Copper linked to Alzheimer's disease

A lifetime of too much copper in our diets may be contributing to Alzheimer's disease, US scientists say.

However, research is divided, with other studies suggesting copper may actually protect the brain.

The latest study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed high levels of copper left the brain struggling to get rid of a protein thought to cause the dementia.

Copper is a vital part of our diet and necessary for a healthy body.

Tap water coming through copper pipes, red meat and shellfish as well as fruit and vegetables are all sources of dietary copper.

The study on mice, by a team at the University of Rochester in New York, suggested that copper interfered with the brain's shielding - the blood brain barrier.

Mice that were fed more copper in their water had a greater build-up of the metal in the blood vessels in the brain.

The team said this interfered with the way the barrier functioned and made it harder for the brain to get rid of a protein called beta amyloid.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the formation of plaques of amyloid in the dying brain.

Lead researcher Dr Rashid Deane said: "It is clear that, over time, copper's cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain."

He told the BBC that copper also led to more protein being produced: "It's a double whammy of increased production and decreased clearance of amyloid protein.

"Copper is a very essential metal ion and you don't want a deficiency and many nutritious foods also contain copper."

However, he said taking supplements may be "going overboard a bit".

Mixed evidence

Commenting on the latest findings, Chris Exley, professor of bioinorganic chemistry at Keele University, said there was "no true consensus" on the role of copper in Alzheimer's disease.

His research on human brain reached the opposite conclusion: "In our most recent work we found evidence of lower total brain copper with ageing and Alzheimer's. We also found that lower brain copper correlated with higher deposition of beta amyloid in brain tissue.

"He said at the moment we would expect copper to be protective and beneficial in neurodegeneration, not the instigator, but we don't know.

"The exposure levels used mean that if copper is acting in the way they think it does in this study then it must be doing so in everyone."

Dr Eric Karran, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "While the findings present clues to how copper could contribute to features of Alzheimer's in mice, the results will need replicating in further studies. It is too early to know how normal exposure to copper could be influencing the development or progression of Alzheimer's in people. "

Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Considering copper is a vital mineral for the body, people should treat these results with caution and not cut it out of their diet. More research is needed to understand the role that copper might play in the brain.

Source :BBC

N.H.Khider

Suffer From Anxiety? Actions You Should Take Right Now

It’s impossible to control all aspects of anxiety--it comes and it goes. Everything can seemingly be going right in your life but for some reason you’re fearful, you can’t relax, and your mind is going at full speed, a mile a minute. What’s worse, it can keep you from sleeping, making the problem even more difficult.

Extreme anxiety is something that you should discuss with your doctor but if you’re plagued with a heavy mind from time to time, take these steps to get back in the swing of things. Recognize anxiety and take control.

Stop drinking coffee

Coffee or any sort of caffeine in tea, energy drinks, soda, or even chocolate increases anxiety. During anxious periods, it also increases irritability, makes you jittery, and keeps you from sleep. You don’t have to give it up forever, but if you’re dealing with an anxious period, lay off of it for a bit.

Cut out the sugar

Excessive added sugar can also send our emotions on a roller coaster ride. If you’re going through an emotional period, cut out the candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes, and other sugary snacks.

Cut out the booze

Alcohol can do a number on your nervous system. According to Soberistas founder Lucy Rocca, alcohol disrupts the central nervous system, causing a lack of concentration, drop in blood sugar, changes in serotonin levels, mood swings, and an increased heart rate. If you have anxiety, alcohol and drugs are the worst thing for it.

Turn off the news

The news and television in general can make you feel ill at ease. The news rarely reports on the good stuff--rather, it makes us feel like we’re surviving in a world of fire and brim stone. Turn it off, it only makes your perspective more negative.

Go for a jog

Researchers at Princeton found that the brains of rats who exercise responded differently to anxiety than the brains of slothful rats. Not only does exercise stimulate the creation of new brain cells, they seem to function differently than the old ones.

Consider yoga

Of 35 trials at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, 25 noted significant decreases in stress and anxiety after adding in a yoga regimen. A combination of mindfulness breathing and focused attention help to slow the wandering mind. Consider adding yoga in at least a few times per week.

Learn to be the observer

Our thoughts are a part of us, but they’re not all of us. That’s why when you’re meditating you can watch your thoughts but you can’t watch yourself. When you’re having an anxious attack of emotions, begin to watch your thoughts as if they were a movie. Don’t be afraid of them. Just close your eyes and pretend you’re eating popcorn and watching the ridiculous drama going on in your mind.

Source: Discovery Fit & Health

R.Sawas

Breakfast linked to 'healthy heart'

People should eat breakfast to keep their hearts in good condition, according to researchers in the US.

Their study of 27,000 men, in the journal Circulation, showed those skipping breakfast were at a greater risk of heart problems.

The team at the Harvard School of Public Health said missing the meal put an "extra strain" on the body.

The British Heart Foundation said breakfast helped people resist sugary snacks before lunch.

The men, aged 45-82, were studied for 16 years. During that time there were more than 1,500 heart attacks or cases of fatal heart failure.

However, people who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal. The researchers adjusted for other lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and exercise.

Researcher, Dr Leah Cahill said: "The take-home message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour.

"The results show that something is better than nothing, but it's always better to have something healthy and balanced."

She said the timing of the meal seemed to be key and waiting until lunch rather than "breaking fast" may be straining the body over time.

She said this could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which could in turn damage the heart.

"Don't skip breakfast," Dr Cahill concluded.

Victoria Taylor, a dietitian with the British Heart Foundation, said: "These researchers only looked at men aged over 45, so we would need to see further research to confirm that breakfast has the same impact on the heart health of other groups of people.

"What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet.

"Wholegrain toast, or cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day. Try a sliced banana or dried fruit on top and you'll be on your way to five-a-day before you've even left the house.

 

Source : BBC

N.H.Khider

Two-Drug Combination, Under Certain Circumstances, Can Eliminate Disease

New research conducted by Harvard scientists is laying out a road map to one of the holy grails of modern medicine: a cure for cancer.

As described in a paper recently published in eLife, Martin Nowak, a professor of mathematics and of biology and director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, and co-author Ivana Bozic, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics, show that, under certain conditions, using two drugs in a "targeted therapy" -- a treatment approach designed to interrupt cancer's ability to grow and spread -- could effectively cure nearly all cancers.

Though the research is not a cure for cancer, Nowak said it does offer hope to researchers and patients alike.

"In some sense this is like the mathematics that allows us to calculate how to send a rocket to the moon, but it doesn't tell you how to build a rocket that goes to the moon," Nowak said. "What we found is that if you have a single point mutation in the genome that can give rise to resistance to both drugs at the same time, the game is over. We need to have combinations such that there is zero overlap between the drugs."

Importantly, Nowak said, for the two-drug combination to work, both drugs must be given together -- an idea that runs counter to the way many clinicians treat cancer today.

"We actually have to work against the status quo somewhat," he said. "But we can show in our model that if you don't give the drugs simultaneously, it guarantees treatment failure."

In earlier studies, Nowak and colleagues showed the importance of using multiple drugs. Though temporarily effective, single-drug targeted therapy will fail, the researchers revealed, because the disease eventually develops resistance to the treatment.

To determine if a two-drug combination would work, Nowak and Bozic turned to an expansive data set supplied by clinicians at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center that showed how patients respond to single-drug therapy. With data in hand, they were able to create computer models of how multidrug treatments would work. Using that model, they then treated a series of "virtual patients" to determine how the disease would react to the multidrug therapy.

"For a single-drug therapy, we know there are between 10 and 100 places in the genome that, if mutated, can give rise to resistance," Nowak explained. "So the first parameter we use when we make our calculations is that the first drug can be defeated by those possible mutations. The second drug can also be defeated by 10 to 100 mutations.

"If any of those mutations are the same, then it's a disaster," he continued. "If there's even a single mutation that can defeat both drugs, that is usually good enough for the cancer -- it will become resistant, and treatment will fail. What this means is we have to develop drugs such that the cancer needs to make two independent steps -- if we can do that, we have a good chance to contain it." 

How good a chance?

"You would expect to cure most patients with a two-drug combination," Bozic said. "In patients with a particularly large disease burden you might want to use a three-drug combination, but you would cure most with two drugs."

The trick now, Nowak and Bozic said, is to develop those drugs.

To avoid developing drugs that are not vulnerable to the same mutation, Bozic said, pharmaceutical companies have explored a number of strategies, including using different drugs to target different pathways in cancer's development.

"There are pharmaceutical companies here in Cambridge that are working to develop these drugs," Nowak said. "There may soon be as many as 100 therapies, which means there will be as many as 10,000 possible combinations, so we should have a good repertoire to choose from.

"I think we can be confident that, within 50 years, many cancer deaths will be prevented," Nowak added. "One hundred years ago, many people died from bacterial infections, and now they would be cured. Today, many people die from cancer, and we can't help them, but I think once we have these targeted therapies, we will be able to help many people -- maybe not everyone -- but many people."

Source:Science Daily

R.Sawas

Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics

New research from Western University unravels a novel means of communication that allows bacteria such as Burkholderia cenocepacia (B. cenocepacia) to resist antibiotic treatment. B. cenocepacia is an environmental bacterium that causes devastating infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or with compromised immune systems.

Dr. Miguel Valvano and first author Omar El-Halfawy, PhD candidate, show that the more antibiotic resistant cells within a bacterial population produce and share small molecules with less resistant cells, making them more resistant to antibiotic killing. These small molecules, which are derived from modified amino acids (the building blocks used to make proteins), protect not only the more sensitive cells of B. cenocepacia but also other bacteria including a highly prevalent CF pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli. The research is published in PLOS ONE.

"These findings reveal a new mechanism of antimicrobial resistance based on chemical communication among bacterial cells by small molecules that protect against the effect of antibiotics," says Dr. Valvano, adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, currently a Professor and Chair at Queen's University Belfast. "This paves the way to design novel drugs to block the effects of these chemicals, thus effectively reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance."

"These small molecules can be utilized and produced by almost all bacteria with limited exceptions, so we can regard these small molecules as a universal language that can be understood by most bacteria," says El-Halfawy, who called the findings exciting. "The other way that Burkholderia communicates its high level of resistance is by releasing small proteins to mop up, and bind to lethal antibiotics, thus reducing their effectiveness." The next step is to find ways to inhibit this phenomenon.

The research, conducted at Western, was funded by a grant from Cystic Fibrosis Canada and also through a Marie Curie Career Integration grant.

N.H.Khider

Source: Science Daily