Chia Seeds May Exert Cardioprotective Effects

A number of previous studies have suggested that increased, long-term consumption of foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may counter the inflammation response, thereby exerting a cardioprotective effect.  Fuxia Jin, from Appalachian State University (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues enrolled 10 menopausal women, average age 55.6 years and average BMI 24.6 kg/m2, in a seven-week long study. Subjects consumed 25 g per day of milled chia seed.  The team observed that blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) rose by 138%, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) rose by 30%.

Fuxia Jin, David C. Nieman, Wei Sha, Guoxiang Xie and Yunping Qiu, et al. “Supplementation of Milled Chia Seeds Increases Plasma ALA and EPA in Postmenopausal Women.”  Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 2012, Volume 67, Number 2, Pages 105-110.

Wild Blueberries May Decrease Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are rich in phytochemicals such as polyphenols including flavonols, phenolic acids and anthocyanins, compounds for which previous studies have reported an association with reduced risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.  Patrizia Riso, from the University of Milan (Italy), and colleagues enrolled 18 men, average age 48 years with at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, to participate in a six-week long study. Participants consumed a daily glass of wild blueberry juice, or placebo. Among those consuming the juice, the researchers observed that DNA damage in white blood cells was reduced from 12.5% to 9.6%, whereas no changes were observed in the placebo group. As well, after exposing blood cells to hydrogen peroxide, DNA damage was reduced from 45.8% to 37.2% among the juice group, with no changes observed in the placebo group. The study authors conclude that: "the consumption of the [wild blueberry] drink for 6 weeks significantly reduced the levels of oxidized DNA bases and increased the resistance to oxidatively induced DNA damage.”

Patrizia Riso, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Cristian Del Bo’, Daniela Martini and Jonica Campolo, et al. “Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors.” European Journal of Nutrition, 25 June 2012.

Protein Molecule Essential for Stem Cell Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease Identified

Human heart tissue does not heal well after a heart attack, instead forming de- bilitating scars. For reasons not completely understood, however, stem cells can assist in this repair process by turning into the cells that make up healthy heart tissue, including heart muscle and blood vessels. Previous studies have reported promising early results in the use of cardiac stem cells to curb the formation of unhealthy scar tissue after a heart attack. Now, Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA) researchers have discovered that a single protein molecule may hold the key to turning cardiac stem cells into blood vessels or muscle tis- sue, a finding that may lead to better ways to treat heart attack patients. The team modified a protein molecule called p190RhoGAP, thereby shaping the de- velopment of cardiac stem cells and encouraging them to become the building blocks for either blood vessels or heart muscle. The team members said that by altering levels of this protein, they were able to affect the future of these stem cells. The researchers are hopeful that future research will elucidate what ex- actly prompts the stem cells to convert into beneficial heart tissue, the answer to which may help to yield even better stem cell therapy results.

Kshitiz, Maimon E. Hubbi, Eun Hyun Ahn, John Downey, Junaid Afzal, Deok-Ho Kim, Ser- gio Rey, Connie Chang, Arnab Kundu, Gregg L. Semenza, Roselle M. Abraham, and An- dre Levchenko. “Matrix Rigidity Controls Endothelial Differentiation and Morphogenesis of Cardiac Precursors.” Sci. Signal., 5 June 2012.

Traffic Noise Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Previously, a number of studies have suggested associations between ischemic heart disease risk and both traffic noise and ambient air pollution.  Mette Sorensen, from the Danish Cancer Society (Denmark), and colleagues reviewed data from the Diet, Cancer, and Health cohort, a population-based study of Copenhagen residents, ages 50 to 64 years at the study’s start. The team included 50,614 people who were free from cancer and coronary artery disease at baseline. The researchers estimated traffic noise using the participants' home addresses and used estimated levels of nitrogen oxides as a measure of air pollution exposure. Through an average follow-up of 9.8 years, there were 1,600 first-ever myocardial infarctions (MIs; heart attacks) identified through national registries and medical records.  The team observed that MIs were more likely at higher levels of traffic noise exposure, whether the exposure was measured at the time of diagnosis, or averaged over the 5 years preceding the event.  When looking at fatal MIs, the unadjusted incidence rate ratio for every 10 decibel increase in traffic noise was 1.25.  The study authors conclude that: “Exposure to long-term residential road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk for [myocardial infarction], in a dose-dependent manner.”

Mette Sorensen, Zorana J. Andersen, Rikke B. Nordsborg, Steen S. Jensen, Kenneth G. Lillelund, Rob Beelen, et al.  “Road Traffic Noise and Incident Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort Study.”  PLoS ONE, 20 June 2012.

Stephen Sinatra, MD -

WIreless Microwave Radiation:

The New Cardiac Risk Factor

2011 A4M Anti-Aging conference

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Cardiovascular Illness

2010 A4M Anti-Aging conference 

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