Bad Fat May Hurt Brain Function Over Time…

... But researchers report that ‘good’ fat may help preserve thinking and memoryobesity

This study supports others that have found an association between saturated fats, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and an increased decline in brain function, Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, said.

“… it appears that the effects of eating a lot of saturated fat and the foods associated with it, such as red and processed meats, cheese and butter, over time creates a cascade effect of ill health.” Read the whole article

Source: HealthDay.com / Picture Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ADVENTIST CHURCH ADOPTS STANCE ON VACCINES

CHURCH PLACES STRONG EMPHASIS ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING

March 16, 2015 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has issued an official statement on vaccines, saying it “encourages responsible immunization” and has no faith-based reason to discourage believers from participating in immunization programs.

Adventist Church adopts stance on vaccines

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The full statement, titled, “Immunization,” says:

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E.G. White (co-founder of the church), and on peer-reviewed scientific literature. As such, we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs. We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of ‘herd immunity.’

“We are not the conscience of the individual church member, and recognize individual choices. These are exercised by the individual. The choice not to be immunized is not and should not be seen as the dogma nor the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

How brains see

At the micro-scale the brain is a mess; a thick tangle of nerve cells connected at synapses. Mapping just a tiny portion of this mess, a few hundred cells, is a huge challenge. You have to wonder if it’s worth the effort. But seeing exactly how brain cells are wired together is giving us new insights into brain function. The researchers who made the 3D maps in this video discovered a new type of cell and worked out how insects see movement. If you’ve ever tried to swat a fly you’ll know how good they are at sensing motion!

Read about the three studies on our website: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/…

Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancers

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD1,2; Pramil N. Singh, DrPH1; Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH1,2; Jing Fan, MS1; Lars Sveen1; Hannelore Bennett, MS1; Synnove F. Knutsen, MD, PhD1,2; W. Lawrence Beeson, DrPH1; Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH, MS1,2; Terry L. Butler, DrPH1; R. Patti Herring, PhD1; Gary E. Fraser, PhD, MD1,2

 

Importance  Colorectal cancers are a leading cause of cancer mortality, and their primary prevention by diet is highly desirable. The relationship of vegetarian dietary patterns to colorectal cancer risk is not well established.

Objective  To evaluate the association between vegetarian dietary patterns and incident colorectal cancers.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) is a large, prospective, North American cohort trial including 96 354 Seventh-Day Adventist men and women recruited between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2007. Follow-up varied by state and was indicated by the cancer registry linkage dates. Of these participants, an analytic sample of 77 659 remained after exclusions. Analysis was conducted using Cox proportional hazards regression, controlling for important demographic and lifestyle confounders. The analysis was conducted between June 1, 2014, and October 20, 2014.

Exposures  Diet was assessed at baseline by a validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire and categorized into 4 vegetarian dietary patterns (vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescovegetarian, and semivegetarian) and a nonvegetarian dietary pattern.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The relationship between dietary patterns and incident cancers of the colon and rectum; colorectal cancer cases were identified primarily by state cancer registry linkages.

Results  During a mean follow-up of 7.3 years, 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer were documented. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) in all vegetarians combined vs nonvegetarians were 0.78 (95% CI, 0.64-0.95) for all colorectal cancers, 0.81 (95% CI, 0.65-1.00) for colon cancer, and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.47-1.06) for rectal cancer. The adjusted HR for colorectal cancer in vegans was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.59-1.19); in lacto-ovo vegetarians, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.65-1.02); in pescovegetarians, 0.57 (95% CI, 0.40-0.82); and in semivegetarians, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.62-1.37) compared with nonvegetarians. Effect estimates were similar for men and women and for black and nonblack individuals.

Conclusions and Relevance  Vegetarian diets are associated with an overall lower incidence of colorectal cancers. Pescovegetarians in particular have a much lower risk compared with nonvegetarians. If such associations are causal, they may be important for primary prevention of colorectal cancers.

The Reversal on Fish Oil

The Reversal on Fish Oil
Are the purported benefits of fish oil supplementation for the prevention and treatment of heart disease just a “fish tale“? Thanks torecommendations from organizations such as the American Heart Association that individuals at high risk for heart disease ask their physicians about fish oil supplementation, fish oil has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. We now consume over 100,000 tons of fish oil every year.

But what does the science say? A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,highlighted in my video Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil? looked at all the best “randomized clinical trials evaluating the effects of omega-3’s on lifespan, cardiac death, sudden death, heart attack, and stroke.” The studies told the subjects to either eat more oily fish or to take fish oil capsules. What did the study find? Overall, the researchers found no protective benefit for all-cause mortality, heart disease mortality, sudden cardiac death, heart attack, or stroke.

What about for those who already had a heart attack and are trying to prevent another? Still no benefit. Where did we even get this idea that omega 3’s were good for the heart? If we look at some of the older studies, the results seemed promising. For example, there was the famous DART trial back in the 80s involving 2,000 men. Those advised to eat fatty fish had a 29% reduction in mortality. Pretty impressive—no wonder it got a lot of attention. But people seemed to have forgotten the sequel, the DART-2 trial. The same group of researchers, and an even bigger study (3,000 men). In DART-2 “those advised to eat oily fish and particularly those supplied with fish oil capsules had a higher risk of cardiac death.”

Put all the studies together, and there’s no justification for the use of omega 3s as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or for guidelines supporting more dietary omega-3’s. So what should doctors say when their patients follow the American Heart Association advice to ask them about fish oil supplements? Given this and other negative meta-analyses, “our job as doctors should be to stop highly marketed fish oil supplementation in all of our patients.”

I’ve previously discussed fish oil supplements in the context of risks versus purported cardiovascular benefits:

But if the benefits aren’t there, then all one is left with are concerns over the industrial pollutants that concentrate in the fish fat (even in distilled fish oil, see Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free?).

These same contaminants are found in the fish themselves. This raises concern for adults (Fish Fog), children (Nerves of Mercury), and pregnant moms:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day ,and From Table to Able.

Image Credit: Jo Christian Oterhals / Flickr