Stress Changes Your Brain Structure!

In mice.

In the latest study, the researchers paired sets of mice together and then removed one mouse from each pair and subjected them to a mild amount of stress. They then returned the stressed mouse to the pair and observed the brains of both mice. The results showed that the stressed mouse experienced changes in a group of neurons located in the hippocampus, a brain area that plays a central role in memory and emotional response. The brain of the other mouse that hadn’t been stressed, but was now in the presence of its stressed partner, rapidly showed the same neuronal changes in its hippocampus. In effect, the brains of the unstressed mice mirrored the brains of the stressed mice.

Read the source article here.

Diet Success may Depend on Your DNA

Perhaps as could be expected, both in earlier research and in anecdotal evidence in humans, the animal models tended not to do great on the American-style diet. A couple of the strains became very obese and had signs of metabolic syndrome. Other strains showed fewer negative effects, with one showing few changes except for having somewhat more fat in the liver. With the Mediterranean diet, there was a mix of effects. Some groups were healthy, while others experienced weight gain, although it was less severe than in the American diet. Interestingly, these effects held, even though the quantity of consumption was unlimited.

The results demonstrated that a diet that makes one individual lean and healthy might have the complete opposite effect on another. “My goal going into this study was to find the optimal diet,” Barrington said. “But really what we’re finding is that it depends very much on the genetics of the individual and there isn’t one diet that is best for everyone.”

Read the source article here.

This is the first research study I’ve come across exploring genetics and diet.  This supports a belief I have about diet.  Eat what your ancestors ate.

Gila Monster News – From Lizard to Laboratory… and Beyond

While studying the effects of exendin-4 on the pancreas, Dr. Egan and her colleagues found that it also seemed to have beneficial effects on the brain. Specifically, GLP-1 stimulates the growth of neurites (developing neurons) in cell culture, and both GLP-1 and exendin-4 protect mature neurons against cell death. In fact, research increasingly suggests that there may be a link between some neurodegenerative disorders and metabolic dysfunction. The hope is that drugs, such as exendin-4, that enhance metabolic function may also be useful in the treatment of neurologic disease.

Building on these findings, Dr. Egan and others in the NIA Intramural Research Program have tested exendin-4 in cellular and mouse models of several neurodegenerative diseases. The results are promising. For example, using a mouse model of Huntington’s disease, they found that exendin-4 reduces the accumulation of the mutant huntingtin protein, which is implicated in the disease’s onset and progression. The treatment also improved motor function and extended the survival time of the Huntington’s disease mice.

In other studies, investigators found that exendin-4 significantly reduced levels of amyloid beta protein (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease) and its precursor molecule in mice models of the disorder. It also proved beneficial in cellular and animal models of another neurodegenerative disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

via National Institute on Aging | The Leader in Aging Research.

Why I Drink Alcohol v2.0

Medical Updates – Red Grape Compound Showing Promise Against Diabetes | Health News

After an observation period of at least five weeks, the mice that were on high-fat diets showed that healthy insulin levels came back in half of the group due to triggers of what the team at University of Texas thinks are brain proteins called sirtuins also called Silent Information Regulator Two (Sir2) proteins, which are thought to influence aging and stress resistance.

Some of the other mice had elevated insulin levels which was conclusive depending on their diets. Even if the foundation for a solution is here, research is not yet closer to a plausible way to administer resveratrol to humans because injection into the brain is not an option. Coppari also rejects the idea that wine can solve your pre-diabetic problems as there is not enough of the compound in each serving, unfortunately.

Low Carb Diets Damage Arteries

In mice.

BBC NEWS | Health | Low-carb diets ‘damage arteries’

The low-carb diet did not affect cholesterol levels, but there was a significant difference on the impact on atherosclerosis – the build-up of fatty plaque deposits in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

After 12 weeks, the mice eating the low-carb diet had gained less weight, but developed 15% more atherosclerosis than those on the standard mice food. For the western diet group there was 9% more atherosclerosis.