Archive for December, 2011

Researchers find skin treated with eicosapentaenoic acid had 79% fewer collagen destroying proteins.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Various health and skincare news sites have been reporting that skin treated with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has 79% fewer collagen destroying proteins – so by increasing levels of EPA you can protect the collagen depletion and help slow down wrinkles as well as maintain the skins natural elasticity.

The best source of Eicosapentaenoic Acid is TakeOmega3 which is just under 90% EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid. This news followa up on earlier research re a study conducted by Kim et al (2006) discovered that EPA not only prevents UV induced skin ageing but that EPA also rejuvenates the skin. They discovered that EPA administration to sun exposed skin caused an increase in the expression of extra-cellular matrix proteins, such as pro-collagen, tropoelastin, and fibrillin-1 by increasing transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b). An increase in such proteins rebuilds the skin and improves its appearance.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce levels of F2-isoprostanes, a marker of systemic oxidative stress, as well as increasing levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase, thereby reducing oxidative stress.omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cellular aging as they protect telomere shortening. Telomere’s are believed to be the markers for biological aging .The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions.
Omega 3 fatty acid EPA is the most potent natural anti inflammatory , it improves bllood circulation and increases oxygen delivery and works at a cellular level to ensure your skin is toned , radiant and firm.

One of the biggest causes of aging is stress , EPA is key to relieving stress and low mood if you feel better mentally then you look better physically.

It is also a powerful fat burner and increases lean muscle .Omega 3 slows aging at a cellular level

University College London study shows Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat,

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat, scientists said on Monday.
In a study in the journal Current Biology, researchers used brain scans to explore the impact of physical abuse or domestic violence on children’s emotional development and found that exposure to it was linked to increased activity in two brain areas when children were shown pictures of angry faces.

Previous studies that scanned the brains of soldiers exposed to violent combat situations showed the same pattern of heightened activity in these two brain areas — the anterior insula and the amygdala — which experts say are associated with detecting potential threats.

This suggests that both maltreated children and soldiers may have adapted to become “hyper-aware” of danger in their environment, the researchers said.

“Enhanced reactivity to a…threat cue such as anger may represent an adaptive response for these children in the short term, helping keep them out of danger,” said Eamon McCrory of Britain’s University College London, who led the study.

But he added that such responses may also be underlying neurobiological risk factor which increases the children’s susceptibility to later mental illness like depression.

Depression is already a major cause of mortality, disability, and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, it will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.

Childhood maltreatment is known to be one of the most potent environmental risk factors linked to later mental health problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.

A study published in August found that found that people who suffered maltreatment as children were twice as likely as those who had normal childhoods to develop persistent and recurrent depression, and less likely to respond well or quickly to treatment for their mental illness.

McCrory said still relatively little is known about how such early adversity “gets under the skin and increases a child’s later vulnerability, even into adulthood.”

In the study, 43 children had their brains scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty of the children who were known to have been exposed to violence at home were compared with 23 who had not experienced family violence.

The average age of the maltreated children was 12 years and they had all been referred to local social services in London.

When the children were in the scanner they were shown pictures of male and female faces showing sad, calm or angry expressions. The researchers found that those who had been exposed to violence showed increased brain activity in the anterior insula and amygdala in response to the angry faces. The amygdala and insular cortex are integral to the processing of emotionally salient stimuli

“We are only now beginning to understand how child abuse influences functioning of the brain’s emotional systems,” McCrory said. “This research…provides our first clues as to how regions in the child’s brain may adapt to early experiences of abuse.”

Major depression may lead to Cardiovascular disease in older adults

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Major depressive disorder (MDD) may lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in older adults, new research suggests.

Omega3 EPA is effective to treat medium to severe depression as well as that it offers unique cardio protective benefits

In secondary analysis of the Mechanisms and Outcomes of Silent Myocardial Ischemia (MOSMI) study, which included almost 900 participants with a mean age of 60 years, those with MDD showed a significantly slower short-term heart rate recovery time after exercising than their nondepressed counterparts.

According to the investigators, this delayed ability to return to a normal heart rate can be a powerful tool for predicting CV events and mortality.

“The delayed rate indicates a dysfunctional biological stress system, or a dysfunctional ‘flight or fight response,’ and we believe this can contribute to an increased risk for heart disease,” senior author Simon Bacon, PhD, codirector of the Montreal Behavioral Medicine Center and associate professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada,

The researchers note that the study’s results reinforce findings from previous research suggesting that those who suffer from MDD should be tested for CVD.

“Both of these health issues should be treated to minimize risk of severe consequences,” said Dr. Bacon.

The study was published in the November issue of Psychophysiology.

Dysfunctional Fight or Flight Response

According to the investigators, previous studies suggest that individuals suffering from depression may be twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who are not depressed.

In addition, a recent study reported  found that depression and previous suicide attempts were significant predictors of heart disease mortality in young adults.

“There have been 2 competing theories as to why depression is linked to CVD,” said lead author Jennifer Gordon, PhD candidate from the Psychology Department at McGill University in Montreal, in a release.

“Depressed people may have poorer health behaviors, which in turn lead to heart problems. The other possibility is physiological: a problem with the fight or flight response.”

In other words, it may be that people with depression have an autonomic nervous system (ANS) imbalance. The investigators note that heart rate variability is often used as a measure of ANS dysfunction.

“Our study is the first to examine the role of a dysfunctional fight or flight response in depression in a large population,” said Dr. Gordon.

The MOSMI trial was created to examine risk factors for silent ischemia and its effect on CV outcomes. For this analysis, the investigators evaluated data on 886 MOSMI participants (68.8% men; mean age, 60 years) who underwent a 2-day exercise stress test using a treadmill and a single photon emission computed tomography imaging protocol.

While at rest, at peak exercise point, and at 1 and 5 minutes postexercise, the participants had their heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressures measured.

The Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders and Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) were also administered to all patients, along with a questionnaire on sociodemographic data and medical history, including depressive symptoms and medication usage.

Slower Heart Rate Recovery

Overall, 5.8% of the participants were found to have MDD. These patients had a significantly slower heart rate recovery time at the 1-minute postexercise checkpoint compared with those who were not depressed (adjusted difference, 3.7 beats per minute; P = .026).

However, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups in heart rate recovery time at the 5-minute postexercise checkpoint.

“The classic fight or flight response is very adaptive over time. This means the system is easily activated but can also quickly shut itself off after a stress is removed. So it wasn’t surprising to see that the depressed patients’ heart rates were still quite elevated at the earlier mark, and not at the later mark,” Dr. Bacon said.

There were no significant between-group differences in either systolic or diastolic blood pressure recovery at either time.

In addition, BDI-II scores were found to not be predictive of CV recovery, suggesting that “subclinical levels of depression are not as reliably associated with ANS dysfunction,” write the researchers.

“This may explain some of the variance in previous studies examining the relation between depression and exercise recovery.”

Dr. Bacon said that overall, he would recommend that mental health clinicians who see patients with MDD should think about how the disorder affects other physical elements, and that cardiologists should consider asking about the mental health status in their heart patients.

“The key element here is to make sure these different disciplines have a little more awareness of what’s happening with the patient. Ultimately, what we want to do is make people’s lives better.”

Screening Essential

“There’s been a long-term interest in whether the autonomic dysregulation that people have found with depression could be the cause of both the development of heart disease and a worse prognosis in those with comorbid depression and heart disease,” Wayne Katon, MD, professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle, told Medscape Medical News.

“This study is better than some of the other past studies because it measured major depression (not just depressive symptoms) and both long- and short-term return to normal heart rate. And they controlled for exercise capacity,” said Dr. Katon, who was not involved with this research.

He noted that most people with MDD have less exercise capacity, probably because the disorder is associated with an increased sedentary lifestyle.

“Many people with depression have inadequate treadmill tests. But this study used a type of test that was set up for people who were older and more sedentary. So they probably didn’t have to deal so much with people giving up and quitting before a good read could be recorded,” said Dr. Katon.

“Of course the study findings will need to be replicated, but it does suggest that depression is associated with at least short-term decreased ability of the heart to return to a normal rate.”

The main takeaway of this study, said Dr. Katon, is that patients with CVD should be screened for depression.

“We routinely screen for diabetes and other medical conditions because they worsen prognosis. Because there’s excellent evidence that depression also worsens prognosis, we should be screening for it,” he said.

“We’re also finding a bidirectionality between depression and chronic medical illness. So certainly screening our aging population for depression in general is important. And treating it better is essential.”

The study was supported by grants from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and from the Canadian Hypertension Society

Low levels of grey matter in brain linked to addiction

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Gray matter in brains control center linked to ability to process reward
November 29th, 2011 in Neuroscience

In 2007 there was the first scientific evidence that clearly showed a direct co- relation between low omega 3 consumption and lower levels of grey matter in brain research showedthat raising omega-3 intake leads to structural brain changes.researchers reported that people who had lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more likely to have a negative outlook and be more impulsive.
Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable and less likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression. The scientific researchers discovered that participants who had high levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake had higher volumes of grey matter in areas of the brain associated with emotional arousal and regulation — the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex, the right amygdala and the right hippocampus.This finding suggests that omega-3s may promote structural improvement in areas of the brain related to mood and emotion regulation — the same areas where grey matter is reduced in people who have mood disorders such as major depressive disorder .A study published last year found a direct correlation between the supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids and a decrease in anger and anxiety among substance abusers who had psychiatric problems.

Moving forward to 2012 we know through research that omega3 essential fatty acids pay a critical role in brain function and the following piece of research now links low grey matter with reduced levels of dopamine which has major implications with regards addiction therapy.Omega 3’s especially EPA and DHA are a major component of brain cells , they are also key to the proper function of the two brain chemical signalling systems dopamine and serotonin which have been implicated in mental health, addiction , behavioural conditions, Omega 3 fish oil also boosts levels of glutathione and anto oxidant that protects the brain against oxidadtive stress .

The more gray matter you have in the decision-making, thought-processing part of your brain, the better your ability to evaluate rewards and consequences. That may seem like an obvious conclusion, but a new study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory is the first to show this link between structure and function in healthy people – and the impairment of both structure and function in people addicted to cocaine. The study appears in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

” This study documents for the first time the importance to reward processing of gray matter structural integrity in the parts of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that are involved in higher-order executive function, including self-control and decision-making,” said Muhammad Parvaz, a post-doctoral fellow at Brookhaven Lab and a co-lead author on the paper.

“Previous studies conducted at Brookhaven and elsewhere have explored the structural integrity of the prefrontal cortex in drug addiction and the functional components of reward processing, but these studies were conducted separately,” Parvaz said. “We wanted to know whether the specific function of reward processing could be ‘mapped’ onto the underlying brain structure – whether and how these two are related,” he added.

Differences in gray matter volume – the amount of brain matter made up of nerve cell bodies, as opposed to the “white matter” axons that form the connections between cells – have been observed in a range of neuropsychiatric diseases when compared with healthy states, explained Anna Konova, the other co-lead author on the paper. “We wanted to know more about what these differences mean functionally in healthy individuals and in drug-addicted individuals,” she said.

To explore this structure-function relationship, the scientists performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to measure brain volume in 17 healthy people and 22 cocaine users. The scans collect structural measurements for the entire brain, and can be analyzed voxel-by-voxel – the equivalent of three-dimensional pixels – to get detailed measurements for individual brain regions.

Within a short period of the MRI scans, the scientists also used electrodes placed on the research subjects’ scalps to measure a particular electrical signal known as the P300 (an event-related potential derived from an ongoing electroencephalogram, or EEG, that is time-locked to a particular event). This specific measure can index brain activity related to reward processing. During these electrical recordings, the subjects performed a timed psychological task (pressing buttons according to a specific set of rules) with the prospect of earning varying levels of monetary reward, from no money up to 45 cents for each correct response with a total potential reward of $50.

Previous studies by the research team have shown that, in healthy subjects, the P300 signal increases in magnitude with the amount of monetary reward offered. Cocaine-addicted individuals, however, do not exhibit this differential response in the P300 measure of brain activity, even though they, like the healthy subjects, rate the task as more interesting and exciting when the potential reward is greater.

The current study extended these results by linking them for the first time with the structural measurements.

The scientists used statistical methods to look for correlations between the difference in brain activity observed in the high-reward and no-reward conditions – how much the brain’s P300 response changed with increasing reward – and the gray matter volume in various parts of the brain as measured voxel-by-voxel in the MRI scans.

In the healthy subjects, the magnitude of change in the P300 signal with increasing reward was most strongly correlated with the volume of gray matter in three regions of the prefrontal cortex.

“The higher the gray matter volume in those particular regions, the more brain activity increased for the highest monetary reward as compared to the non-reward condition,” Konova said.

The cocaine-addicted individuals had reduced gray matter volume in these regions compared with the healthy subjects, and no detectable differences between the reward conditions in the P300 measure of brain activity. There were also no significant correlations between the former and latter – structure and function measures – in the cocaine-addicted subjects.

” These findings suggest that impaired reward processing may be attributed to deficits in the structural integrity of the brain, particularly in prefrontal cortical regions implicated in higher order cognitive and emotional function,” Parvaz said. “This study therefore validates the use of the structural measures obtained by MRI as indicative of functional deficits.”

The implications are important for understanding the potential loss of control and disadvantageous decision-making that can occur in people suffering from drug addiction, Konova explained: “These structure-function deficits may translate into dysfunctional behaviors in the real world. Specifically, impaired ability to compare rewards, and reduced gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, may culminate in the compromised ability to experience pleasure and to control behavior, especially in high-risk situations – for example, when craving or under stress – leading individuals to use drugs despite catastrophic consequences.”

The authors acknowledge that there are still questions about whether these changes in brain structure and function are a cause or a consequence of addiction. But the use of multimodal imaging techniques, as illustrated by this study, may open new ways to address these and other questions relevant to understanding human motivation in both health and disease states, with particular relevance to treating dr

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