A recent Q&A discussed Bikram yoga, the act of practicing yoga poses in a high-temperature room: Bikram Yoga: Too Hot to Handle? Check out the article and tell us what you think about Bikram yoga!
Maybe so. New research suggests that grapes can help reduce the symptoms of heart failure associated with chronic high blood pressure, at least in rats. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that the grapes benefited the animals' cardiac physiology by influencing the activities of genes and metabolic pathways that boost levels of glutathione, the most abundant cellular antioxidant in the heart. The Michigan researchers fed rats that were hypertensive and prone to heart failure a grape-enriched diet. After 18 weeks, they found that the grape consumption reduced the occurrence of heart muscle enlargement and fibrosis, decreased the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue, and improved the heart’s diastolic function. Heart failure stemming from chronic hypertension can result in an enlarged heart muscle that becomes thick and rigid (fibrosis), and unable to fill with blood properly (diastolic dysfunction) or pump blood effectively, the researchers explained. Grapes are a good source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, which the investigators credited with their beneficial effects on the heart. The study was published online on March 25, 2013 by The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
E. Mitchell Seymour et al, “Diet-relevant phytochemical intake affects the cardiac AhR and nrf2 transcriptome and reduces heart failure in hypertensive rats,” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.01.008
Who would imagine that there is milk protein in chalk? But a newly published study from Spain reported that the primary protein in milk (casein) is commonly used to make dustless chalk, the kind teachers often prefer to help keep their hands and classrooms clean. The Spanish researchers found that when particles of this chalk are released into the air they can trigger coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and even life-threatening asthma attacks when inhaled by youngsters with milk allergy. Other symptoms of inhalation among allergic kids are nasal congestion, sneezing and a runny nose. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology an estimated 300,000 children in the United States suffer from milk allergy. Allergists once believed that most kids outgrow their milk allergies by age three, but recent research has shown that many school-age children are still affected. It is now believed that 80 percent of affected individuals will outgrow milk allergy by age 16. The study was published in the May 2013 issue of the Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology.
Carlos H. Larramendi et al, “Allergenicity of casein containing chalk in milk allergic schoolchildren,” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, May, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.02.006.
If you’re at increased risk for heart disease – because your cholesterol is high, you smoke, you’re overweight, your blood pressure is high, or you have type 2 diabetes – odds are that these risks will affect your brain, too, leading to poor memory and other changes for the worse in the way your mind works. This bad news gets even more alarming: the cognitive slippage can begin in your thirties and forties, and perhaps even at younger ages.
A recent Q&A discussed the feeling of stress often associated living with in a world filled with technology: TechnoStress: Stressed by High Tech Life? Check out the article and tell us what you do when it comes to dealing with emails!
Eating grapes may help reduce inflammation in the body. In fact, the benefits may be powerful enough to prevent the organ damage metabolic syndrome can cause – at least in rats. (Metabolic syndrome is combination of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.) Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at the effects of adding grapes to the equivalent of a high-fat American style diet fed to obesity-prone rats. The grapes were freeze-dried into powder and included green, red and black varieties. After 90 days of this diet, the researchers saw a reduction of inflammatory markers in the rats’ bodies, especially in the liver and in abdominal fat. They also measured increases in markers of antioxidant defense, particularly in the liver and kidneys. They credited the polyphenols (antioxidants that benefit health) in the grapes with the improvement. The study results were presented in April at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston.
E. Mitchell Seymour et al, “Grape intake exerts diverse tissue pharmacogenomic effects in model of metabolic syndrome.” FASEB J April 9, 2013 27:862.22
Need a break? These massive wind chimes hang from a tree at my summer home in Canada. They create a sonorous, calming melody as they sway in the wind. Take a five-minute recess from your endless responsibilities and enjoy the green trees, the warm tones, and the gentle ocean breeze.
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