Beat it

Beat it

Why Tequila Probably Doesn't Have Obesity, Diabetes Fighting Properties

By Heather Hoch
Despite several news organizations reporting that a new study might show that tequila could actually help prevent diabetes and obesity, the leap from the agavins, the sugary compound in the agave plant, to tequila, which is distilled from agave, is actually too formidable to draw that conclusion. We know, we wanted it to be true too, but the facts are that the very preliminary study released by the American Chemical Society just doesn't show that the liquor is in any way good for you.
As Fox News reported, the study tested diet-induced obesity and diabetes on a group of mice who were also given agavins, the sugary chemical compound found in agave. Other mice in the study were given agave syrup, aspartame, glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Of the sugars, agavins helped control blood sugar levels and reduce weight in the mice better than the other options.
Agavins help combat diabetes and obesity due to the way that they are metabolized. The natural sugar acts as a dietary fiber in the bloodstream and do not raise blood sugar levels, leading some scientists to believe that it is a healthier alternative sweetener.
However, according to local nutrition expert Sharon Salomon, not only is the agavin content in agave distillates like tequila and mezcal nearly non-existent, the study itself is not yet conclusive to correlate to human diets.
"Agavin may some day be made into a sweetener or added to other products but this is not the type of research that should be reported because there's really nothing there yet," she says. "Unless you're a fat mouse being fed straight agavin!"
We'll hold out for the day when a study actually proves liquor is good for us -- other than maybe anecdotally in an emotional way.

Diabetes May Cause Memory Loss Among Middle-Agers

by Nick Ng 

Diabetes not only elevates blood sugar and blood pressure, it can also increase the likelihood of memory loss in middle-age adults. This is due to the damage in the memory storage  unit in the brain — called the hippocampus — that shrinks in size over a long period of time, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study.
Dr. Rosebud Roberts, M.B., who is one of the researchers of the study , stated that people who had diabetes earlier in life are more likely to have brain damage than those who have the disease later in life. This degenerate process happens over a long period of time.
Memory loss and poor cognitive thinking have been associated with the effects of diabetes for many years in science and medicine. However, this new  study provides solid evidence that explains why and how it happens over time.
A recent study that Roberts and her colleagues conducted was published in Neurology. It consisted of 1,437 participants with an average age of 80. After they were diagnosed as being cognitively normal, having mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or having dementia, the participants undergo a MRI scan to check for brain damage that could be signs of dementia. Afterwards, the participants’ medical records were reviewed to see if anybody was diagnosed with diabetes or high blood press when they were middle-agers, which ran between ages 40 to 64.
Researchers found that middle-agers who had diabetes had an average of 2.9 percent decrease in their brain size than those who didn’t have diabetes. Diabetics also had a smaller hippocampus — an average of 4 percent decrease in size than non-diabetics. Therefore, diabetics tend to lose their long-term memory and recall recent events , according to Roberts.
A previous German research in 2013, however, provided strong evidence that people don’t have to be diabetic to have memory loss.  The study, which was conducted at the Department of Neurology and Center for Stroke Research Berlin, showed that middle-age folks and the elderly with chronic high blood glucose also exhibit similar memory loss and decrease in brain size as those with diabetes. They concluded that high glucose concentration could damage the structure of the brain cells.
Dr. Anges Flöel, M.D., who is part of the research team, stated that the hippocampus is vulnerable and sensitive to the imbalances of its metabolic supply — including glucose. High blood sugar levels may damage the brain cells’ outer membrane, which decreases the amount of communication levels between the cells and disrupt the communication process. Therefore, the process in which the hippocampus encode, store, and retrieve memory and process information  would be endangered. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels of the brain, which decreases the amount of nutrients, blood, and oxygen flow to the brain cells, added Flöel.
Even though the Mayo Clinic study showed a relationship between diabetes and high blood press with memory loss and cognitive thinking among middle-agers, it doesn’t necessarily prove that there is a direct causation and correlation relationship.
Keith Fargo, Ph.D., the director of Scientific Programs & Outreach at Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, Illinois, stated that anyone can be at risk dementia as long as they have a brain. Dementia can creep up and target anyone who doesn’t take care of themselves. Middle age is a time when taking care of the brain’s health is just as important as physical health.
Middle-agers with diabetes may not always be at high risk for memory loss. Adopting a more active and social lifestyle can help diabetics lower their risk of dementia so that they can continue to enjoy conversations with their friends and family without worrying if they will forget their names and faces tomorrow.

Diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age could lead to brain cell loss later in life

People who develop diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain, as well as problems with memory and thinking skills, than people who never have diabetes or high blood pressure or who develop it in old age, a new study suggests.
Middle age was defined as age 40 to 64 and old age as age 65 and older.
"Potentially, if we can prevent or control diabetes and high blood pressure in middle age, we can prevent or delay the brain damage that occurs decades later and leads to memory and thinking problems and dementia," study author and Mayo Clinic epidemiologist Rosebud Roberts M.B., Ch.B said.
For the study, the thinking and memory skills of 1,437 people with an average age of 80 were evaluated. The participants had either no thinking or memory problems or mild memory and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment. They then had brain scans to look for markers of brain damage that can be a precursor to dementia.
Participants' medical records were reviewed to determine whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age or later.
For diabetes, 72 people developed it in middle age, 142 in old age and 1,192 did not have diabetes. For high blood pressure, 449 people developed it in middle age, 448 in old age and 369 did not have it.
Compared to people who did not have diabetes, people who developed diabetes in middle age had a total brain volume average of 2.9 percent smaller. In the hippocampus area of the brain, the volume was 4 percent smaller. They also were twice as likely to have thinking and memory problems.
Compared to people who did not have high blood pressure, people who developed high blood pressure in middle age were twice as likely to have areas of brain damage.
The study is published online in the journal Neurology.

Diabetes and TB: A growing threat

By Dr. Susan Fisher-Hoch,

Editor's note: Dr. Susan Fisher-Hoch is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health in Brownsville, Texas

(CNN) -- Working in public health for 14 years in Brownsville, Texas, in a border region with poor health conditions, has taught me a lot about how disease threats can get a boost from an unsuspected source.
For tuberculosis, this unsuspected source is now diabetes.
Tuberculosis is common globally but mistakenly thought of as something that does not affect the United States. It is an airborne, bacterial infection, easily spread by coughing, and it can be fatal.
It often lies dormant in the body for many years, and most of the 11 million people in the United States who have the infection are not even aware of it. The only vaccine has limited effectiveness and is not given in the United States.
TB continues to have a serious impact in America, with nearly 9,600 cases in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is not only an issue on the U.S. border with Mexico; rather, it is found in every state, with a particular impact in Florida, Texas, California and New York. Drug-resistant varieties pose an alarming threat since the required treatment is so lengthy and often toxic.
Today, the biggest risk for tuberculosis is not HIV/AIDS, which led to a surge in cases in the late 1980s, but diabetes. Diabetes impairs the immune system and leaves a person who has been exposed to TB much more likely to develop active disease.
This is precisely what we saw when we started to investigate TB in communities on the border with Mexico. The alarm has spread to California and the Pacific Northwest, where 20% to 30% of TB cases can be traced to diabetes. TB experts in Florida are also concerned about this phenomenon.
Is this on the radar of health providers treating diabetes patients in the United States? Unfortunately, few are aware of the risk of TB or are looking for it.
They are also unaware that the course of TB disease is frequently more severe in patients with diabetes, who do not tolerate TB drugs well. Diabetes patients often have difficulty completing treatment, take longer to be cured and are more likely to relapse, even die, and develop drug-resistant TB.
TB physicians in Texas are acutely aware of the problem. One told me about a woman with severe diabetes in her 30s. When exposed to TB, she quickly developed active disease. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, she was not able to absorb the TB medication due to nausea and vomiting.
As a result, her TB became drug-resistant, and she had to undergo a rigorous, two-year ordeal of treatment. Five of her children also became infected, and two had to be treated for active disease. She was cured and survived, but this is not always the case.
The dimensions of the problem are truly staggering. Diabetes is an exploding global epidemic, much larger than HIV/AIDS. In India, diabetes has nearly doubled the number of cases of TB.
Today, 26 million of the 382 million people with diabetes live in the United States. By 2035, nearly 600 million people in the world will have diabetes, and by 2050 so will a third of all Americans, according to the International Diabetes Federation and the CDC. Ignoring this new threat could result in a reversal of the decline in TB experienced over recent years.
Diabetes took my teeth but not my life
So what do we need to do?
We must educate health care providers, patients and communities. All TB patients should be screened for diabetes. Diabetes caregivers and their patients need to be aware of the risk of TB, and patients born in or traveling to neighborhoods or countries where TB is common should be screened. If TB is found, these patients need treatment, along with the support they need to get through the many months of daily medication.
We also need strong investment in research and development of TB vaccines, rapid and inexpensive diagnostic methods for both TB and diabetes, and fast-acting, easy-to-take TB medication.
Research largely depends on government funding since the pharmaceutical industry shows little interest in TB. Congress has not made TB a priority despite the increasing risk to the public at large.
We all know someone with diabetes. Diabetes could reverse the achievements of several decades in TB control, but, if we combine good science, adequate funding and above all, political will, we can get ahead of this looming crisis.
We responded slowly to the combined AIDS/TB threat in the 1980s. We need to react faster to the diabetes/TB threat today.
Diabetes continues to spread around the world

Diabetes Prevented by Gene Mutation

Eric Ohm

Diabetes may be prevented by a rare genetic mutation found in the human genome. The mutation reduces the chances of contracting type-2 diabetes by at least 66 percent. The study was based on the genetic testing of 150,000. The mutation effects a gene called SLC30A8 by limiting a protein called ZnT8 that produces insulin. Those who have the mutation seem to produce slightly more insulin and have lower blood glucose levels for their entire lives. The results came as a surprise to the international community because the same mutation the team was studying  in humans had already been studied in mice. The mutation had been observed to actually cause diabetes in certain strains of mice.
The international team began their work two years ago with population samples from Finland and Sweden. 28,000 people were studied and put into groups of high risk and low risk for diabetes, comparing things like age, weight, lifestyle, history of diseases and diabetes. There where 406 people in the high risk group, their age averaged 80 years old and according to Dr. Timothy Rolph, Vice President  of Pfizer a research based pharmaceutical company, they “all had bad habits.” The high risk group smoked, drank, where overweight and had a static lifestyle, but they did not have diabetes.
Two people out of the high risk group were found to have a mutation that limited ZnT8. The find prompted further investigation and the team widened their research base and collected data  from 18,000 people who fit the high risk profile. 31 people from that study showed to have the same mutation as the previous two.
The international team led by Dr. David Altshuler, Deputy Director of the Board Institute of Harvard and M.I.T, met with Chief executive of deCODE genetics Dr. Stefanson in Ireland to search their genetics database for more examples of the mutation they had found. DeCODE is a genetics institute that carries a vast library of genetic samples taken from the Icelandic population. The group found 39 out of 5,440 people had the mutation. Dr. Stefanson said the search took just five minutes to complete. They then submitted their findings to a medical journal but were rejected. The reviewer stated their findings must be wrong because it contradicts what studies  had shown with mice.
The team decided to gather more evidence mapping out the genes of 13,000 more people with similar results. They wrote a second paper and had it published by Nature Genetics. These studies show promising potential for drugs that mimic the mutations effects. The idea is the creation of a drug that allows the patient to produce more insulin and lower the blood glucose levels without having to directly inject insulin to stabilize although Timothy Rolph cautions it could take 10 to 20 years to get the drug to market.
Diabetes has swept the world and is considered a growing epidemic. In the U.S. 25.8 million Americans have diabetes with 1.9 Americans aged 20 or older are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year, according to the American Diabetes Association. If present trends continue it is believed by 2050 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes. The discovery of this mutation may have come just in time to thwart the rising numbers of diabetes.

Lack Of Sleep Linked With Heart Disease Risk Factors For Obese Adolescents

Obese adolescents who suffer from inadequate levels of sleep may be at an increased risk for heart disease, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and Baylor University.
For the study, the researchers followed the development of 37 obese teens between the ages of 11 and 17. They specifically reviewed the physical indicators for heart disease including fasting cholesterol, blood sugar, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. They also monitored sleep levels using body monitors attached 24 hours a day for one week.
They found that the kids sleeping the least also showed the highest levels of other risk factors associated with heart disease:
"However, the strong association between sleep duration and cardiometabolic risk score independent of the effects of body composition and physical activity suggest a potential influence of sleep duration on cardiometabolic health in obese adolescents."

Be happy!

Televisions in The Bedroom Linked With Childhood Obesity

Children with televisions in their bedrooms may be statistically more likely to suffer from childhood obesity than those who do not, according to a study from researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
For the study the researchers reviewed health records from 6,522 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 over the course of 30 years. At the beginning of the study the researchers found that 59.1 percent of the kids had a television in their bedroom. After two years, those kids with televisions had an average increase of .57 percent BMI and an increase of .75 percent BMI after four years.
"Children viewing bedroom televisions might have more control over the programs viewed and might therefore be more highly exposed to advertisements that target their demographic," the study authors write.

"In contrast to limiting screen time, which may require consistent parental monitoring, removing a child's bedroom television is a structural change in the child's electronic media environment that is potentially long lasting."