Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Statins v cancer.

Dr Jonathan Emberson has found that statins are not linked to the risk of cancer, in an analysis of 25 trials covering over 166,000 people.

The rate of getting cancer, the rate of deaths from cancer, high and low doses of statins, types of cancer and sub-groups of people were all found to be the same in control groups on placebos. Length of using statins was not linked to risk of cancer, at least up to the five year limit of the trials.

The results were produced at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Stockholm.


August 31, 2010 Posted by | Cancer, Cholesterol, Jonathan Emberson, Statin | Leave a comment

Migraine gene drugs.

Dr Aarno Palotie has found a genetic variant implicated in common migraines, particularly migraine with aura.

The variation affects 3 genes involved in regulating glutamate levels in the brain. Glutamate transmits signals between neurons, and the problem seems to be an excess that builds up in the gap between adjacent neurons.

The belief is that about 70 to 80% of the risk for migraines is genetic, mainly because people with migraine often have people in their families with migraine.

About 26% of the migraine sufferers in the study had the variant, while 18% of people who didn’t have the migraines had it.

According to Dr Palottie “What it means is there are many, many more genes that predispose us to migraines. This one is just uncovering the tip of the iceberg.”

In April 2009, Dr Anna Ferrari and an Italian team reported on the action of 4 medications used to prevent attacks of migraine, in this case in patients having migraine without aura.

A sample of blood was taken before using medication. Then topimarate, amitriptyline, flunarizine or propranolol was taken by the sufferers and after 8 weeks, another blood sample was obtained.

Controls had a glutamate level in the blood of 9.4 micromol/L. Before treatment, sufferers averaged 62 micromol/L, while 8 weeks in the average was 17.6 micromol/L.

The team concluded that this glutamate reduction might explain why the medications cut the risk of migraines.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Aarno Palotie, Anna Ferrari, Brain, Medicine/Treatment, Migraine, Success | 1 Comment

Cannabis cuts chronic pain.

In a small Canadian study, Dr Mark Ware has found that smoked cannabis reduces chronic pain, improves mood and helps sleep.

25mg herbal cannabis with 9.4% THC, administered as a single smoked inhalation three times daily for five days, significantly reduces average pain intensity compared with a 0% THC cannabis placebo in adult subjects with chronic neuropathic pain.

This is one of only a handful of studies on smoked cannabis and neuropathic pain. The authors recommend more studies with higher potencies of THC, longer duration of follow-up and flexible dosing. Long-term safety studies of smoked cannabis for medical purposes are also needed.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Cannabis, Mark Ware, Pain | Leave a comment

Paleolithic v diabetes diet.

In 2009, Dr Tommy Jönsson ran a test of a Paleolithic (old stone age) diet versus a recommended Diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The patients spent 3 months on one diet type, then switched to the other for 3 months.

A Paleolithic diet is a modern dietary regimen based on foods presumably eaten regularly during the Paleolithic, which includes lean meat, fish, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, roots, eggs and nuts, but not grains, dairy products, salt or refined fats and sugar, which became staple foods long after the appearance of fully modern humans.

The Diabetes diet stated that it should aim at evenly distributed meals with increased intake of vegetables, root vegetables, dietary fiber, whole-grain bread and other whole-grain cereal products, fruits and berries, and decreased intake of total fat with more unsaturated fat. The majority of dietary energy should come from carbohydrates from foods naturally rich in carbohydrate and dietary fiber. Salt intake was recommended to be kept below 6g per day.

The Paleolithic diet produced better outcomes on 7 key measures (HbA1c, tricylglycerol, diastolic blood pressure, weight, BMI, waist circumference, ‘good’ cholesterol).

Glucose improvements were better for the Paleolithic diet, but were not clinically significant.

The Paleolithic diet was mainly lower in cereals and dairy products, potatoes, beans and bakery products, and higher in fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs, as compared to the Diabetes diet.

No advice was given to restrict intake. However, lower reported intake during the Paleolothic diet agrees with the notion that such a diet is satiating and facilitates a reduced caloric intake.

August 30, 2010 Posted by | Atkins, Diabetes, Diet, Fibre, Fish, Health, High blood pressure, Paleolithic, Success, Sugar, Tommy Jönsson, Whole grain | 1 Comment

Breastfeeding v diabetes.

Mothers who did not breast-feed their baies were found to be at nearly double the risk of type 2 diabetes than those who breast-fed exclusively for a month and women who were never pregnant.

Dr Eleanor Bimla Schwarz looked at 1,800 mothers in a group of 2,200 women aged 40 to 78 in California.

Recent studies have shown that lactation is associated with improvements in maternal glucose metabolism, and that longer duration of breastfeeding may reduce the risk of diabetes.

Breast-feeding may also decrease visceral adiposity (which women gain in pregnancy).

August 29, 2010 Posted by | Diabetes, Health, Pregnancy, Success | Leave a comment

Omega-3 v heart attacks.

Dr Daan Kromhout reported disappointing findings in a study of 4,800 heart attack survivors in Holland, who were assigned to one of 3 omega-3 options or a placebo.

They were randomly assigned use of one of four margarines on bread instead of their regular spread – one containing no extra omega-3 fatty acids – one with 400 milligrams a day of extra eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – one with 2 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); and one with a combination of EPA-DHA and ALA.

The omega-3 appeared to improve risk of a second heart attack initially, but by 30 months the benefit had either disappeared totally or was not clinically significant.

The authors suggest that outstanding medical treatment for the group, which had cut the risk for all by half, may have masked any omega-3 effect, although this idea has been criticised.

The study has also been criticised for using margarine rather than a capsule and for not providing information on weight or blood pressure.

The average consumption of fish in Holland is 3 times the average in the US, which may also affect how general the findings are.

Although it was not the focus of the study, the authors did find significant improvements in patients with diabetes who took EPA-DHA.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | CVD - cardiovascular disease, Daan Kromhout, Diabetes, Fish, Health, High blood pressure, Omega-3, Success | 1 Comment

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Dr Kensuke Sasaki found that insulin resistance and high blood glucose levels found 10 to 15 years before death was linked at death to higher levels of the brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s but not to the protein tangles associated with the disease.

135 Japanese men and women were autopsied, providing the evidence of the beta-amyloid plaque. Between 10 and 15 years earlier, when they were deemed free of dementia, they undertook tests revealing blood glucose and insulin levels, amongst other things.

While 16% had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before death, 65% had the characteristic plaques of Alzheimer’s.

Compared to those with normal sugar levels who did not carry the APOE gene variant known to increase risk of Alzheimer’s – high glucose alone raised the risk by a half – the risky APOE variant on it’s own raised the risk by nearly 20 times – and risky APOE plus high glucose increased risk nearly 40 times.

Insulin resistance raised the risk by about a half, but did not appear to interact with APOE.

The authors concluded “Adequate control of diabetes might contribute to a strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.”

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Aging, Alzheimer's, APOE, Diabetes, Health, Kensuke Sasaki, Success | 3 Comments

Grapefruit delight.

In 2003 (published 2006, Journal of Medicinal Food), Dr Ken Fujioka showed that grapefruit produced modest, but significant, weight loss when added to the diet of obese Americans for 12 weeks.

Before each meal the subjects ate one of – placebo plus apple juice, placebo plus grapefruit juice, grapefruit tablet plus apple juice or half a fresh grapefruit.

This was not the Hollywood Diet, which is severely calorie-restricted.

With Fujioka, the only change to normal intake was the pre-load.

Considering all subjects, each of the grapefruit combinations beat the apple juice + placebo, but only the half a grapefruit was clinically significant.

However, when looking at people with metabolic syndrome, each of the grapefruit combinations produced significant weight loss and improved insulin resistance.

Dr Fujioka was unable to give a precise mechanism why this might work.

This week, Dr Yaakov Nahmias published a lab study of liver action covering how grapefruit works.

Technically, it raises PPARalpha and PPARgamma and blocks LXRalpha. This mimics drug combinations such as lipid-lowering Fenofibrate and the anti-diabetic Rosiglitazone.

The effect is to burn fat rather than carbohydrates and to cut production of vLDL (‘bad’ cholesterol).

According to Dr Martin L Yarmush “It is a process which is similar to the Atkins diet, without many of the side effects”.

Grapefruit is known to interfere with many prescription drugs, so a check is required in this case.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Atkins, Cholesterol, Diet, Grapefruit, High blood pressure, Hollywood Diet, Ken Fujioka, Martin L Yarmush, Metabolic syndrome, Obesity, Rosiglitazone, Weight management, Yaakov Nahmias | Leave a comment

Soft drinks v diet.

The Sugar Bureau has managed to get a press release on research by Prof Jeya Henry and Viren Ranawana widely circulated, along with the following quote from Prof Henry “It has been suggested that sugars provided in liquid form encourage ‘passive over-consumption’ of energy from food, but this study shows that the body does compensate in the short term.” Quite a neat trick since that’s not what was found.

47 young adults were given a standard breakfast, followed 3 hours later by a drink, then 1 hour later by a free choice lunch.

The control drink was a calorie-free fruit drink. The other 3 all had 150 calories – semi-skimmed milk, orange juice or sugar-sweetened fruit juice (juice sweetened with table sugar).

Men adjusted so that total calories (drink plus lunch) was the same no matter which drink they had.

Women reacted differently.

According to The Sugar Bureau press release “women demonstrated a trend for greater energy intake following the three caloric drinks compared to the control.”

According to the research abstract in this month’s Appetite, females showed an increased total energy intake following the sugar-sweetened fruit juice compared to the control.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Diet, Gender, Health, Jeya Henry, Soft drinks, Success, Sugar, Viren Ranawana, Weight management | Leave a comment

Crohn’s breakthrough.

Scientists have previously shown that people with Crohn’s disease have increased numbers of a ‘sticky’ type of E. coli and weakened ability to fight off invading intestinal bacteria.

The sticky E. coli are capable of penetrating the gut wall via special cells, called M-cells. In patients with Crohn’s disease this leads to chronic inflammation in the gut.

Scientists found that plantain soluble fibres prevented the uptake and transport of E coli across M-cells, cutting this by up to 80%. Broccoli also cut the trasnport rate.

They compared these results with tests on polysorbate-80 – a fat emulsifier used in processed food to bind ingredients together. This worked the opposite way and increased the transport of E coli.

Polysorbate-80 is used in ice cream, milk products and in medical products.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Broccoli, Crohn's, Diet, Fibre, Health, Natural healing, Success | Leave a comment