Avicenna Quoting Galen on Taking the Pulse

Avicenna Quoting Galen on Taking the Pulse

I use the Chinese Medicine System of pulse diagnosis.  There are three pulses on the right hand and three on the left hand.   

Pulse diagnosis is the “Gold Standard” of diagnostic tools.

Avicenna, the father of Western Medicine, acknowledged the expertise of the Chinese Medicine system of pulse taking.  And, quoted Galen as saying, "For many years I was doubtful about clearly discerning the movement of contraction by touch, and I shelved, the question until such time as I should learn enough to fill the gap in my knowledge. After that, the doors of the pulse were opened to me. Whoever should study these things as I did will perceive that which I perceived [as it were, a brilliant light shining suddenly out from behind total darkness. Whoever allows these words to be true and not fabulous will benefit very greatly; despair will not touch him or frighten him from the pursuit of his study, even though he makes no progress for many years."]

Avicenna on the Best Time for Exercise

Avicenna on the Best Time for Exercise

It is worth repeating that, “Yesterday's food should have passed both gastric and hepatic digestion, and also intravascular digestion, —the time for the next meal now approaching … it is better to choose a time for exercise when one is not hungry, and when one is hot and moist rather than cold and dry. But the best time is when the state is. between the two. Exercise in a man of hot and dry temperament may lead to illness, and he will benefit by avoiding it at such a time...”

Quality of Sleep and Weight Loss

Quality of Sleep and Weight Loss

Rovira i Virgili University research in July 2019 found that, “individuals with highly variable sleep patterns - that's to say, who did not sleep the same number of hours every night - at the beginning of the study lost less weight after a follow-up period of 12 months. What is more, a high sleep variability and sleeping little - less than six hours - a day was associated with a lower decrease in body mass index and waist circumference.”

Learning a new task? Better to learn three

Learning a new task? Better to learn three

A July 2019 study by the University of California found that, "… older adults can learn multiple new skills at the same time, and doing so may improve their cognitive functioning…" and, "The studies provide evidence that intense learning experiences akin to those faced by younger populations are possible in older populations, and may facilitate gains in cognitive abilities."

 

 

Optimizing Your Intermittent Fasting: the Evidence Base

Optimizing Your Intermittent Fasting: the Evidence Base

A 2018 study found that, “Early Time-Restricted Feeding ETRF improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress.”

A 2018 systematic review concluded that, “Intermittent energy restriction may be an effective strategy for the treatment of overweight and obesity. Intermittent energy restriction was comparable to continuous energy restriction for short term weight loss in overweight and obese adults. Intermittent energy restriction was shown to be more effective than no treatment, however, this should be interpreted cautiously due to the small number of studies and future research is warranted to confirm the findings of this review.”

An Experiment

You may like to try an “early day” intermittent fasting by eating between 7am and 3 pm, or 10am and 6pm, and avoid eating in the evening before bed.

  

Studies and Reviews

1.     Sutton, E.F, Bey, R., Early, K., Cefalu, W.T, Ravussin, E. and Peterson C.M. (2018) Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism, Volume 27, Issue 6, 5 June 2018, Pages 1159-1160

2.     Harris, L, Hamilton, S., Azevedo, L., Olajide, J.,De Brun, C.,Waller, G.,Whittaker, V.,Sharp, T.,Lean, M.,Hankey, K. and Ells, L. (2018) Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: February 2018 - Volume 16 - Issue 2 - p 507–547. doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003248

Eating Protein at every meal: the LoBAG diet

Eating Protein at every meal: the LoBAG diet

In a 2011 study, Gannon and Nuttall of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center studied the effect of a high-protein diet on ghrelin, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-I and binding proteins 1 and 3 in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.  

They, “…developed a diet that over 5 weeks dramatically lowers plasma glucose in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. This diet consists of 30% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 40% fat and is referred to as a Low Biologically Available Glucose (LoBAG) diet. The diet also resulted in an approximately 30% increase in fasting insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I).”

 

Mucus in the Colon: Diet Important

Mucus in the Colon: Diet Important

A July 2019 study by Baylor College of Medicine found that, “a high-quality diet is linked to more potentially beneficial bacteria; while a low-quality diet is associated with an increase in potentially harmful bacteria.”

Professor Li Jioa said, “… we focused on dietary patterns as defined by the Healthy Eating Index … and how they relate to the microbiome [the microorganisms in a particular environment] … In a previous study, we found that [the Health Eating Index] is associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer."

The study found that “…a good-quality diet … high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in added sugar, alcoholic beverages and solid fats is associated with higher abundance of beneficial bacteria such as those with anti-inflammatory properties.”

Cutting 300 calories to reduce heart health and diabetes risk

Cutting 300 calories to reduce heart health and diabetes risk

A July 2019 study by Duke Health and the National Institutes of Health suggests that cutting down daily food intake by just 300 calories can cut the risk of diabetes and heart disease.   

For context, two scrambled eggs is equivalent to 360 calories.

Lead author Dr William Kraus said the study showed that, "… even a modification that is not as severe … could reduce the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease …"  and, "People can do this fairly easily by simply watching their little indiscretions here and there, or maybe reducing the amount of them, like not snacking after dinner."

Chromatin Stress and Longevity

Chromatin Stress and Longevity

A July 2019 study by Baylor College of Medicine and the Houston Methodist Research Institute found that, “moderate chromatin stress [chromatin architectural defect] levels set off a stress response in yeast, the tiny laboratory worm C. elegans, the fruit fly and mouse embryonic stem cells, and in yeast and C. elegans the response promotes longevity.”

Professor Weiwei Dang said, "Chromatin stress refers to disruptions in the way DNA is packed within the nucleus of the cell …One of the factors that influences chromatin structure is proteins called histones. 

Ruofan Yu, first author, said, “Unexpectedly, we found that yeast with fewer copies of histone genes lived longer than the controls…We have identified a previously unrecognized and unexpected form of stress that triggers a response that benefits the organism,"

Professor Dang said, “Our findings suggest that the chromatin stress response may also be present in other organisms. If present in humans, it would offer new possibilities to intervene in the aging process."

 

Sugary Drinks and the Risk of Cancer

Sugary Drinks and the Risk of Cancer

A July 2019 NutriNet-Santé cohort study looked at sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages, and the risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers. Well-known risk factors for cancer were factored in.  These included age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels. The study found that, “a 100ml daily increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer.” But “No association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers, but numbers of cases were more limited for these cancer locations.” The researchers noted that, “the consumption of artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, but the authors warn that caution is needed in interpreting this finding owing to a relatively low consumption level in this sample.”

The researchers concluded that the study supports, “the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence."

 

Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements

A July 2019 study found that only two out of 16 nutritional supplements tested had any positive impact.  Researchers at West Virginia School of Medicine found that only folic acid and omega-3, long-chain fatty acids seemed to have some benefits.

The study found that, “…taking both calcium and vitamin may actually be harmful. The meta-analysis indicated--with moderate certainty--that taking a combination of calcium and vitamin D may increase the risk of stroke.

“But taking calcium or vitamin D alone seemed to have no effect on mortality or cardiovascular outcomes whatsoever. Neither did any of the other supplements that the meta-analysis addressed, such as multivitamins, iron, folic acid, beta-carotene and antioxidants.

“When the researchers turned their attention to diets, they discovered that eating less salt improved all-cause mortality rates in people with normal blood pressure. It also made cardiovascular-related deaths rarer among hypertensive people. But reducing sodium was the only diet that demonstrated any benefit. The other seven--which included eating less or different types of fat, adopting a Mediterranean diet and increasing fish-oil intake--had no effect.

Safi Khan said, "Reduced salt intake was associated with improving overall survival and cardiovascular mortality. This is something that can be backed up with logic because there is a sufficient amount of data, in various studies, that shows low salt intake basically improves hypertension, which directly influences cardiovascular outcome."

 

 

Gadolinium and Medical Scans

Gadolinium and Medical Scans

Gadodiamide, from Gadolinium, is often used in medical scans.

A July 2019 study by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo found that, “…while a commonly used imaging linear contrast agent, gadodiamide, does accumulate in the brain early in the disease, there is no discernible clinical impact.” But that “At the same time, the study found that there were some indications of greater disease severity in patients who had undergone more magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies using these agents.”

 

Local Food Projects Can Positively Impact on Mental Health

Local Food Projects Can Positively Impact on Mental Health

In a July 2019 study by Oxford University it was found that, “those who participated in local food initiatives scored higher on standardised measures of well-being than those who did not participate.”

Zareen Bharucha said, “These findings are encouraging to those of us looking at how sustainability and well-being interact,"  and, “… show that we should be looking more seriously at projects such as allotments, community gardens, community supported agriculture, and farmers' markets, which can bring people together, improve diets, improve connection to nature, and help people learn new things. All of these help to improve mental health, which is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. At the same time, they help build the foundations of a really sustainable food system, which is also fundamental for the well-being of people and the planet."

 

Kratom – Ketum - Mitragyna Speciosa

Kratom – Ketum - Mitragyna Speciosa

In a July 2019 study by Binghamton University, State University of New York suggest that, “…kratom is not reasonably safe and poses a public health threat due to its availability as an herbal supplement.” Professor William Eggleston said, “Although it is not as strong as some other prescription opioids, kratom does still act as an opioid in the body … In larger doses, it can cause slowed breathing and sedation, meaning that patients can develop the same toxicity they would if using another opioid product. It is also reported to cause seizures and liver toxicity. Kratom may have a role in treating pain and opioid use disorder, but more research is needed on its safety and efficacy. Our results suggest it should not be available as an herbal supplement."

 

Image

By English Wikipedia user Ingenium, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4653775

Posture Impacts Taste

Posture Impacts Taste

In a June 2019 study by South Florida University it was found that, “holding a standing posture for even a few minutes prompts physical stress, muting taste buds. The force of gravity pushes blood to the lower parts of the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood back up to the top of the body, accelerating heart rate. This activates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and leads to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol. This chain reaction reduces sensory sensitivity, which impacts food and beverage taste evaluation, food temperature perception and overall consumption volume.”

The Common Cold as the Cure

The Common Cold as the Cure

Is the cold a cure for greater illnesses?

It was of great interest to see this idea supported in a recent 2019 study by Surrey University and Royal Surrey County Hospital in which it was said "Traditionally viruses have been associated with illness however in the right situation they can improve our overall health and wellbeing by destroying cancerous cells. Oncolytic viruses such as the coxsackievirus could transform the way we treat cancer and could signal a move away from more established treatments such as chemotherapy."

 

 

Quorn Protein -v- Milk Protein

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Quorn Protein -v- Milk Protein

A July 2019 study by the University of Exeter finds “mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein.”

Professor Wall says, "These results are very encouraging when we consider the desire of some individuals to choose non-animal derived sources of protein to support muscle mass maintenance or adaptations with training … Our data show that mycoprotein can stimulate muscles to grow faster in the hours following exercise compared with a typical animal comparator protein (milk protein)."

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Diabetes and Intermittent Fasting

Diabetes and Intermittent Fasting

In a recent study, Professors Schürmann and Schulz of the German Institute of Human Nutrition found that, “…fat accumulation in the pancreas could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes," and that, as Eureka notes, “Intermittent fasting could be a promising therapeutic approach in the future. The advantages: it is non-invasive, easy to integrate into everyday life and does not require drugs.”

Acupuncture for Chronic Knee Pain

Acupuncture for Chronic Knee Pain

In a recent, ongoing systematic review it was noted that, “The most recent systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture for chronic knee pain found that acupuncture can significantly reduce pain intensity and improve functional mobility and the quality of life.”

 In this systematic review, they found “… acupuncture administered to adults with osteoarthritis to be associated with a statistically significant reduction in pain intensity, improved functional mobility and improved health-related quality of life. Reductions in pain were greater in trials with longer intervention periods. Though under-reported and inconsistently described, major adverse events with acupuncture were not reported. Subgroup analyses suggest that acupuncture is most effective for reducing osteoarthritic pain when administered for more than four weeks.”

Electronic Cigarettes Impact On Brain Cells

Electronic Cigarettes Impact On Brain Cells

A July 2019 report by the University of California finds that, “…exposure of stem cells to e-liquids, aerosols, or nicotine produces a response that leads to [stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion] SIMH."

Dr Zahedi, first author of the report said, “Although originally introduced as safer, [electronic cigarettes], such as Vuse and JUUL, are not harmless…" adding, "Even short-term exposure can stress cells in a manner that may lead, with chronic use, to cell death or disease. Our observations are likely to pertain to any product containing nicotine."