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Sun, Jul

New Drug for Alzheimer’s Fountain of Youth?

WELLNESS-Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that starts slowly and gets worse over time and affects over 5 million Americans and 35 million people worldwide. In the United States Alzheimer’s is considered the 3rd leading cause of death. 

The most common symptom when the disease starts is having difficulty remembering recent events. Once the disease takes hold symptoms can include mood swings, getting lost due to disorientation, depression and challenges with language. As the disease progresses it can lead to loss of bodily functions and ultimately death. This can take anywhere from 3 to 9 years. 

Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases and usually begins in people 65 or older. There are exceptions to this as up to 5 percent of cases are considered early onset and begin when one is in their 40’s and 50’s. 

There is a new experimental drug being researched to help battle Alzheimer’s disease and it is showing a lot of promise. The drug is called J147, and researchers are finding that it has unexpected anti-aging effects on mice. 

What’s important to note here is this drug is a derivative of turmeric curcumin, and healers across the globe including myself have been yelling about the positive brain effects of turmeric for years. 

Now western medicine is finally harnessing these benefits in pill form, but there is no need to wait for this drug to start benefitting from turmeric curcumin, which is available in powder or capsules at most health food stores. 

The drug they are creating will use this compound but make it more available for the brain. In it’s natural form it is degraded relatively quickly making it difficult to reach the brain. Scientists have noted however, that the rate of Alzheimer’s in India is lower than anywhere else in the world, and this may be due to their high dietary intake of turmeric curcumin. 

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Most Alzheimer’s drugs up until now have focused on the plaque that settles into the brain, which is a major symptom and cause of brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s patients. J147 focuses more on keeping the brain young by increasing the health of brain blood vessels in mice boosting memory and cognitive skills. It battles aging by ridding the brain of toxicities and healing up blood vessels and stopping bleeding in the brains of the mice being infused with the drug.  

The next step will be to test this on human subjects and it looks like that will start next year. Abrexa Pharmaceuticals has a patent on the drug and they have been issued license by the Salk institute to produce J147. Abrexa is in the process of raising 10 million dollars to start clinical trials in early 2016 and hopefully take huge steps toward eradicating this life destroying disease.  

Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

-cw 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 13 Issue 93

Pub: Nov 17, 2015

Are We Poisoning Our Babies?

WELLNESS--Most people think that if there is pollution in the air they need to protect their lungs. A new study has found that when it comes to certain toxic chemicals, the skin is proving to be the organ absorbing them and sending them into the blood stream. The skin is the bodies largest organ and environmental engineer John Kissel of the University of Washington in Seattle has been quoted as saying the skin may serve as “big sponges for certain chemicals.” 

Some of the most damaging compounds absorbed by the skin are called Phthalates. Phthalates are a family of chemicals used widely as solvents  and added to plastics to increase their flexibility. In past studies, this chemical has been linked to changes in reproductive organs, and mental instability especially in newborn infants. 

Phthalates are used in the equipment that babies are exposed to in the hospital, and studies have shown the negative effects of these chemicals on a newborns system including changes in reproductive organs and mental activity.  

Depending on a couple different variables, the study showed that there are varying degrees of absorption of these chemicals. Phthalates pass through the skin easily, and the more skin exposed to phthalate-laden air, the more the chemicals are absorbed into the blood stream.   

The study exposed 6 men to two different phthalates for two sessions of 6 hours each.  There were two different types of phthalates used in the study, diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dinbutyl (DnBP).  The first is a common chemical used in personal-care products including perfumes, cosmetics, and shampoos. The second is more commonly used as a solvent and occurs in plastics, adhesives, and lubricants.

They started by exposing the men to high levels of this compound in the air and then testing their blood to see how much of the chemicals got into their blood streams. They wore technical hoods that brought in oxygen to ensure that any increase of these chemicals in the blood level was brought on by skin absorption and not from breathing. 

They also put the men in shorts to ensure their entire bodies were exposed to the chemicals. The results showed that for one of the chemicals the exposure to the skin increased that chemical in the blood equally to breathing it in. For the second chemical the absorption rate was 80% compared to lung exposure. 

They did not want to put the subjects in great danger, so they limited the exposure to 6 hours, but the scientists agreed that if they were to double the exposure or more, the amount of chemicals entering the blood would have most likely quadrupled in their blood streams.  

These chemicals have been tied to studies in the past showing slight feminization of newborn males and low birth weights, and this study may prove why. Neonatal ICU’s have phthalate-based tubing and plastics exposing newborn babies when they are most susceptible. It is not only babies that are at risk.  We are all exposed to these dangerous chemicals regularly, but there is a way to avoid or at least reduce your exposure to these chemicals.   

(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

-cw

 

CityWatch

Vol 13 Issue 91

Pub: Nov 10, 2015

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That Sugary Drink May be Killing You

WELLNESS-On June 29th of this year, a study published in the journal Circulation discovered that 184,000 deaths occur worldwide each year attributed to the consumption of sugary drinks.  The study went on to say that the while the US doesn’t lead in sugar related deaths, there are an estimated 25,000 per year.  Of the 184,000 deaths, 133,00 deaths occur from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 from cancer.  

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian was quoted in the study as saying “Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet.” 

In 2010 there was a similar study done proving the dangers of sugar-sweetened drinks and their effects on heart disease, cancers, and diabetes.  In this more recent study the focus was specifically on disease caused by sugary drinks and how often it leads to death.  The Unites States was the 4th most common country to lose people to sugar related deaths behind Mexico, South Africa, and Morocco.  

“There’s definitely been progress, but there’s still a huge amount of soda consumption in the US and globally,” Mozaffarian said. There are economic implications as well with a younger segment of the population consuming greater amounts of sugary drinks compared to the older people of the same culture.  This could lead to more deaths of younger working aged people causing a dip in the economy trending in unison with the loss of young life.  

The other economic discovery in this study is that there is also a direct link between socio-economic class and sugar drink consumption.  People of lesser means have a greater chance of consuming sugar drinks over a healthy green vegetable juice for example.  In addition to this, there is also the addiction element. Studies show that sugar lights up the same parts of the brain lit up with hard drug use.  With much less education around the dangers of sugar, lesse r-educated people are much more likely to consume great amounts of sugary drinks not realizing the dangers and the level of addiction.  

As more of these studies are released and more health care providers are made aware of the great dangers of sugar, we will be more likely to stave off the abuse of sugar in the diets of Americans and people all over the world. 

 

 (Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)

-cw 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 12 Issue 57

Pub: Jul 14, 2015

The Very Real Benefits of Camping

WELLNESS-In his essay Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson dives into the healing powers of the wilderness. "In the presence of nature," he wrote, "a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows." 

It may be century-old wisdom, but his theory still holds true today. There's just something about losing yourself -- not to mention cell service -- in the woods. In fact, there are very real health benefits. We may not be able to transport ourselves back to Emerson's quaint cabin, but we can certainly head outdoors. Below are just a few reasons to ditch it all for a few days and go camping. 

You're totally unplugged.
There's no such things as cell phone towers out in the middle of nowhere -- and that's honestly a beautiful thing. Ditching your screen can have a significant impact on your well-being. Research suggests too much tech may lead to increased feelings of anxiety and poor sleep. There's even some physical perks to going off the grid: Excessive screen use may lead to neck pain and some have even experienced neurological issues. Time to stash that phone. Your mind and body deserve it. 

You may sleep better. 
The woods may do wonders for your Z's. According to a 2013 study by the University of Colorado Boulder, the more you abide by the sun's schedule the more likely you are to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time. Researchers examined campers for a week and found that sleeping away from artificial light helped reset their circadian rhythms and made them less groggy 

Being in nature is good for your mood.
The outdoors are crucial for your mental health, especially if you're a city dweller. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that just a few minutes walking in nature can reduce depressive symptoms, which is common in people who live in urban spaces. In a corroborating study, research out of Stanford University found that spending time outdoors can help reduce rumination -- the obsessive, negative thinking that could potentially lead to mental health issues.

It could inspire a sense of awe.
As human beings, we're wired for wonder; we feel compelled to stop and soak up the sunset or gaze up at the stars -- and there's no better place to do that than camping in the wilderness. Research even suggests that awe-inspiring moments can make us happier and more inventive. How's that for a remedy to your creative rut? 

You'll burn some calories.
Hiking the grounds is all part of the experience -- and it's great for your health. Your trek has the potential to burn well over 500 calories. Not to mention, research suggests the activity can even boost your mental well-being. Talk about happy trails.  

Did we mention the no screens thing?
Seriously, this is probably the most underrated perk of camping, so it's a point worth driving home. Sometimes you just need to shut off cyberspace and connect to some green space. Research shows that constantly checking your phone could be a sign of mental health problems. 

As HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington explains, too much screen time could be burning you out and it's important to power down. "It's not easy to turn away from this kind of stimuli -- we're wired to connect," she wrote in a HuffPost blog. "But the connection that often comes from technology is not only an unfulfilling, ersatz version of connection, it's a siren call (or beep, or blinking light) that begins to crowd out the time we have for real connection. Even worse, it begins to rewire our brains to make us less adept at real connection." 

Camping gives you the opportunity to re-establish that real connection -- away from your iPhone. You're able to think away from screen full of distractions so you can return to reality with a clear mind -- and that alone is priceless.

 

(Lindsay Holmes is Healthy Living Editor at Huffington Post … where this column was first posted.)

-cw

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 13 Issue 56

Pub: Jul 10, 2015