Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Words of pain.

Professor Thomas Weiss used brain scans (functional magnetic resonance tomography) to look at how healthy people process words associated with pain. He found the words activate the same brain areas as pain itself.

“Verbal stimuli lead to reactions in certain areas of the brain,” claims Weiss. As soon as we hear words related to pain, the areas in the brain being activated are exactly those which process pain.

While Weiss’s study was on pain, the results may apply to other emotive words.


March 31, 2010 Posted by | Brain, Language, Science, Success, Thomas Weiss | Leave a comment

Toads predict earthquake.

Rachel Grant was in Italy last April studying the breeding habits of toads when a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit L’Aquila roughly 50 miles south. When colleague Tim Halliday phoned, Rachel said she was OK, but something strange had happened. The toads had gone 5 days before.

In a paper in the Journal of Zoology, Grant and Halliday go through events in detail, ruling out natural causes and a small pre-shock that did not bother the toads.

They looked at data over a month before, during and after the sequence of shocks. They concluded the toads left 5 days before the main shock and returned 2 days after the last large shock.

The shift in the toads’ behaviour coincided with disruptions in the ionosphere, detected around the time of the quake using very low frequency (VLF) radio sounding.

This disruption has occured historically in earthquakes at a shallow depth. The L’Aquila quake was only 5 miles down.

The authors speculate that the length of advance warning is tied to the slow speed at which the toads can seek out safer ground.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Earthquakes, Nature, Rachel A Grant, Science, Success, Tim Halliday | Leave a comment

Chocolate v CVD & stroke.

In an 8 year study of over 19,000 German adults, Brian Buijsse found dark chocolate cut the risk of heart attack and stroke.

When the adults entered the trial, they were free from heart attacks and stroke, and were not undergoing treatment for high blood pressure.

By the end, those in the top quarter of chocolate consumption had a 39% lower risk of heart attack and stroke than those in lowest quarter. However, 12% of this difference is explained by blood pressure at the start of the trial, leaving 27%.

The average daily amounts consumed were 7.5g (about a quarter of an ounce) in the top quarter, and 1.5g in the bottom quarter.

The authors attributed part of the effect on better blood pressure in the top quarter group, though this was only around 1mm better, on both systolic and diastolic, than in the bottom quarter.

Dark chocolate worked better than milk or white chocolate.

The study appears in the European Heart Journal.

In 2006, Buisse reported on cocoa consumption in Dutch men over 15 years. Those in the highest third were half as likely to die from CVD as those in the bottom third.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Brian Buijsse, Chocolate, CVD - cardiovascular disease, High blood pressure, Stroke, Success | Leave a comment

Acupuncture eases dental fear.

Dr Palle Rosted and others used 5 minutes of acupuncture in patients with moderate to severe anxiety of dentists, to reduce their fear significantly and permit treatment.

The number of patients studied was small (20) but all were selected due to the severity of their fear. Previously only 6 had been able to go through treatment, while after acupuncture, every patient was able to undergo dental treatment.

On a standard anxiety test, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, 16+ corresponds to moderate to severe anxiety. The patients ranked most often at 26 before acupuncture, and 11 after.

The acupuncture points used were GV20 and EX6.

The study appears in Acupuncture In Medicine, a British Medical Journal.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Acupuncture, Anxiety, Palle Rosted | Leave a comment

Herbs help in long life & Alzheimer’s.

A team from the US and Korea, led by Professor Yuan Luo, developed a method to rapidly test certain herbal medicine claims. In so doing they have turned up 2 natural products that lengthen life and may delay Alzheimer’s.

Finding out whether compounds of herbal medicines work is problematic. The team tested 2 available in the US, SQDB and HLXL, both in their entirety and ingredient by ingredient.

To do this they used an animal model already shown to be effective in predicting human response – worms which live only 20 days and so allow rapid testing.

Cinnamon bark from HLXL extended life span by nearly 15%, and that from SQDB by nearly 11%.

Ginseng root from SQDB extended life by nearly 8%. It’s not an ingredient of HLXL.

The herbal ingredients also significantly delayed the development of ameloid beta, a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s in humans.

The study appears PLoS ONE.

Dr C David Rollo’s formula to delay aging is here.

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Aging, Alzheimer's, Cinnamon, Ginseng, Health, Success, Yuan Luo | Leave a comment

NetworkW :-)

NetworkW is Ange McCallum’s latest venture – a Network for Women.

Why women only? The psychology is solid, with key facts affecting women only.

We were aware that depression is more common in women. But when we were doing research for our recent piece on liver cancer, we were astounded to find that one of the types in our article hits women 9 times as often as men.

So the NetworkW website will be looking at news and developments from a woman’s-eye-view.

We’re based in the heart of England, so NetworkW events are taking off there. If you’re around this Wednesday, do drop in because we’ve lined up experts on getting your message across on the Internet.

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Ange McCallum, Fun, Inspiration, Learning, NetworkW, People, Positive Psychology, Social networks, Success | Leave a comment

Food additive link to 2nd cancer.

Dr George Beck and others found that a diet high in phosphates increased the risk of skin cancer significantly in mice, in a study that should apply to humans.

Phosphates are added to processed foods, such as meat, cheese, bakery products and soft drinks, particularly cola.

The US Department of Agriculture shows the average intake of phosphates, for those over 2 years old, is 1,334mg/day.

Mice fed a diet equivalent to 1,800 mg/day in humans developed initial signs of skin cancer 50% more often than those on 500mg/day.

In December 2008, Dr Myung-Haing Cho and team showed the equivalent of 1,500mg/day increased the rate and spread of lung cancer.

Phosphorus is essential for many processes in the body. The FDA’s guidelines printed on food labels are 1,000mg/day for adults. Newer recommendations from the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences are 700mg/day. Teenagers have higher recommendations.

Beck’s study appears in Cancer Prevention Research.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Cancer, George Beck, Health, Myung-Haing Cho, Phosphates | Leave a comment

Flaxseed (linseed) fights cholesterol.

Professor Suzanne Hendrich of Iowa State University (and others) found that men who consumed flaxseed lignans lowered cholesterol by nearly 10% over 3 months. This improvement was not found in women involved in this study.

People with high cholesterol were given tablets containing flaxseed lignans at at zero (control group), 150mg or 300mg per day. The men on 150/300mg per day showed the reduction.

The women in the study were post-menopause, which may be important, because the lignans act as weak oestrogen.

The press announcement says the benefit is less than a typical 10% to 20% reduction from prescription drugs over 3 months, so it is not seen as a replacement.

According to the Flax Council of Canada, different flaxseeds contain between 1mg/g to 26mg/g of lignan, so type is important. At the high level, this requires about 6 teaspoons for the 150mg used in the test to 12 for the 300mg level.

The lignan in flaxseed is SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside).

The results will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition in late April.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | Cholesterol, Flaxseed - linseed, Natural healing, Success, Suzanne Hendrich | Leave a comment

FDA halts unapproved heart drugs.

The US Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to 2 drug manufacturers to stop making unapproved nitroglycerin tablets.

Nitroglycerin used to reduce angina or prevent a heart attack.

There is only one brand with federal approval – Nitrostat, by Pfizer.

Research firm IMS Health found about 80% of the 4.4 million prescriptions in the US last year were for the unapproved generics, made by Konec and Glenmark Generics. These were using a rule relevant to drugs grandfathered pre-1938.

The FDA letter gives the companies 90 days to stop making the drugs and 180 to stop shipping them, so it is not a recall.

The FDA advised people with unapproved nitroglycerin to continue taking their tablets but to consult their doctors about replacement prescriptions.

March 27, 2010 Posted by | CVD - cardiovascular disease, FDA, Nitroglycerin, Nitrostat | Leave a comment

Beta-blockers help in breast cancer.

In a small study, beta-blockers were found to cut the risk of death by 70% compared to two control groups.

Dr Des Powe is presenting the results today at the European Breast Cancer Conference.

In a group of 466 women with breast cancer, 43 were taking beta-blockers for hypertension. One control was women with hyper-tension but no beta-blockers, while a second was women without hypertension.

Since the improvement shows only in those taking beta-blockers, Powe is confident that beta-blockers are responsible.

The mechanism is known. The beta-blockers stop stress hormones reaching the cancer. Since the cancer needs these stress hormones to spread by migration, tumour growth is cut.

Dr Powe is looking to validate these results in a larger group.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Beta-blockers, Breast cancer, Cancer, Des Powe, High blood pressure | Leave a comment