By Sarah A LoBisco, ND
The June Top Reads in Holistic Medicine did get posted…but it almost didn’t!
My brain was so intrigued with artificial sweeteners last week and by a new set of videos this week on the International Association of Body Talk website, that I almost forgot about this important aspect of BREAKFREE MEDICINE!
So, my latest endeavor for my new blog was put on the back burner and the Top Reads blog prevailed. (Make sure you check out my homepage for the June Holistic Health Top Reads to see the latest updates on Nutrigenomics, Health, and Drug Updates).
Below is more brain food that made my top news list this month (my emphasis in bold)! Enjoy! 🙂
Aluminum in the Brain?
This is a good example of an environmental contaminate contributing to a disease in susceptible people. Perhaps it’s more of a factor in those with a SNP to detoxify or for those who have an accumulation of more risk factors at play.
(If you don’t know what a SNP is, you didn’t look at my Top Reads Blog!) 😉
The connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease is less a myth than a longstanding scientific controversy. It began in 1965, when researchers discovered that injecting rabbits’ brains with aluminum caused them to develop neurofibrillary tangles, the twisted proteins found in brain cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder that destroys memory and cognition.
The finding spurred a rush of research. Just eight years later, a Canadian group studying brain tissue from deceased Alzheimer’s patients found that certain parts of their brains had two to three times more aluminum than a normal brain. By 1980, Daniel Perl and Arnold Brody had managed to actually peer inside human tangle-bearing brain cells – and found aluminum there, too.
But Borenstein believes aluminum’s contribution to Alzheimer’s risk is too small to warrant a lot of research. “If aluminum plays any role, it’s very small,” she says. “And there are many other, much more important risk factors to study.”
These other factors include genes as well as metabolic and vascular disease — things such as diabetes and heart disease — that studies have shown are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease; level of intellectual stimulation and educational attainment; and social engagement. These factors may one day help researchers treat and even prevent the disease, Borenstein says.
So where does this leave a concerned consumer? You can try to limit your aluminum consumption by choosing aluminum-free products, Perl says, “but we don’t really understand enough about [aluminum’s possible association with Alzheimer’s disease] to make good recommendations.”
Telis, G. Does Aluminum In Pans And Antiperspirants Lead To Alzheimer’s Disease? – The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com) By Gisela Telis. May 6, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/does-aluminum-in-pans-and-antiperspirants-lead-to-alzheimers-disease/2013/05/03/e2726998-ae75-11e2-98ef-d1072ed3cc27_story.html
Gluten on the Brain: New Research Confirms Gliadin-Schizophrenia Link
The latest study to confirm the gluten-schizophrenia link was published this month in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry and titled, “Elevated gliadin antibody levels in individuals with schizophrenia.” Researchers compared the blood work of 950 schizophrenics with 1,000 healthy controls. They discovered that the odds ratio of having anti-gliadin IgG antibodies was 2.13 times higher in schizophrenics, indicating that t the least schizophrenics are more likely to experience an adverse immune response to wheat proteins.
The discovery of antibodies to gliadin in the blood of both celiac disease patients and schizophrenics implies several things (click the article below to learn the mechanisms):
Ji, Sayer. 60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia. Mercola.com. June 22, 2013. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/22/gluten-grains-cause-schizophrenia.aspx
Meditation Changes State of Brain on Imaging Studies:
Anxiety is the cognitive state related to the inability to control emotional responses to perceived threats. Anxiety is inversely related to brain activity associated with the cognitive regulation of emotions. Mindfulness meditation has been found to regulate anxiety. However, the brain mechanisms involved in meditation-related anxiety relief are largely unknown. We employed pulsed arterial spin labeling MRI to compare the effects of distraction in the form of attending to the breath (ATB; before meditation training) to mindfulness meditation (after meditation training) on state anxiety across the same subjects. Fifteen healthy subjects, with no prior meditation experience, participated in 4 d of mindfulness meditation training. ATB did not reduce state anxiety, but state anxiety was significantly reduced in every session that subjects meditated. Meditation-related anxiety relief was associated with activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex and anterior insula. Meditation-related activation in these regions exhibited a strong relationship to anxiety relief when compared to ATB. During meditation, those who exhibited greater default-related activity (i.e. posterior cingulate cortex) reported greater anxiety, possibly reflecting an inability to control self-referential thoughts. These findings provide evidence that mindfulness meditation attenuates anxiety through mechanisms involved in the regulation of self-referential thought processes.
Fadel Zeidan, Katherine T. Martucci, Robert A. Kraft, John G. McHaffie, Robert C. Coghill. Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief (abstract). Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci (April 24, 2013 online) doi: 10.1093/scan/nst041 http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/03/scan.nst041.abstract
Yogic Genetic Effects on Mind-Body
One of the most common integrative medicine (IM) modalities is yoga and related practices. Previous work has shown that yoga may improve wellness in healthy people and have benefits for patients. However, the mechanisms of how yoga may positively affect the mind-body system are largely unknown. Here we have assessed possible rapid changes in global gene expression profiles in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in healthy people that practiced either a comprehensive yoga program or a control regimen. The experimental sessions included gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation (Sudarshan Kriya and Related Practices – SK&P) compared with a control regimen of a nature walk and listening to relaxing music. We show that the SK&P program has a rapid and significantly greater effect on gene expression in PBMCs compared with the control regimen. These data suggest that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations which may be the basis for their longer term cell biological and higher level health effects.
Qu S, Olafsrud SM, Meza-Zepeda LA, Saatcioglu F (2013) Rapid Gene Expression Changes in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes upon Practice of a Comprehensive Yoga Program. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61910. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061910