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Scientists Create Genetically Modified Cow

Scientists have created a genetically modified (GM) cow that produces milk with low levels of a protein known to cause allergic reactions in a significant proportion of children. The researchers believe it could one day lead to the sale of “hypoallergenic” milk from herds of GM cows.

The calf had been cloned and genetically engineered with an extra piece of genetic material that switched off its natural gene for producing a milk protein called beta-lactoglobulin, which is not present in human milk and causes allergies in some young children.

Tests on the cow’s milk showed that it contained less than 2 per cent of normal levels of beta-lactoglobulin and was far richer than usual in other kinds of milk proteins, such as the caseins used in cheese-making. The researchers also believe the GM cow’s milk will also contain higher concentrations of calcium than ordinary milk.

The cow, however, was born without a tail which is a rare congenital abnormality. The scientists believe this was a result of the cloning process, similar to that used to create Dolly the cloned sheep, rather than the GM technique used to eliminate the milk protein.

The dairy industry produces hypoallergenic milk formulas by removing certain bovine proteins with the help of digestive enzymes but the industrial-scale processing is expensive, causes the milk to taste bitter and does not always remove the offending allergens, the scientists said.

In developed countries, between 2 per cent and 3 per cent of infants are allergic to the proteins found in cows’ milk so there is a demand to find ways of making milk that is safer for them, the researchers said.

A person who is allergic to milk proteins can suffer a range of symptoms, which can occur within minutes of drinking milk or some hours later. They include vomiting and gastrointestinal upsets, skin rashes and breathing difficulties.

A team, led by Goetz Laible from the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, used a revolutionary technique called RNA interference (RNAi) for “knocking out” the cow’s gene for beta-lactoglobulin. The RNAi technique uses a natural method for switching off genes without the need to generate DNA mutations within the genes.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first examples of the RNAi technique being used to create farm livestock with novel traits. Other scientists are working on ways of using RNAi to create new strains of domestic animals that have a natural immunity to viruses and infections.

Bruce Whitelaw, Professor of animal biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the research, said the study demonstrates the power of the RNAi technique. But he added: “Whether this is commercially viable depends on how it would compare against other methods. RNAi has a long history of successful application in diverse species from plants to worms. This is the first report for livestock… Time will tell how widely applicable RNAi will be in GM livestock.

“This reduction in the level of one milk protein was accompanied by an increase in others, namely the caseins. This is notable since it represents one of the few RNAi success stories in mammals and offers a good example of how these technologies can be used,” he added.

Source:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-create-gm-cow-to-cut-milk-allergies-in-children-8193172.html

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Health and Science

 

Is Running Slower Better?

Running slower and less often may be better for your health.  A recent finding found that people who run less than 20 miles a week at a slower pace of 10 to 11 minutes per mile tend to live longer than people who run more miles at a faster pace.  It might be that most of the cardiovascular and health benefits of exercise are obtained in the first 35 to 40 minutes.  After that, runners burn more calories and get better at their sport, but there may be long-term negative changes to their hearts.  The study found that people who do any running have a 19% lower risk of dying within a given time period than those who do not run at all.

 

Source:  BOTTOM LINE Personal, October 15, 2012.  Study of 52656 people by researchers at Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, presented at a recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco.

 

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Health and Science

 

To Eat Soy Or Not

 

Turn over many a nutrition bar or box of veggie burgers, and you’ll often find soy protein isolate (SPI) featured prominently on the ingredient list.

While there’s disagreement among nutritionists over whether soy is part of a healthy diet (some are concerned about its estrogenic properties but others like it as a protein source for those who don’t eat meat), most agree that SPI, its super-processed offspring, should be avoided.

“A big issue with soy is that we’re eating more of it than ever before and in very processed forms like SPI,” says Middleberg Nutrition founder Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD. So SPI may have started out as a plant, but once it gets to you, it’s far from it.

Here are four reasons nutritionists say you should probably ditch soy protein from your diet:

1. A lot of its nutrients have left the building. “Soybeans are a great quality protein because their amino acid content is similar to that in meat, and they’re a good source of fiber, minerals, and complex carbs,” says Middleberg. But to create SPI, soybeans are chemically engineered to “isolate” their protein, and this process strips out all of the other nutrients the original bean contained.

2. It contains unhealthy additives. Foodtrainers founder Lauren Slatyon, MS, RD, says that the chemical process used to isolate soy protein often leaves behind substances you don’t necessarily want to be eating, like aluminum and hexane. “Think of bathing in toxic bath oil,” Slayton says. “Even once you dry yourself off, some residue remains. Want to eat that residue?” The spray drying method used for soy can also form nitrites, compounds that can form carcinogens in the body, she explains.

3. It’s probably genetically modified. According to the USDA, over 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, so most SPI comes from altered beans. “This means soy protein isolate is chemically modified, processed, and filled with pesticides,” says Middleberg.

4. It may upset your stomach. Many people have allergies or intolerances that make it hard to digest soy. But even if you’re not one of them, soy protein isolate may make your stomach rumble, says Slayton. This is because SPI has a higher concentration of trypsin inhibitors, chemicals that reduce available trypsin—an enzyme that helps digest protein—in the body.

So what to do if you’re a soy-loving vegetarian? Skip products with SPI and opt for “natural, whole protein sources like beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, and organic, non-GMO natural sources of soy like edamame, tofu, and tempeh,” Middleberg suggests.

Slayton also suggests sticking to fermented soy sources, like miso, tempeh, and natto. “Fermentation increases the digestibility of soy, adds good bacteria, and reduces the plant estrogen content in soy foods,” she explains.

And in the end, both nutritionists agree: Like most things, soy is best enjoyed in moderation—and sticking to whole (rather than processed) foods is always a good plan.

 

Source:   http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/how-healthy-soy-protein-isolate#ixzz29KNo4bpk

 

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What Is Myokymia and Do You Have It?

 

Myokymia, or involuntary eye twitching, is a condition that many of us are familiar with. And it seems everyone has an opinion on what triggers it: Is it fatigue? Eye-strain? Stress?

 

“Most of the time, myokymia is idiopathic, which is a fancy way of saying we have no idea why it happens,” says Dr. Andrea Thau, an associate clinical professor at SUNY Optometry and a spokesperson for the American Optometric Association. “It’s such a benign condition, and tends to resolve on its own, so there’s little incentive to research it.”

 

Essentially, myokymia is a twitch — an involuntary muscle spasm in the upper eyelid muscle that causes a fluttery sensation. The trick to stopping it, according to Thau, is to “break the twitch.” She recommends trying alternating hot and cold compresses, which can soothe the overactive nerve that’s causing the spasm. If that doesn’t work, “try drinking a glass of tonic water,” she recommends. “The quinine helps nerve impulses.”

 

Some doctors will prescribe antihistamines for particularly stubborn or enduring eye twitches. If eyes are a bit swollen — due to low-grade allergic reaction — that can cause the nervous system to overreact and trigger a twitch.

 

Huffpost Wellness Editor Patricia Fitzgerald has observed clinically — which is to say, in an observational, rather than a scientifically rigorous research setting — that patients of hers have mentioned fatigue and stress in connection to eyelid twitching. Fitzgerald finds that many of her patients’ twitches are resolved by acupuncture.

 

In very rare instances, eyelid twitching can indicate a more serious condition, like the beginning stages of multiple sclerosis or a lesion on the brain stem. Those conditions typically begin with a host of symptoms, and in this circumstance the eyelid twitch soon moves to the facial muscles, as well. It’s so rare, in fact, that Thau says she’s never seen it in clinic herself.

 

There is another condition that affects the eyelid muscles, a rare disorder called blepharospasm, in which the eyelids involuntarily close. This can take the form of brief, excessive blinking or squinting and can progress to full eye closure, according to Mary Smith of the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation. Blepharospasm affects about 60,000 Americans, and is more likely to affect women and those over 40, Smith says. “It can be problematic, if you don’t know when your eyes are going to shut, you may walk into things or fall,” she says. “It’s definitely debilitating.”

 

There’s a genetic component to blepharospasm and also a trigger — sometimes trauma, a secondary condition like dry eye or even external factors like bright or rapidly changing lights. It is most commonly treated with regular Botox injections and, interestingly, blepharospasm was among the conditions listed during Botox’s first FDA approval in 1988, according to Smith.

 

If you experience occasional eye twitches, chances are it’s a benign. But it’s important to get your eyes checked each year by an ophthalmologist or doctor of optometry to rule out any other problems. Even if it’s simply eye strain or stress causing the twitch, it could indicate a need for glasses.

 

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/why-do-my-eyelids-twitch_n_1844041.html?xid=nl_EverydayHealthWomensHealth_20121001

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Do Not Give These Medications To Your Pets

A huge chunk of the calls that pour into the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA’s) Animal Poison Control Center every year involve pets poisoned by people pills. About 40 percent of the animal poison control calls—25,000 cases—revolve around pets exposed to human medications. “Pet exposures include pets eating dropped pills, owners giving the wrong medication to their pets, animals getting into pill cases or even breaking into cabinets,” explains Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “Just like with children, always store your medication where your pets cannot reach it because, unlike children, dogs will chew right through those bottles and eat whatever is inside.”

Most common pills involved with poison control call complaints:

The pill: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

The problem: Ibuprofen is the most common human medication ingested by pets, thanks in part to many brands’ sweet outer coating. What seems like a sweet treat to your pet could cause stomach ulcers or even kidney failure in an animal.

The pill: Tramadol (Ultram)

The problem: This pill can be beneficial to pets, but only at doses carefully prescribed by a vet. Too much tramadol can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors, and possibly seizures.

The pill: Alprazolam (Xanax)

The problem: The anti-anxiety and sleep aid prescription could cause lethargy and trouble walking for your pet, but sometimes pets suffer the reverse effect and become extremely agitated. Large doses of alprazolam could send your pet’s blood pressure dropping to dangerous levels or even cause collapse.

The pill: Adderall

The problem: Adderall is a combination of four different amphetamines and is used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Not meant for a pet, it causes racing heartbeat, high body temperature, hyperactivity, tremors, and seizures in animals.

The pill: Zolpidem (Ambien)

The problem: Ambien helps people sleep, so they often set it out by their bed, where pets routinely swipe pills off of owners’ nightstands. Zolpidem may make cats wobbly and sleepy, but most pets become very agitated and develop elevated heart rates.

The pill: Clonazepam (Klonopin)

The problem: Used as an anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety drug, or sleep aid for people, clonazepam causes low blood pressure, fatigue, trouble walking, or collapse in pets.

The pill: Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

The problem: This popular painkiller may cause liver damage or red blood cell damage that could deprive your pet of the oxygen needed to live.

The pill: Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)

The problem: This over-the-counter pain reliever may cause ulcers or kidney failure in dogs and cats.

The pill: Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is prescribed as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent.

The problem: When ingested by pets, duloxetine can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors, and seizures.

The pill: Venlafaxine (Effexor)

The problem: For reasons veterinarians still don’t understand, cats love to eat these antidepressant capsules.

Top Tips for Protecting Your Pets
• Always keep human medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication.
• Do not leave pills sitting on a counter or anyplace a pet can get to them.
• Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets.
• Make sure pets aren’t in the room when you’re taking pills. “Dogs especially will devour anything that hits the floor, so taking pills in the bathroom or behind closed doors is the best way to avoid accidental exposure,” Dr. Wismer says.
• Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them.
• Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Top Foods To Cure What Ails You

What to Eat to Fend Off a Cold

White Button Mushrooms – Foodies rave about exotic mushroom types, but the common white button variety could be your key to a cold-free winter, suggests research from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. They contain polysaccharides, which activate natural killer cells that destroy cold- and flu-causing viruses, says Dayong Wu, PhD, a scientist at the center.

Salmon – Three ounces of salmon can supply nearly 800 IUs of vitamin D, close to the amount that some experts recommend you get each day. That’s a good defense against sniffles: Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver found that people with low levels of D had significantly more colds. Without enough of this crucial nutrient, your body can’t produce antimicrobial proteins called cathelicidins, which destroy bacteria and viruses, according to lead study author Adit Ginde, MD.

Sunflower Seeds – This healthy snack is packed with vitamin E, which has been shown to boost the activity level of the body’s infection-fighting T cells. That may be why scientists at the Center on Aging found that this nutrient lowers the risk of getting a cold by 20 percent.

Yogurt – People who ate two cups of yogurt a day for four months had four times the gamma interferon, a natural substance that fights viral and bacterial infections, than those who skipped the calcium-rich food, a University of California Davis School of Medicine study reveals. The key: Choosing yogurt with live active cultures.

What to Eat to Beat Stress

Shrimp – Omega-3 fatty acids in shellfish may boost your mood by reducing stress hormones, like cortisol. People who ate three to four ounces a day lowered their risk of anxiety, depression, and stress by 30 percent, according to a study from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain.

Curry – The curcumin in turmeric — a spice in curry — lowers stress levels by inhibiting cortisol secretion, says a study conducted in China.

Milk – In a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who ate four or more servings of calcium a day had a 30 percent lower risk of PMS symptoms like anxiety and irritability.

Pistachios – Eating one and a half to three ounces of pistachios daily can lower blood pressure when you’re faced with a mental challenge by relaxing blood vessels, say researchers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Red Bell Pepper – Vitamin C, which is abundant in these peppers, lowers stress by limiting cortisol production and stimulates the release of oxytocin, a feel-good chemical. When researchers at the University of Trier in Germany subjected people to the anxiety of public speaking, those who took 3,000 milligrams of C felt calmer and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those who skipped C.

What to Eat to Soothe Stomach Pain

Yogurt –In a study at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who ate two 4.4-ounce servings of Activia yogurt daily for a month saw up to a 78 percent decrease in bloating. The yogurt contains probiotics — good bacteria that help restore normal stomach and intestinal functioning.

Fennel – Anethole, a substance in fennel leaves, seeds, and oil, is known to alleviate stomach cramping. It even helps colicky babies, says research from St. Petersburg Medical Academy of Postdoctoral Education in Russia.

Ginger – Studies show that this root quashes nausea from motion sickness, morning sickness, and even chemotherapy by 30 percent. This may be because ginger reduces inflammation in the stomach, according to study author Julie Ryan, PhD.

Peppermint Oil – Seventy-five percent of IBS patients had 50 percent fewer symptoms after taking two capsules containing 225 milligrams of peppermint oil twice a day for four weeks, say researchers at G. d’Annunzio University in Italy. The menthol in peppermint appears to soothe irritated intestinal muscles.

Raspberries – Fiber, which is found in oats, vegetables, and fruits like raspberries, was more effective than a placebo in taming symptoms of IBS, according to a review of studies at McMaster University in Canada.

Head Off Headaches

Snapper – The omega-3s in fish are great for your head. Almost 90 percent of people who got migraines reported fewer of the headaches after taking two grams of omega-3 concentrate daily, according to a Brown University School of Medicine study. “Fish and fish oil lower the production of a prostaglandin, a chemical that causes inflammation and pain,” says researcher Zeev Harel, MD.

Black Beans – Beans contain riboflavin, a nutrient that has been found to reduce the number of headache days by at least 50 percent in more than half of sufferers, say researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium.

Cayenne Pepper – The compound that gives cayenne its heat, capsaicin, can ease cluster headaches (which typically affect one side of the head and occur several days in a row), probably by destroying a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. Although people who get cluster headaches often inhale capsaicin through a nasal spray, try adding cayenne to your cooking.

Quinoa – Magnesium, often deficient in migraine sufferers, is plentiful in this grain. “The mineral relaxes blood vessels and normalizes serotonin receptors,” explains Alexander Mauskop, MD, director of the New York Headache Center in New York City. In one German study, patients taking 600 milligrams of magnesium daily saw their headache frequency plummet by more than 40 percent.

Source:  http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/what-to-eat-to-cure-anything/?sssdmh=dm17.619475&esrc=nwfitdailytip092912

 

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Restaurant Entrees Exceed USDA Limits

More than 96% of restaurant entrees exceed USDA limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat in a single meal, according to a study of the nutritional contact of more than 30,000 menu items from 245 restaurant brands by Rand Corp.  Appetizers, which often shared, average more calories than entrees (813 versus 674).  Entrees at family-style restaurants have more calories, fat and sodium than those at fast-food restaurants.

 
Source:  Bottom Line Personal, August, 15, 2012 Issue

 
 
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