Archives for October 2012

Fresh

Fresh (2009) celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

Learn more at www.freshthemovie.com

Mad Child Disease (Lecture)

Is the autism epidemic a “mad child disease” linked to mercury? This lecture was presented by Boyd Haley, Ph.D. at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness held in San Diego, California; June 2004.

Rethinking Cancer

Rethinking Cancer (2009) is a educational documentary film that provides a rare look into the psychological and therapeutic journeys of five men and women who used biological therapies to overcome serious illness. Their stories represent successes that mainstream medicine and the public ought to know about.

Four of the featured subjects had been diagnosed with cancer; two of these patients were considered terminal cases. The fifth patient had a severe case of Lyme disease. All five have outlived their diseases, between 15 and nearly 40 years, thus far.

Learn more at http://www.rethinkingcancer.org

Prebiotic May Help Patients With Intestinal Failure Grow New and Better Gut

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)

Adding the right prebiotic to the diets of pediatric patients with intestinal failure could replace intravenous feeding, says a new University of Illinois study.

“When we fed the carbohydrate fructooligosacharide (FOS) as a prebiotic, the gut grew and increased in function,” said Kelly A. Tappenden, a U of I professor of nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology. “The study showed that using the correct pre- and probiotic in combination could enhance these results even more.”

When FOS enters the intestines, bacteria convert it into butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that increases the size of the gut and its ability to digest and absorb nutrients, she said.

But today’s IV solutions don’t contain butyrate and adding it would entail drug development trials and regulatory red tape. She wanted to see if adding this carbohydrate to the diet while continuing to provide most nutrients intravenously would cause the gut to start producing butyrate on its own. It worked.

According to Tappenden, at least 10,000 U.S. patients are totally reliant on intravenous feeding because their intestines have been surgically shortened.

Many of these patients are premature infants who develop necrotizing enterocolitis, a kind of gangrene of the intestine. In the U.S., one in eight infants is a preemie, and removing necrotized, or dead, intestine is the most common surgical emergency in these babies.

“Surgery saves their lives, but with so much intestine removed, they’re unable to digest or absorb nutrients. These babies are also at risk for long-term complications, such as bone demineralization and liver failure. Our goal is to take kids who’ve had this resection and cause their gut to grow and adapt,” she said.

She tested her hypothesis about butyrate using newborn piglets, an excellent model for the human infant in metabolism and physiology. Piglets with intestinal failure were assigned to one of four groups: a control group; a group whose diet contained FOS, a carbohydrate given as a prebiotic to stimulate the production of butyrate by beneficial bacteria; a probiotic, or actual live bacteria; and a combination of pre- and probiotics.

“We believed that bacteria in the gut would use the prebiotic to make butyrate and support intestinal growth. But we thought that might only happen in the group that received both pre- and probiotics because we didn’t know if the newborn gut would have enough bacteria to make this important short-chain fatty acid.”

Actually, the neonatal piglets did have enough bacteria in their guts, and the prebiotic alone was effective in increasing intestinal function and structure, she said.

“In fact, the probiotic that we used in one of the groups eliminated the beneficial effect of the prebiotic. That shows us that we need to be exceptionally careful in selecting the probiotic we use, matching it to the specific disease,” she noted. Many consumers believe all probiotics are equal, but the effect of specific bacterial strains is different, she said.

“At this point, we can only recommend consumption of the FOS prebiotic alone,” she added.

 

Reference 

Barnes JL, Hartmann B, Holst JJ, Tappenden KA. Intestinal adaptation is stimulated by partial enteral nutrition supplemented with the prebiotic short-chain fructooligosaccharide in a neonatal intestinal failure piglet model. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2012; 36 (5):  524-37.

Ingredients

American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. Ingredients (2009) explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. Discovering better flavor and nutrition, Ingredients is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.

Learn more at www.ingredientsfilm.com

King Corn

King Corn (2007) is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm.

 

 

Got the facts on Milk?

Got the facts on Milk? The Milk Documentary (2011) is an entertaining, award winning feature documentary that dares to question the conventional wisdom of the much publicized health benefits of milk and dairy products. Addressing myth, truth and all in-between, the film is a humorous yet shocking exposition that provokes serious thought about this everyday staple.

The film raises questions about dairy’s role in cancer, osteoporosis, weight gain, asthma, acne, early menstruation, and more; covers the preponderance of lactose intolerance in communities of color, and explains why diary consumption is fraught with high-stakes political, economic, ethical and environmental considerations.

The most profound question that the movie raises is “should we be consuming dairy products?” Well if you believe the experts in the movie the answer is a resounding, NO!

Learn more at www.MilkDocumentary.com

Omega-3 Intake Heightens Working Memory in Healthy Young Adults

University of Pittsburgh researchers publish first-ever Omega-3 study on a population at the “top of its cognitive game”. 

While Omega-3 essential fatty acids—found in foods like wild fish and grass-fed livestock—are necessary for human body functioning, their effects on the working memory of healthy young adults have not been studied until now.

In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that healthy young adults ages 18-25 can improve their working memory even further by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Their findings have been published online in PLOS One.

“Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best,” said Bita Moghaddam, project investigator and professor of neuroscience. “We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game.”

Led by Rajesh Narendarn, project principal investigator and associate professor of radiology, the Pitt research team sought healthy young men and women from all ethnicities to boost their Omega-3 intake with supplements for six months. They were monitored monthly through phone calls and outpatient procedures.

Before they began taking the supplements, all participants underwent positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, and their blood samples were analyzed. They were then asked to perform a working memory test in which they were shown a series of letters and numbers. The young adults had to keep track of what appeared one, two, and three times prior, known as a simple “n-back test.”

“What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma Omega-3,” said Moghaddam. “This means that the Omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.”

After six months of taking Lovaza—an Omega-3 supplement approved by the Federal Drug Administration—the participants were asked to complete this series of outpatient procedures again. It was during this last stage, during the working memory test and blood sampling, that the improved working memory of this population was revealed.

“So many of the previous studies have been done with the elderly or people with medical conditions, leaving this unique population of young adults unaddressed,” said Matthew Muldoon, project coinvestigator and associate professor of medicine at Pitt. “But what about our highest-functioning periods? Can we help the brain achieve its full potential by adapting our healthy behaviors in our young adult life? We found that we absolutely can.”

Although the effects of Omega-3s on young people were a focus, the Pitt team was also hoping to determine the brain mechanism associated with Omega-3 regulation. Previous rodent studies suggested that removing Omega-3 from the diet might reduce dopamine storage (the neurotransmitter associated with mood as well as working memory) and decrease density in the striatal vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 (commonly referred to as VMAT2, a protein associated with decision making). Therefore, the Pitt researchers posited that increasing VMAT2 protein was the mechanism of action that boosted cognitive performance. Unfortunately, PET imaging revealed this was not the case.

“It is really interesting that diets enriched with Omega-3 fatty acid can enhance cognition in highly functional young individuals,” said Narendarn. “Nevertheless, it was a bit disappointing that our imaging studies were unable to clarify the mechanisms by which it enhances working memory.”

Ongoing animal modeling studies in the Moghaddam lab indicate that brain mechanisms that are affected by Omega-3s may be differently influenced in adolescents and young adults than they are in older adults. With this in mind, the Pitt team will continue to evaluate the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in this younger population to find the mechanism that improves cognition.

Other Pitt researchers involved in the project include William G. Frankle, professor of psychiatry, and Neal S. Mason, research assistant professor of radiology.

 

Reference

Narendran R, Frankle WG, Mason NS, Muldoon MF, Moghaddam B. Improved working memory but no effect on striatal vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 after omega-3 polyunsaturated Fatty Acid supplementation. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46832. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046832. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

The Greater Good

The Greater Good  (2011) looks behind the fear, hype and politics that polarize people into emotionally charged pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine camps with no room for middle ground. Filmmakers Leslie Manookian, Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro spent over five years researching and making the film, which follows three families personally affected by vaccination.  The film also features interviews by experts from all sides of the issue.

Learn more at www.greatergoodmovie.org

Antibiotics During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Epilepsy in Children

foodconsumer.org – Prenatal antibiotics linked to high risk of epilepsyMonday Oct 22, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) — A new study in Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology suggests that taking cystitis antibiotics during pregnancy increases risk of epilepsy in children. J. E. Miller of School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA and colleagues conducted the study and found taking cystitis antibiotics during pregnancy was associated with 10 to 20 percent increased risk of epilepsy in children.

Embedly Powered

Reference
Miller JE, Pedersen LH, Sun Y, Olsen J. Maternal Use of Cystitis Medication and Childhood Epilepsy in a Danish Population-based Cohort. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2012; 26 (6): 589-95.