Tomatoes may help reduce stroke risk

Tomatoes Help Reduce Stroke RiskEating tomatoes in your daily salad or regularly enjoying a healthy red sauce on your spaghetti could help reduce your risk of stroke, according to research published this week in the journal Neurology.

Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant that is good for brain health, the researchers say, and cooked tomatoes seem to offer more protection than raw.  

"This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke," says study author Jouni Karppi, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. "A diet containing tomatoes… a few times a week would be good for our health. However, daily intake of tomatoes may give better protection."

Karppi says it’s the chemical lycopene that gives tomatoes and other fruits/vegetables their rich red color, that is helping to protect the brain. Tomatoes are particularly high in the powerful antioxidant that acts like a sponge, soaking up rogue molecules called free radicals that if left unchecked can damage cells.

Full story of tomatoes and strokes at CNN Health

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Alcoholics Can Help Reverse Bone Loss by Exercising and Quitting Drinking

Alcoholics Can Reverse Bone Loss With ExerciseAlcoholics can help reverse bone loss that results from their addiction by quitting drinking and engaging in exercise, a new study suggests.

Excessive consumption of alcohol disrupts the process of bone renewal, called remodeling, according to HealthDay. This can lead to osteoporosis. The study found that stopping drinking for just eight weeks can help reduce this disruption.

The study included 53 men being treated for alcoholism, who underwent bone density tests, and had blood drawn at the beginning of the study and two months later. They also answered questions about their physical activity. The researchers found that although bone mineral density is reduced in alcoholic men, the negative effect of alcohol on bone formation can be reduced in as little as eight weeks.

Full story of reverse bone loss at DrugFree.org

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Stress may harm brain – but it recovers

Brain Can Recovery From StressWe all know stress is bad for you, but just how bad?

It would be unethical to intentionally subject people to extreme psychological duress in the name of science. But ongoing military operations offer opportunities to see what happens to people exposed to stressful situations.

Researchers in the Netherlands found the brains of soldiers who go into combat show impairment in function and structure upon returning, but that these effects largely go away over time.

The study
A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at 33 healthy Dutch soldiers deployed to Afghanistan for four months. It was the first military deployment for all of them, part of a NATO peacekeeping operation.

Researchers compared these participants to 26 soldiers who were never deployed.

The soldiers who were deployed experienced armed combat and exposure to enemy fire, as well as other common combat stressors. But this did not appear to aggravate stress symptoms; researchers did not find significant differences in post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and mood scores between the deployed and non-deployed groups.

Full story of stress on the brain at CNN Health

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Vitamin K2: New Hope for Parkinson’s Patients?

Vitamin K2 Hope For Parkinson's PatientsNeuroscientist Patrik Verstreken, associated with VIB and KU Leuven, succeeded in undoing the effect of one of the genetic defects that leads to Parkinson’s using vitamin K2. His discovery gives hope to Parkinson’s patients.

This research was done in collaboration with colleagues from Northern Illinois University (US) and was recently published in the journal Science.

"It appears from our research that administering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson’s. However, more work needs to be done to understand this better," says Patrik Verstreken.

Malfunctioning power plants are at the basis of Parkinson’s.

If we looked at cells as small factories, then mitochondria would be the power plants responsible for supplying the energy for their operation. They generate this energy by transporting electrons. In Parkinson’s patients, the activity of mitochondria and the transport of electrons have been disrupted, resulting in the mitochondria no longer producing sufficient energy for the cell. This has major consequences as the cells in certain parts of the brain will start dying off, disrupting communication between neurons. The results are the typical symptoms of Parkinson’s: lack of movement (akinesia), tremors and muscle stiffness.

Full story of hope for parkinson’s patients at Science Daily

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New Stem Cell Found in Brain: Finding Could Be Key to Developing Methods to Heal and Repair Brain Injury and Disease

Stem Cell To Heal and Repair Brain Injuries and DiseaseResearchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new stem cell in the adult brain. These cells can proliferate and form several different cell types — most importantly, they can form new brain cells. Scientists hope to take advantage of the finding to develop methods to heal and repair disease and injury in the brain.

Analyzing brain tissue from biopsies, the researchers for the first time found stem cells located around small blood vessels in the brain. The cell’s specific function is still unclear, but its plastic properties suggest great potential.

"A similar cell type has been identified in several other organs where it can promote regeneration of muscle, bone, cartilage and adipose tissue," said Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson’s Research at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), Head of the Neuronal Survival Unit at Lund University and senior author of the study.

Full story of heal and repair brain injuries and disease at Science Daily

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