3. The Ivermectin Story
4. Who Suppressed Ivermectin
Exchange between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci
Vegetarians have healthier levels of disease markers than meat-eaters
University of Glasgow (Scotland), May 10. 2021
Vegetarians appear to have a healthier biomarker profile than meat-eaters, and this applies to adults of any age and weight, and is also unaffected by smoking and alcohol consumption, according to a new study in over 166,000 UK adults, being presented at this week's European Congress on Obesity (ECO), held online this year.
Biomarkers can have bad and good health effects, promoting or preventing cancer, cardiovascular and age-related diseases, and other chronic conditions, and have been widely used to assess the effect of diets on health. However, evidence of the metabolic benefits associated with being vegetarian is unclear.
To understand whether dietary choice can make a difference to the levels of disease markers in blood and urine, researchers from the University of Glasgow did a cross-sectional study analysing data from 177,723 healthy participants (aged 37-73 years) in the UK Biobank study, who reported no major changes in diet over the last five years.
Participants were categorised as either vegetarian (do not eat red meat, poultry or fish; 4,111 participants) or meat-eaters (166,516 participants) according to their self-reported diet. The researchers examined the association with 19 blood and urine biomarkers related to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, liver, bone and joint health, and kidney function.
Even after accounting for potentially influential factors including age, sex, education, ethnicity, obesity, smoking, and alcohol intake, the analysis found that compared to meat-eaters, vegetarians had significantly lower levels of 13 biomarkers, including: total cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol--the so-called 'bad cholesterol; apolipoprotein A (linked to cardiovascular disease), apolipoprotein B (linked to cardiovascular disease); gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and alanine aminotransferase (AST)--liver function markers indicating inflammation or damage to cells; insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1; a hormone that encourages the growth and proliferation of cancer cells); urate; total protein; and creatinine (marker of worsening kidney function).
However, vegetarians also had lower levels of beneficial biomarkers including high-density lipoprotein 'good' (HDL) cholesterol, and vitamin D and calcium (linked to bone and joint health). In addition, they had significantly higher level of fats (triglycerides) in the blood and cystatin-C (suggesting a poorer kidney condition).
No link was found for blood sugar levels (HbA1c), systolic blood pressure, aspartate aminotransferase (AST; a marker of damage to liver cells) or C-reactive protein (CRP; inflammatory marker).
"Our findings offer real food for thought", says Dr Carlos Celis-Morales from the University of Glasgow, UK, who led the research. "As well as not eating red and processed meat which have been linked to heart diseases and some cancers, people who follow a vegetarian diet tend to consume more vegetables, fruits, and nuts which contain more nutrients, fibre, and other potentially beneficial compounds. These nutritional differences may help explain why vegetarians appear to have lower levels of disease biomarkers that can lead to cell damage and chronic disease."
The authors point out that although their study was large, it was observational, so no conclusions can be drawn about direct cause and effect. They also note several limitations including that they only tested biomarker samples once for each participant, and it is possible that biomarkers might fluctuate depending on factors unrelated to diet, such as existing diseases and unmeasured lifestyle factors. They also note that were reliant on participants to report their dietary intake using food frequency questionnaires, which is not always reliable.
Alzheimer's study: A Mediterranean diet might protect against memory loss and dementia
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, May 6, 2021
In Alzheimer's disease, neurons in the brain die. Largely responsible for the death of neurons are certain protein deposits in the brains of affected individuals: So-called beta-amyloid proteins, which form clumps (plaques) between neurons, and tau proteins, which stick together the inside of neurons. The causes of these deposits are as yet unclear. In addition, a rapidly progressive atrophy, i.e. a shrinking of the brain volume, can be observed in affected persons. Alzheimer's symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation, agitation and challenging behavior are the consequences.
Scientists at the DZNE led by Prof. Michael Wagner, head of a research group at the DZNE and senior psychologist at the memory clinic of the University Hospital Bonn, have now found in a study that a regular Mediterranean-like dietary pattern with relatively more intake of vegetables, legumes, fruit, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as from olive oil, may protect against protein deposits in the brain and brain atrophy. This diet has a low intake of dairy products, red meat and saturated fatty acids.
A nationwide study
A total of 512 subjects with an average age of around seventy years took part in the study. 169 of them were cognitively healthy, while 343 were identified as having a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease - due to subjective memory impairment, mild cognitive impairment that is the precursor to dementia, or first-degree relationship with patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The nutrition study was funded by the Diet-Body-Brain competence cluster of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and took place as part of the so-called DELCODE study of the DZNE, which does nationwide research on the early phase of Alzheimer's disease - that period before pronounced symptoms appear.
"People in the second half of life have constant eating habits. We analyzed whether the study participants regularly eat a Mediterranean diet - and whether this might have an impact on brain health ", said Prof. Michael Wagner. The participants first filled out a questionnaire in which they indicated which portions of 148 different foods they had eaten in the past months. Those who frequently ate healthy foods typical of the Mediterranean diet, such as fish, vegetables and fruit, and only occasionally consumed foods such as red meat, scored highly on a scale.
An extensive test series
The scientists then investigated brain atrophy: they performed brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to determine brain volume. In addition, all subjects underwent various neuropsychological tests in which cognitive abilities such as memory functions were examined. The research team also looked at biomarker levels (measured values) for amyloid beta proteins and tau proteins in the so-called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 226 subjects.
The researchers, led by Michael Wagner, found that those who ate an unhealthy diet had more pathological levels of these biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid than those who regularly ate a Mediterranean-like diet. In the memory tests, the participants who did not adhere to the Mediterranean diet also performed worse than those who regularly ate fish and vegetables. "There was also a significant positive correlation between a closer adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet and a higher volume of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is an area of the brain that is considered the control center of memory. It shrinks early and severely in Alzheimer's disease," explained Tommaso Ballarini, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Michael Wagner's research group and lead author of the study.
Continuation of nutrition study is planned
"It is possible that the Mediterranean diet protects the brain from protein deposits and brain atrophy that can cause memory loss and dementia. Our study hints at this," Ballarini said. "But the biological mechanism underlying this will have to be clarified in future studies." As a next step, Ballarini and Wagner now plan to re-examine the same study participants in four to five years to explore how their nutrition - Mediterranean-like or unhealthy - affects brain aging over time.
Social isolation has a profound and increasingly negative impact on physical functioning in older adults
University of Southern Denmark, May 11, 2021
Social isolation among older adults is associated with poor health and premature mortality, but the connection between social isolation and physical functioning is poorly understood. New research generates more robust evidence about the associations between social isolation and physical functioning and how this accelerates over time, reports the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier. It also highlights the importance of incorporating strategies to reduce social isolation and promote successful aging.
"Physical functioning is understood to influence the health of individuals. And social isolation is prevalent among older adults," explained lead investigator Borja del Pozo Cruz, PhD, Centre for Active and Healthy Ageing, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. "However, the true extent of the relationship between social isolation and physical functioning was not fully understood. We needed to shed some more light on this relationship, as it plays an important role in individual aging."
As individuals age, physical functioning declines, which can result in a loss of functional independence, onset of disability, and increased mortality, with significant personal, community, and economic costs. Older adults who are socially integrated may be more likely to engage in physical activity, which would in turn elicit improvements in their physical functioning.
Social isolation is a significant problem facing the health and well-being of individuals across the life course. Individuals who are socially isolated are more likely to experience mental health problems, develop dementia, and have increased risk of premature mortality. Social isolation is particularly worrisome among older adults, with data from the United States indicating that one in four older adults is isolated or severely isolated. Given the worldwide trends in population aging, social isolation among older adults is likely to become an increasing burden in years to come.
To examine the longitudinal associations between social isolation and physical functioning, investigators used nine waves of panel data from 2011 to 2019 from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a large US-representative sample of adults 65 or older. This means that the results can be generalized to the US population of older adults. The study analyzed observations from 12,427 NHATS participants to measure how individual changes in social isolation were associated with individual changes in objectively assessed physical functioning. Social isolation was captured through the Social Isolation Index (SII). Physical functioning was assessed using the NHATS version of the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The analytic sample encompassed 54,860 observations, meaning that respondents were observed 4.41 times on average.
These findings add to a growing evidence base demonstrating the negative consequences of social isolation, specifically the acceleration of aging decline trajectories in physical functioning. Investigators were able to identify with a high degree of granularity how the association between social isolation and physical functioning shifts over old age and exacerbates the decline in physical functioning associated with aging. The results showed that the older individuals are, the greater the extent to which social isolation impacts their health.
A small but growing number of observational studies in the UK, Japan, and China have identified negative associations between social isolation and physical functioning in samples of older adults. The current study resonates with and complements those results. However, the robust data generated by this national rather than community-based study enable findings to be generalized to a national population.
"Physical functioning is a well-established marker of general health and it has been previously correlated with morbidity and mortality," noted Dr. del Pozo Cruz. "We demonstrate in this study that social isolation has a profound impact on the physical functioning in older adults. Mandated social contact restrictions and lockdowns due to COVID-19, coupled with more severe consequences of contagion among older adults, have likely exacerbated this trend.
Study findings suggest that public health interventions should turn their attention to the social environments in which older people are embedded, in particular for those at risk of isolation.
"Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges that societies face in the 21st century. We have to start thinking about this issue now to avoid more serious consequences down the track," added Dr. del Pozo Cruz.
How bullying and obesity can affect girls' and boys' mental health
Uppsala University (Sweden), May 7, 2021
Depressive symptoms are more common in teenage girls than in their male peers. However, boys' mental health appears to be affected more if they suffer from obesity. Irrespective of gender, bullying is a considerably greater risk factor than being overweight for developing depressive symptoms. These conclusions are drawn by researchers at Uppsala University who monitored adolescents for six years in a questionnaire study, now published in the Journal of Public Health.
"The purpose of our study was to investigate the connection between body mass index (BMI) and depressive symptoms, and to take a close look at whether being subjected to bullying affects this relationship over time. We also wanted to investigate whether any gender differences existed," says Sofia Kanders, a Ph.D. student at Uppsala University's Department of Neuroscience.
In the study, young people born in Västmanland County, replied to questions about their height, weight and depressive symptoms on three separate occasions (2012, 2015 and 2018). The respondents' mean age was 14.4 years on the first occasion and 19.9 years on the last.
Based on BMI, the adolescents were divided into three groups: Those with normal weight, those who were overweight and those with obesity respectively. They were also grouped according to the extent of their depressive symptoms.
Overall, regardless of their weight, the girls stated more frequently that they had depressive symptoms. In 2012, 17 percent of the girls and 6 percent of the boys did so. By 2015, the proportions of adolescents with these symptoms had risen to 32 percent for the girls and 13 percent for the boys. The corresponding figures for 2018 were 34 and 19 percent respectively.
A higher BMI did not, as far as the researchers could see, affect the girls' mental well-being to any great extent. Among the boys, however, the pattern observed was entirely different.
"When we analyzed girls and boys separately, we saw that for boys with obesity in 2012, the risk for having depressive symptoms in 2015 was, statistically, five times higher than for normal-weight boys. In the girls we found no such connection," Kanders says.
The study has been unable to answer the question of what causes this gender difference, and the researchers think more research is needed in this area.
The young respondents were also asked about bullying—for example, to state whether, in the past year, they had been physically exposed to blows and kicks, teased or excluded, subjected to cyberbullying (abusive texting or other electronic or web bullying), or bullied by an adult at school.
In every analysis, exposure to bullying was associated with a higher risk of depressive symptoms. This connection was also evident six years later, especially in overweight boys. The researchers believe that these results seem to indicate a gender difference in how BMI and bullying together drive development of future depressive symptoms.
"One key conclusion and take-home message from our study is that bullying can affect mental illness for a long time to come, which therefore makes preventive measures against bullying in schools extremely important," Kanders says.
Efficacy of magnesium oxide and sodium valproate in prevention of migraine headache: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover study
Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences (Iran), May 4, 2021
According to news originating from Sari, Iran, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Migraine is a disabling disorder that affects the quality of life of patients. Different medications have been used in prevention of migraine headache.”
Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, “In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of magnesium oxide in comparison with valproate sodium in preventing migraine headache attacks. This is a single-center, randomized, controlled, crossover trial which is double-blind, 24-week, 2-sequence, 2-period, 2-treatment. After patient randomization into two sequences, the intervention group received magnesium oxide 500 mg and the control group received valproate sodium 400 mg two tablets each day (every 12 h) for 8 weeks. The primary efficacy variable was reduction in the number of migraine attacks and number of days with moderate or severe headache and hours with headache (duration) per month in the final of 8 weeks in comparison with baseline. Seventy patients were randomized and seven dropped out, leaving 63 for analysis. In an intention-to-treat analysis, 31 patients were in group 1 (magnesium oxide-valproate) and 32 patients were in group 2 (valproate-magnesium oxide). The mean number of migraine attacks and days per month was 1.72 +/- 1.18 and 2.09 +/- 1.70, with a mean duration of 15.50 +/- 21.80 h in magnesium group and 1.27 +/- 1.27 and 2.22 +/- 1.96, with a mean duration 13.38 +/- 14.10 in valproate group.”
According to the news editors, the research concluded: “This study has shown that 500 mg magnesium oxide appears to be effective in migraine prophylaxis similar to valproate sodium without significant adverse effect.”
This research has been peer-reviewed
Vitamin D and calcium from food is associated with lower risk of early menopause
University of Massachusetts, May 10, 2021
A new study led by epidemiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's School of Public Health and Health Sciences suggests that high intake of dietary vitamin D and calcium may be modestly associated with lower risk of early menopause, the cessation of ovarian function before age 45. Early menopause affects about 10 percent of women and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline.
Epidemiology doctoral candidate Alexandra Purdue-Smithe and her advisor Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, with colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Medical School, evaluated how vitamin D and calcium intake is associated with incidence of early menopause in the prospective Nurses' Health Study II. The study population includes 116,430 female U.S. registered nurses who were 25-42 years old when they responded to a baseline questionnaire.
Diet was assessed five times over the 20-year study, allowing the researchers to capture changes in food and nutrient intake over time, Purdue-Smithe notes. Participants in the study contributed more than 1 million person-years of follow-up, during which 2,041 women experienced early menopause.
The authors report the hazard ratio for early menopause comparing the highest vs. lowest dietary vitamin D intake groups was 0.83 (95% confidence interval = 0.72-0.95) and for dietary calcium 0.87 (95% CI=0.76-1.00). Details of the study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, appear in the current early online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Purdue-Smithe says, "Laboratory evidence relating vitamin D to some of the hormonal mechanisms involved in ovarian aging provided the foundation for our hypothesis. However, to our knowledge, no prior epidemiologic studies have explicitly evaluated how vitamin D and calcium intake may be related to risk of early menopause. We found that after adjusting for a variety of different factors, vitamin D from food sources, such as fortified dairy and fatty fish, was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of early menopause when comparing the highest intake group to the lowest intake group."
Because higher intake of vitamin D and calcium from foods may simply act as a marker for better nutrition and overall health, Purdue-Smithe says, the researchers took into account other factors such as intake of vegetable protein and alcohol, as well as body mass index and smoking. She adds, "The large size of this study allowed us to consider a variety of potential correlates of a healthy lifestyle that might explain our findings; however, adjusting for these factors made almost no difference in our estimates."
The nutritional and reproductive epidemiologist notes that "in addition to placing women at higher risk of adverse future health outcomes, early menopause is also problematic as women are increasingly delaying childbearing into their later reproductive years. Fertility declines drastically during the 10 years leading up to menopause, so early menopause can have profound psychological and financial implications for couples who are unable to conceive as they wish. As such, it is important to identify modifiable risk factors for early menopause, such as diet."
Because associations were stronger for vitamin D and calcium from dairy sources than from non-dairy food sources in the study, and Purdue-Smithe plans further analyses investigating individual dairy foods and other components of dairy and how they may be associated with early menopause.
High levels of exercise linked to 9 years of less aging at the cellular level
Brigham Young University, May 10, 2021
\Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Even anti-aging creams can't stop Old Father Time.
But new research from Brigham Young University reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging--the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you're willing to sweat.
"Just because you're 40, doesn't mean you're 40 years old biologically," Tucker said. "We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies."
The study, published in the medical journal Preventive Medicine, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles, as well as those who are moderately active.
Telomeres are the protein endcaps of our chromosomes. They're like our biological clock and they're extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres.
Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.
"If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won't cut it," Tucker said. "You have to work out regularly at high levels."
Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.
His study found the shortest telomeres came from sedentary people--they had 140 base pairs of DNA less at the end of their telomeres than highly active folks. Surprisingly, he also found there was no significant difference in telomere length between those with low or moderate physical activity and the sedentary people.
Although the exact mechanism for how exercise preserves telomeres is unknown, Tucker said it may be tied to inflammation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have shown telomere length is closely related to those two factors and it is known that exercise can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress over time.
"We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres," Tucker said.