behavior to prevent disease - Much of the global burden of disease is associated with behaviors—overeating, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity—that people recognize as health-harming and yet continue to engage in, even when undesired consequences emerge. To date, interventions aimed at changing such behaviors have largely encouraged people to reflect on their behaviors. These approaches are often ineffectual. WE suggest: (i) Altering environments to constrain behavior.(ii) Targeting automatic associative processes; Activating or inhibiting existing associations; Altering existing or creating new associations

6. Fetal and early childhood undernutrition, mortality, and lifelong health - Table 1indicates length of breast feeding significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension in the mother. Figure 1 shows % infant survival rises dramatically when children are breastfed at least 6 months.

FROM Journal of the American Aging Association, AGE, 2012
1. Chronic caffeine intake reverses age-induced insulin resistance - Study was done in rats.
2. Healthy aging is associated with parental longevity - If your parents were long lived, you are more likely to be.
3. Role of epigenetics in human aging and longevity: genome-wide DNA methylation profile in centenarians and centenarians’ offspring - As these DNA patterns are from transient epigenetic markers, how you behave around the time you produce a pregnancy may dramatically alter the life expectation of your offspring.

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator
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"[I'd like to propose] three rules-'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.'"-Michael Pollan

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