The Man Who Wants to Beat Back Aging

On a blazingly hot morning this past June, a half-dozen scientists convened in a hotel conference room in suburban Maryland for the dress rehearsal of what they saw as a landmark event in the history of aging research. In a few hours, the group would meet with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a few kilometers away, to pitch an unprecedented clinical trial—nothing less than the first test of a drug to specifically target the process of human aging.

Source: The man who wants to beat back aging

Metformin is a standard medication for diabetics, taken by millions since 1957.  One would think its anti-ageing powers would have been revealed by now…  They give no logic behind how they arrived at the 120 year lifespan.  I can only assume they extrapolated from worm and certain mice strain models – this methodology has been shown to be extremely flawed.

Study: The Body Shape That Protects Women From Diabetes

I’m in shape – “round” is a shape.

Pear-shaped women are “significantly” less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with smaller hips, according to new research.

The findings, which were presented this weekend at the American Society of Human Genetics’ annual meeting, traced the connection to a genetic variation carried by women with hips that are larger in comparison to the rest of their body.

Source: The Body Shape That Protects Women From Diabetes

Regardless, as we gain weight – the likelihood of getting [type 2] diabetes increases.

Fructose Discovery Could Lead To Treatments For Cancer, Obesity And Diabetes

A study at Stockholm University, deploying x-ray crystallography, has found out how our body processes fructose. Here it has been found that a specific protein called GLUT5, functioning at the atomic level, transports fructose through the cell membrane.

Source: New Discovery About Fructose Could Lead To Treatments For Cancer, Obesity And Diabetes

The article misses the point entirely. To see what the real discovery is, you have to go to the linked abstract.  It’s not that we’ve newly discovered GLUT5’s purpose, it’s that they found out it acts strangely in certain diseases….

Certain diseases can apparently re-task the fructose transporter GLUT5 to move glucose instead, which all the cells in the body can utilize. Also, the number of transporters is increased. This is just a mechanism to get more glucose into the cells faster, which makes sense when you see the diseases linked to this. Seems like a strange workaround to use a fructose transporter instead of more GLUT1, but hey, it’s a mutation.

The bit about cancer inhibitors is promising. Cancer is repurposing GLUT5 so it can grow faster. Your body doesn’t need fructose in any capacity, so if you completely block GLUT5 through your entire body, you can slow cancer growth without hurting normal cells.

Stem Cell Trial Aims to Cure Blindness

Surgeons in London have carried out a pioneering human embryonic stem cell operation in an ongoing trial to find a cure for blindness for many patients.

Source: Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

They’ll have to wait til at least Christmas to see if the patients’ vision has improved and if it is sustainable.

They used an embryonic stem cell in an attempt to rebuild the RPE, which is how they can apply it to dry AMD (I did not gather that any drusen would be removed, but I guess it would strengthen the integrity of the RPE after suffering mottling/RPED’s, and thus prevent the choroid from breaking through???). This might, one day, potentially cure only “wet” macular degeneration (MD).  Wet is the less common (10%) kind of MD, but there are still going to be millions affected by the more common “dry” (non-leaking) type of MD.

That said, a company called OCATA has halted blindness from MD (dry and Stargardt’s) in 17 out of 18 patients, and actually improved vision in 10. They have patented a technique to regrow stem cells and they are the real deal, now in Phase II I believe.

Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

In surprising new research, experts report that the timing of taking your blood pressure medicine could have a big impact on whether or not you develop type 2 diabetes.

Specifically, the Spanish researchers found that taking blood pressure medications at bedtime rather than waiting until morning may cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half.

Source: Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

Controlling blood pressure is one of the main goals in the care of diabetics. The ultimate disease processes that kills people in diabetes is atherosclerosis which then leads to coronary artery and peripheral arterial disease. It also leads to chronic renal insufficiency (bad kidneys, basically – that’s why diabetics tend to end up on dialysis), retinopathy, and arguably contributes significantly to vascular dementia and stroke. Any number of those consequences of diabetes can be fatal.

So, then, if we can prevent atherosclerosis in the first place, we can prevent many of those downstream consequences. That’s why it’s important to control things like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and activity level in patients with diabetes. Using that logic, it makes sense that this would be helpful to someone who already has diabetes as well (and for similar reasons).

That said, there is a link between nocturnal hypotension and ischemic optic neuropathy. So you may reduce your diabetes risk, but you may increase your risk of vision loss. The theory is the low blood pressure at night time leads to such low perfusion of the optic nerve that it is irreparably damaged. As a result, physicians may recommend the opposite of this study. I should point out this is anecdotal evidence from other doctors. Large scale studies proving this link have not been performed.  See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721361/

It’s also been found that taking your aspirin at bedtime is more effective.

Coffee Reveals Itself as an Unlikely Elixir

For a historically mistrusted drink, coffee is proving to be a healthy addiction. Scientific findings in support of coffee’s nutritional attributes have been arriving at a steady drip since the 1980s, when Norwegian researchers reported that coffee seemed to fend off liver disease. Since then, the dark brown beverage has shown value against liver cancer, too, as well as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Coffee even appears to protect against depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Source: Coffee reveals itself as an unlikely elixir

It was only last week that I had news about coffee screwing with your internal clock, along with mentioning the following:

Drinking Coffee Late in the Day Will Screw Up Your Internal Clock

It’s no secret that drinking coffee shortly before bedtime disrupts sleep, but a new study suggests that caffeine can actually affect our body’s internal clock, pushing back our natural rhythms by nearly an hour.

Source: Drinking Coffee Late in the Day Will Screw Up Your Internal Clock

Related reads:

Do the benefits outweigh the lack of sleep?

Quebec Strawberry has Potential to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Quebec may be known for maple syrup and poutine, but perhaps soon strawberries can be added to the list. A varietal known as the Authentic Orleans strawberry appears to help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Source: Quebec strawberry has potential to reduce Type 2 diabetes risk

Don’t go running out for strawberries just yet.  The findings are preliminary, but more fruit & veg is always a good idea.

Soda Executives Are Just as Evil as Tobacco Executives

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

Source: Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

It’s standard marketing, in the same way that a parent company will sell different brands in an effort to get business from those who’d buy one brand and not the other for various reasons.

8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda

You’ve decided to give up diet soda—good idea! Maybe you weren’t hitting your weight-loss goals or couldn’t stomach that long list of ingredients anymore. Or perhaps you heard one too many times that it’s just not good for you.

Whatever the reason, eliminating diet soda from your diet will improve your health from head to toe. Research on diet soda is still in its infancy, but there’s enough out there to identify what you can look forward to when you put down the can and cool down with an unsweetened iced tea instead.

Source: 8 Things That Happen When You Finally Stop Drinking Diet Soda

Sorry, but soda/pop is one place I will not consider the diet alternative.  Simply due to taste – most just prompted me to drink water instead (for the best anyway, but not for Big Soda/Pop).

The aspect of weight loss because of coming off diet soda/pop isn’t that surprising.  It’s often suggested that we consume more because we’re under the impression the food/beverage is healthier so we can consume more. As the joke goes: I’ll have the extra large burger, extra large fries, and …a diet soft drink.