Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cancer-friendly Environment

According to Francis and Diamond the cancer process requires a specific body environment to sustain itself—a cancer-friendly environment. Dr. William Li estimates that food choices are responsible for 30-35% of a cancer-friendly environment. The key may be to stop creating the conditions that allow cancer to thrive. What does this meant practically? 

Dr. David Rakel, University of Wisconsin, has pointed out that your lifestyle choices can even override your genetic code and effectively reduce or even eliminate your chance of repeating your family’s history of poor health. Estimates are that about 30% of how well and how long you live is impacted by your biological and genetic history. This means that 70% of is related to your own choices and the lifestyle you have chosen. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cancer Risk Factors

Estimates are that the average person has somewhere between 100 and 10,000 pre-malignant or malignant cells in the body at any given time. Whether or not these cause disease depends on many factors, including the health of your brain and your immune system, which together create the most amazing healing system on the planet. According to Albert Schweitzer, MD, each person carries his or her own doctor inside him. Humans are at their best when they give the doctor who resides within a chance to go to work. Raymond Francis M.Sc., and Harvey Diamond, authors of Never Fear Cancer Again, have pointed out that although many factors contribute to developing a diagnosis of cancer, there are only two fundamental causes of all disease: nutrient deficiency and toxicity. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cancer & Angiogenesis

Before the 1960s, cancer researchers believed that the blood supply reached tumors simply because pre-existing blood vessels dilated. But experiments have shown that angiogenesis—the growth of the new blood vessels—is necessary for cancerous tumors to keep growing and spreading. Research by William Li, MD, has shown that tumor cells secrete growth factors (VEGF, bFGF) that bind to endothelial cell receptors in the lining of blood vessels, which activate the growth of new capillaries (angiogenesis) in order to bring nutrients to the tumor. In addition, the tumor cells stop producing the enzyme PKG, an anti-VEGF or inhibitor. Much as with tumors, fat tissue is highly angiogenetic. Estimates are that one pound of excess fat may contain from 7 to 100 miles of capillaries. Anti-angiogenesis factors may, therefore, have a potentially positive impact on obesity. More tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cancer Metabolism, 2

Warburg reportedly described cancer cells as having several differences when compared with healthy cells. First, cancer cells tend to be slightly acidic when compared with healthy cells that are slightly alkaline. Second, cancer cells are anaerobic, while healthy cells are aerobic (and use oxygen effectively in the metabolism process of generating energy that is stored as ATP). Third, cancer cells are “glucose hogs,” using 10-20 times more glucose than healthy cells. Fourth, cancer cells can rewire themselves to create energy using glucose—a rather energy-intensive way to generate energy—even when mitochondria (energy factories in the nucleus of healthy cells) are present.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Cancer Metabolism

Warburg reportedly described cancer cells as having several differences when compared with healthy cells. First, cancer cells tend to be slightly acidic when compared with healthy cells that are slightly alkaline. Second, cancer cells are anaerobic, while healthy cells are aerobic (and use oxygen effectively in the metabolism process of generating energy that is stored as ATP). Third, cancer cells are “glucose hogs,” using 10-20 times more glucose than healthy cells. Fourth, cancer cells can rewire themselves to create energy using glucose—a rather energy-intensive way to generate energy—even when mitochondria (energy factories in the nucleus of healthy cells) are present.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Warburg Effect

Based on his research, Otto Warburg theorized that cells that are unable to use oxygen could represent the starting point of cancer. This was debated for years until about 1953 when Watson and Crick discovered the structure of the DNA molecule—which led to cancer being perceived as a disease governed by mutated genes. Plus, “the metabolic catalysts that Warburg spent his career analyzing began to be referred to as housekeeping enzymes.” During the past decade, however, research is now looking at Warburg’s “housekeeping enzymes” (cancer metabolism). They have again become one of the most promising areas of cancer research. After all these years, some scientists are beginning to wonder if cancer metabolism may be the common weak point in a disease that shows up in a couple hundred different forms.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PET Scans and Cancer

Dr. Warburg’s research discovered  found that cancer cells broke down huge amounts of glucose (blood sugar) to create energy for cell replication without requiring oxygen—even though it is much more efficient to use oxygen-fueled reactions as do healthy cells. Warburg tested human tumors and concluded that cancer cells were “glucose hogs.” It is not particularly good when cancer cells are scarfing down 10-20 times as much glucose as a healthy cell would consume. Warburg’s discovery, later named the Warburg effect, is estimated to occur in up to 80 percent of cancers. It is so fundamental to most cancers that as brain scanning equipment was invented, PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans emerged as an important tool in the staging and diagnosis of cancer. They work simply by revealing the places in the body where cells are consuming extra glucose. Your body is considered part of the subconscious mind. Therefore, cancer in the body impacts the brain; cancer in the brain impacts the body. More tomorrow.  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Speaking of Reading

Fact: 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina. – Jensen, 1996

Fact: Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour. – Jensen, 1996

Fact: Approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners. – Mind Tools, 1998

Fact: 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual. – Hyerle, 2000

Fact: The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text. –3M Corporation, 2001

Fact: Visual aids in the classroom improve learning by up to 400 percent. – 3M Corporation, 2001

Fact: Although only 10 percent of secondary students are auditory learners, 80 percent of instruction is delivered orally. – University of Illinois Extension, 2009

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Read it Again?

And speaking of “reading,” remember that reading aloud for 10 minutes a day is an anti-aging strategy. Benefits may derive from the multiple pathways that are used when reading aloud. For example, not only the eyes are looking at the page and decoding the letters and words, but the ears are listening to the words as you articulate them. Reading aloud also requires the use of tongue and lips and teeth as your mouth produces the required sounds. And your larynx or voice box is working to generate word sounds. And if you choose to read a favorite passage several days in a row, pay attention to what is going on in your brain. Are you identifying what you are reading in a new way? Are you perceiving nuances that were missed the first time through or gaining a new over-all flavor? Pay attention. It can be quite interesting . . . and all the time you are reading you are age-proofing your brain . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Read it Again, 2

In their article entitled  “Why Do Little Kids Ask to Hear the Same Story Over and Over?authors Flack and Horst explained how they tested 3-year-old children and what they learned in terms of "novel words" included in the stories. The researchers discovered that children learn more words from repeatedly reading the same stories than from reading different stories with the same number of exposures to the target words. What happens when all the stories are different? The children learned fewer words. However, researchers wonder whether the children are learning something else when stories are different that has not yet been identified or tested?  For now, maybe reading some stories repeatedly and throwing in a new story periodically might be a way to go.

Why Do Little Kids Ask to Hear the Same Story Over and Over? Front. Young Minds. 5:30. doi: 10.3389/frym.2017.00030

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Read it again—Puleeze!

Did you have a favorite story in childhood? One that you begged to hear read to you or told over and over again? Mine was “The Pokey Little Puppy,” and I’m sure I had it memorizing at some point in time. Some have wondered if there might possibly be some brain phenomenon going on. Researchers Horst and colleagues decided to delve into this commonality and see if they could identify any brain function phenomenon. First, they found that children tended to learn more words from hearing the same stories over and over. They compared this to adults who like to watch a favorite movie more than once. The first time through you may find it a bit difficult to follow the story line. On subsequent viewings, you anticipate what is coming next and no longer need to pay such close attention to the story itself. This allows you to think about different parts of the movie in different ways—and you can get an overall flavor.

Horst, J. S., Parsons, K. L., and Bryan, N. M. 2011. Get the story straight: contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooks. Front. Psychol. 2:17. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00017

Friday, October 12, 2018

Cancer Risk Factor – Smoking

SMOKING or inhaling toxic fumes including vehicle exhaust is a major risk factor. Tobacco smoke contain thousands of chemicals, at least 70 of which are listed as carcinogens, for example:

Radioactive elements (e.g., uranium)
Carbon monoxide
PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)

Chemicals take up space that would ordinarily be occupied by oxygen, which leaves the brain slightly anoxic. Prevention strategy? Never smoke; if you smoke now, stop! Avoid inhaling side-stream smoke if at all possible. . .

Good News

Some have observed that in their experience, strategies found to positively impact the brain, also tended to strengthen the immune system. Conversely, strategies that strengthened immune system function, tended to positively impact the brain. Current studies have validated the anecdotally-observed connections between the nervous system and the immune system: increase the health of one and you tend to increase the health of the other. Here’s a metaphor: The brain and the immune system have their hands shoved so deeply into each other’s pockets that you can hardly tell which is which. A brain-based Longevity Lifestyle can help you learn how to stay healthier and younger for longer. In that process, your immune system may also be strengthened. It doesn’t happen instantly, however. Your health did not arrive at the level it is today in a blink of the eyes. Therefore, improving your health is also process. Slow and steady wins.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Proinflammatory Cytokines

Cytokines are proteins released by immune system cells that regulate immune responses. Proinflammatory cytokines coordinate inflammation processes in the body. Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines or PICs have been linked with depressive symptoms, including:

  • ·       dysphoria (opposite of euphoria)
  • ·       anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure)
  • ·       fatigue
  • ·        apathy
  • ·       A sense of helplessness

People with depression have increased levels of preinflammatory cytokines—this may help to explain the reason inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases are often associated with depression, as well.
More tomorrow

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Personality-Immune System Link

Remember the 2015 brain-immune system research done in the laboratory run by Jonathan Kipnis, MD? They discovered that the three meningeal layers that cover and protect the brain were filled with immune system vessels. Dr. Kipnis has reported that additional studies have shown not only that the brain and immune system are connected directly but also that some behavioral traits may be developed and exhibited because of the immune response to pathogenic organisms. Part of your personality may actually be dictated by your immune system linking your brain with pathogens—for example:

 ·       Ongoing chronic stress may affect immune cells in the brain, leading to mental disorders
·       Protective immune microglia cells have direct involvement in creating the cellular networks at the core of brain behavior
·       Prolonged grief can lead to alterations in immune system functions (e.g., increase immune system cytokines that impact and control inflammation throughout the body)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New: Rosehip Brain Neurons

Researchers recently discovered an entirely new type of neuron or ‘thinking cell’ that may only exist in the human brain. Since my middle name is “Rose,” the research caught my attention. This new cell type is called the “rosehip neuron” since the cells are shaped like the fruit of rose bushes. What does it do? Hmmm-m. That’s not quite clear yet, although they comprise about 10 percent of the neocortex. What does it look like?  Molecular neuroscientist Trygve Bakken of the Allen Institute, described this new neurons as “a little different” from other neurons. “It’s very bushy,” he said. Apparently the dendrites are very compact with lots of branch points, making it look a little bit like a rosehip. This type of neuron does not seem to exist in rodents that are frequently used as model species in neuroscience. That may help to explain the reason that many treatments for brain disorders seem to work in rodent models, but fail to work in human brains. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Secret Brain Tunnels, 3

Dr. Nahrendorf’s group studied mice brains and found that during a stroke, the skull is more likely to supply neutrophils to the injured tissue than the tibia (the shin bone in the leg). In contrast, following a heart attack, the skull and tibia provided similar numbers of neutrophils to the heart, which is far from both the skull or the shinbone. These findings indicate that bone marrow throughout the body does not uniformly contribute immune cells to help injured or infected tissue and suggests that the injured brain and skull bone marrow may “communicate” in some way that results in a direct response from immune cells in the skull bone marrow. According to Francesca Bosetti, Ph.D., program director at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which provided funding for the study, “We always thought that immune cells from our arms and legs traveled via blood to damaged brain tissue. These findings suggest that immune cells may instead be taking a shortcut to rapidly arrive at areas of inflammation. Inflammation plays a critical role in many brain disorders and it is possible that the newly described channels may be important in a number of conditions.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Secret Brain Tunnels, 2

The research team began examining the skull very carefully, looking at it from all angles, trying to figure out how neutrophils—a specific type of immune cell, which are among the first to arrive at an injury site—were getting to the brain. Unexpectedly, they discovered tiny channels that connected the bone marrow directly with the outer lining of the brain. With the help of advanced imaging techniques, they watched neutrophils moving through the channels. Blood normally flowed through the channels from the skull’s interior to the bone marrow, but after a stroke, neutrophils were seen moving in the opposite direction to get to damaged tissue. The skull bone marrow apparently assumes a special role in fighting inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. Because of its close proximity to the brain, the skull bone marrow can provide a supply of these immune system cells directly through these tiny channels quite quickly—if everything is working properly, of course.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Secret Brain Tunnels

 According to Matthias Nahrendorf, M.D., Ph.D., professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, tiny tunnels run from skull bone marrow to the lining of the brain and may provide a direct route for immune cells responding to injuries caused by stroke and other brain disorders. This is a previously unknown shortcut that immune system cells can use on their way from skull marrow cavities towards the central nervous system. Rather than traveling through the general blood circulation, white blood cells produced in skull bone marrow migrate through channels that directly connect the skull marrow with meninges, the three protective layers that wrap around the brain. These channels exist in mice brains and in human brains.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Immune System and the Brain, 3

There has been another fascinating immune system discovery. Bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside most of our bones, produces red blood cells as well as immune cells that help fight off infections and heal injuries. Apparently some small tunnels that connect the bone marrow of the skull with brain tissue. These tunnels appear to be heretofore unknown pathways that permit immune cells to travel directly from the skull to a damaged part of brain tissue. When a disorder such as a stroke occurs in the brain, this tunnel apparently allows immune system cells to be sent directly to the site of injury in the brain instead of having to wait for cells from a bone-marrow site in the body to reach brain tissue.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Immune System and the Brain, 2

Louveau, the postdoctoral fellow, asked Dr. Kipnis to take a look through the microscope and see what he thought. Kipnis recognized lymph vessels going throughout the meninges, the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord:  Dura mater, Arachnoid mater, Pia mater. This discovery overturned decades of textbook teaching — the brain is directly connected to the immune system by lymphatic vessels, previously thought not to exist. Prior to late 2015, the belief was that there was no lymphatic system for the brain and central nervous system—there was one, just no one had discovered it! Dr. Kipnis said: “I really did not believe there were structures in the body that we were not aware of I thought the body was mapped… This changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction . . . We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component, these vessels may play a major role.” More tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Immune System and the Brain

You may recall reading or hearing that in 2015 researchers discovered for the first time that the brain does have an immune system. Immune vessels have been found in all three protective layers (meninges) that surround and protect brain tissue. Prior to that, it was thought that immune system messengers could reach the brain through the blood stream but that there were no immune vessels transporting lymph fluid in brain tissue. University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers led by Jonathan Kipnis MD, a professor in Department of Neuroscience and
Director of the University’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, were ‘dissecting brains’ in the laboratory. Antoine Louveau, a postdoctoral fellow working in the laboratory, saw something he had never seen before and that he did not recognize. More tomorrow.