Frivolous Friday …

Now that the election is past perhaps we can lighten up a bit …

Tony

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Two Alzheimer’s drugs tested head-to-head in first-ever virtual clinical trial

An estimated 6.2 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. The national Alzheimer’s Association predicts that number to grow to 13.8 million by 2060, barring the development of medical breakthroughs that would prevent, slow or cure the debilitating disease.

Scientists may be one step closer to such a breakthrough thanks to a first-of-its-kind computer model that successfully simulated a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of multiple treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

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“We’re calling this a virtual clinical trial, because we used real, de-identified patient data to simulate health outcomes,” said Wenrui Hao, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State, who is lead author and principal investigator on the study published in the September issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology. “What we found aligns almost exactly with findings in prior clinical trials, but because we were using a virtual simulation, we had the added benefit of directly comparing the efficacy of different drugs over longer trial periods.”

Using clinical and biomarker data, the researchers built a computational causal model to run virtual trials on the FDA-approved treatment aducanumab, as well as another promising therapy under evaluation, donanemab. The two drugs are some of the first treatments designed to work directly on what may cause the disease, instead of just treating the symptoms.

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Moderate to heavy drinking in young adults, linked to higher risk of stroke

Risk increases with more years of drinking.

People in their 20s and 30s who drink moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol may be more likely to have a stroke as young adults than people who drink low amounts or no alcohol, according to a study published in the November 2, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The risk of stroke increased the more years people reported moderate or heavy drinking.

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“The rate of stroke among young adults has been increasing over the last few decades, and stroke in young adults causes death and serious disability,” said study author Eue-Keun Choi, MD, PhD, of Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea. “If we could prevent stroke in young adults by reducing alcohol consumption, that could potentially have a substantial impact on the health of individuals and the overall burden of stroke on society.”

The study looked at records from a Korean national health database for people in their 20s and 30s who had four annual health exams. They were asked about alcohol consumption each year. They were followed for an average of six years.

They were asked the number of days per week they drank alcohol and the number of standard drinks per time. People who drank 105 grams or more per week were considered moderate or heavy drinkers. This is equal to 15 ounces per day, or slightly more than one drink per day. A standard drink in the United States contains about 14 grams of alcohol, which is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

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Reduced-nicotine cigarettes result in less smoking in anxious, depressed smokers

For the record, I am against smoking. You are better off not doing it. However, it appears that if you must, you can do it with less onerous results.

Lowering the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels may reduce smoking without worsening mental health in smokers with mood or anxiety disorders, according to Penn State College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School researchers. They said reducing nicotine content in cigarettes could also lessen addiction, lower exposure to toxicants and increase a smoker’s chances of quitting.

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Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in the United States. Recent proposals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the New Zealand government seek to limit the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to minimally addictive levels. Prior research indicates that reducing nicotine content could help smokers quit, but there is little evidence to demonstrate if these policies could adversely affect smokers with current or prior affective disorders like depression and anxiety disorders — which affect an estimated 38% of U.S. cigarette smokers.

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The different types of dementia – NIH

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November 5, 2022 · 11:04 pm

Daylight Saving Time “fall back” doesn’t equal sleep gain – Harvard

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

Don’t forget to set your clock back tonight before you go to sleep.

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2:00 am this Sunday. In theory, “falling back” means an extra hour of sleep this weekend.

Winston Churchill once described Daylight Saving Time like this: “An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn… We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.”

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That’s an overly optimistic view. In reality, many people don’t, or can’t, take advantage of this weekend’s extra hour of sleep. And the resulting shift in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can disrupt sleep for several days, according to Anthony Komaroff,M.D., Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter.

70dce882-d457-4753-bff4-fe5991baa244.jpgSorry, I couldn’t resist this one.

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Dieters may overestimate healthiness of their eating habits – Study

In a small study, most adults seeking to lose weight overestimated the healthiness of their diet, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022. The meeting, held in person in Chicago and virtually, Nov. 5-7, 2022, is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science.

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“We found that while people generally know that fruits and vegetables are healthy, there may be a disconnect between what researchers and health care professionals consider to be a healthy and balanced diet compared to what the public thinks is a healthy and balanced diet,” said study author Jessica Cheng, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and in general internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston. This research was conducted while Dr. Cheng was a predoctoral fellow/Ph.D. candidate in the department of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. try to lose weight each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a majority attempting to eat more fruits, vegetables and salads. Healthy eating is essential for heart and general health, and longevity. Dietary guidance from the American Heart Association issued in 2021 advises adults to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables; opt for whole grains rather than refined grains; choose healthy protein sources; substitute nonfat and low-fat dairy products for full-fat versions; choose lean cuts of meat (for those who eat meat); use liquid plant oils instead of tropical oils and animal fats; choose minimally processed over ultra-processed foods; minimize foods and beverages with added sugar; choose foods with little or no added salt; and limit or avoid alcohol.

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Frivolous Friday …

For some reason I found a lot of word ones this week. I hope you don’t mind that little extra mental exertion visualizing ….

Tony

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Periodic “activity snacks” may help maintain muscle mass

Interrupting prolonged sitting with periodic “activity snacks” may help maintain muscle mass and quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto.

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Daniel Moore, an associate professor of muscle physiology at the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Eduction (KPE) who led the study, found that short bouts of activity, such as two minutes of walking or body weight sit-to-stand squats, allow the body to use more amino acids from meals to build muscle proteins.

The research was recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

“We know that prolonged sedentary periods impair the body’s ability to filter sugar from the blood following a meal,” says Moore, who heads the Iovate/Muscletech Metabolism & Sports Science Lab at KPE.

“However, breaking up this sedentary period with brief bouts of activity such as two minutes of moderate intensity walking or rising and lowering 15 times from a chair (i.e. body weight squats), can improve the way our body clears sugar from our meals.”

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Vitamin D deficiency linked to premature death

New research gives strong evidence that vitamin D deficiency is associated with premature death, prompting calls for people to follow healthy vitamin D level guidelines.

It’s the vitamin that we get from the sun, yet despite its ample availability, one in three Australian adults still suffer from mild, moderate or severe vitamin D deficiency.

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Now, new research from the University of South Australia gives strong evidence that vitamin D deficiency is associated with premature death, prompting calls for people to follow healthy vitamin D level guidelines.

Published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the study found that the more severe the vitamin D deficiency, the greater the risk of mortality.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps maintain good health and keep our bones and muscles strong and healthy.

First author and UniSA PhD candidate, Josh Sutherland, says while vitamin D has been connected with mortality, it has been challenging to establish causal effects.

“While severe vitamin D deficiency is rarer in Australia than elsewhere in the world, it can still affect those who have health vulnerabilities, the elderly, and those who do not acquire enough vitamin D from healthy sun exposure and dietary sources,” Sutherland says.

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Best Evidence Yet That Lowering Blood Pressure Can Prevent Dementia

A global study of over 28,000 people has provided the strongest evidence to date that lowering blood pressure in later life can cut the risk of dementia. Dr. Ruth Peters, Associate Professor at University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and Program Lead for Dementia in The George Institute’s Global Brain Health Initiative, said that in the absence of significant dementia treatment breakthroughs, reducing the risk of developing the disease would be a welcome step forward. “Given population aging and the substantial costs of caring for people with dementia, even a small reduction could have considerable global impact,” she said. “Our study suggests that using readily available treatments to lower blood pressure is currently one of our ‘best bets’ to tackle this insidious disease.”

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Dementia is fast becoming a global epidemic, currently affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. This is projected to triple by 2050 – mainly driven by aging populations.It is currently estimated to cost US$20-$40,000 per person with the condition each year.Dr Peters explained that while many trials have looked at the health benefits of lowering blood pressure, not many included dementia outcomes and even fewer were placebo-controlled – considered to provide the best level of evidence.

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The Health Dangers of Ultraprocessed Foods – Tufts

A rapidly growing body of research is highlighting the dangers of the typical intake of ultraprocessed, packaged, convenience foods in the U.S., according to the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

For most of human history, food was difficult to come by and humans battled starvation and malnutrition. The development of food processing helped positively transform the food environment—and health. Canning (and then freezing) made vegetables and fruits available year-round; pasteurization stopped outbreaks of bacterial infection from milk; preservatives prevented spoilage and extended shelf-life; and enrichment allowed refined flour to become a dietary staple without risk of malnutrition. Safe food became available anytime, anywhere, and at a relatively cheap price. Now, the pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction.

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Processing moved from preserving food, enhancing vitamin content, and improving safety to creating entirely new foodstuffs: breaded nuggets of mechanically separated chicken bits; irresistibly crispy snacks of refined flour, salt, and flavorings; sweet drinks that never saw a piece of fruit; and all manner of foods with few if any ingredients in their intact, natural form. Most of these products have undergone intense processes, such as refining, high-temperature extrusion, or molding. They typically include colors, flavorings, emulsifiers, and other artificial ingredients designed to enhance flavor, mouth feel, and cravings. Although that description isn’t very appetizing, these “ultraprocessed” foods are often attractive, hyper-palatable, cheap, ready-to-eat—and the major source of calories in many countries, including the U.S.

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Five Simple SuperAger Tips

These aren’t SuperAger secrets at all, they are very simple techniques to keep your body and brain functioning for a long time. I believe that they are simple, but not necessarily easy, for a lot of people.

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Music and your brain

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

AS a guy who has a bluetooth speaker on his bike’s water bottle, I don’t need anyone to tell me to enjoy music. But, in case you do ….

Music has been with us since ancient times. It has framed the cultures, rituals and celebrations of our lives. It’s a universal language that brings people together. Now, researchers are discovering the reasons why music can have such a profound impact on our brains and bodies.

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AARP convened the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) in February of 2020 to explore the impact of music on brain health. Each year, GCBH reviews research to give older adults the best possible advice for maintaining brain health. Let’s review some of their findings and recommendations for engaging in music to improve brain health.

Research shows that music can bring us a sense of well-being and calm, reduce stress…

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Some Halloween funnies

To celebrate Halloween, I thought you might like some seasonal items.

I personally love this one as I am one of the last remaining humans who drives a stick shift car.

Tony

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What happens if your circadian rhythms are out of whack?

Scientists discovered an important molecular link between lung tumor growth and disrupted circadian rhythms, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Rochester Wilmot Cancer Institute investigator and led by the Scripps Research Institute in California.

Circadian rhythms, sometimes called the “biological clock,” is the cellular process that rules sleep-wake cycles. The World Health Organization has proclaimed that disrupted circadian rhythms are a probable carcinogen.

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The latest research, published in the high-impact journal Science Advances, describes that when the circadian clock gets off track it implicates a cancer-signature gene known as HSF1 that can trigger lung tumors. Lungs are under tight circadian control and seem to be particularly vulnerable to a disrupted biological clock.

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