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DEPRESSION

B Vitamins Linked to Cognitive Function

Previously, a number of studies have reported that high levels of homocysteine relate to an increased risk of cognitive decline, and that B vitamins may serve as cofactors for enzymes involved in the metabolism of homocysteine. Aron M. Troen, from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed data from 2000 study subjects who participated in The Boston Puerto Rican Health Study and the Nutrition, Aging, and Memory in Elders study. The researchers found that low levels of vitamin B-6 and B-12 are associated with an increased risk of impaired cognition. Further, the team found that low levels of B-12 were associated with an increased risk of depression.


Denish Moorthy, Inga Peter, Tammy M. Scott, Laurence D. Parnell, Chao-Qiang Lai, Aron M. Troen, et al.  “Status of Vitamins B-12 and B-6 but Not of Folate, Homocysteine, and the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism Are Associated with Impaired Cognition and Depression in Adults.”  J. Nutr. , August 2012.

Depression Can Be Heartbreaking

In that mental well-being contributes to physical health, researchers at Tel Aviv University (Israel) have found that poor mental state can interfere with the heart. Vicki Myers and colleagues studied data collected from 632 heart attack patients under the age of 65 admitted to Israeli hospitals between 1992 and 1993, comparing their recoveries using follow-up data through 2005. Although a large percentage of people who survive a heart attack will be re-admitted to the hospital at some point, people identified as at least "mildly depressed" during their first hospital stay were found to be far more likely to be re-hospitalized later with further cardiac health problems. Patients with a higher depression score spent 14% more time in the hospital than those with a low score. Urging that: “Depressive symptoms, even at the sub-clinical level, should be monitored in post-[myocardial infarction] patients in order to identify those at greater risk of rehospitalization,” the study authors conclude that: “These findings have implications for patients' prognosis and quality of life and for healthcare costs.”


Vicki Myers, Yariv Gerber, Yael Benyamini, Uri Goldbourt, Yaacov Drory.  “Post-myocardial infarction depression: Increased hospital admissions and reduced adoption of secondary prevention measures — A longitudinal study.”  Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Volume 72, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 5-10.

Depression Raises Stroke Risk

Depression and stroke both occur at a high prevalence and incidence among the general population.  Frank Hu, from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues investigated the possible causal connection between the two conditions. The researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of 28 studies involving a total of 317,540 patients. Observing that 8,478 stroke cases occurred over a follow-up period that lasted up to 29 years, the team found that depression associated with a 45% greater risk of stroke, with depressed patients at greater risk of fatal stroke as well.  The researchers warn that: “Depression is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke morbidity and mortality.”


An Pan, Qi Sun, Olivia I. Okereke, Kathryn M. Rexrode, Frank B. Hu. “Depression and Risk of Stroke Morbidity and Mortality: A Meta-analysis and Systematic Review.”  JAMA. 2011;306(11):1241-1249, Sept. 21, 2011.

Omega-3 May Offset Depression

In that the link between omega-3 fatty acids and mood is complicated and study findings to-date mixed, University of Pavia (Italy) researchers add data suggesting that the nutrients may ameliorate the symptoms of depression.  Mariangela Rondanelli and colleagues recruited 46 depressed senior women at a nursing home in Pavia and randomly assigned each to receive omega-3 supplements, or a placebo, for two months.  The depressed women who received daily supplements containing 2.5 grams of omega-3 experienced significant reductions in their symptoms.  Further, omega-3 supplements providing a daily EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) dose of 1.67 grams and a daily DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) dose of 0.83 grams significantly improved self-reported quality of life.  No adverse effects were reported. The researchers conclude that: “Supplementation of [omega-3 fatty acids] in elderly female patients reduces the occurrence of depressive symptoms, improves phospholipids fatty acids profile and health-related quality of life.”


Mariangela Rondanelli, A. Giacosa, A. Opizzi, C. Pelucchi and C. La Vecchia, et al. “Long chain omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation in the treatment of elderly depression: Effects on depressive symptoms, on phospholipids fatty acids profile and on health-related quality of life.” J Nutrition, Health & Aging. 2011, Volume 15, Number 1, Pages 37-44.

Bright Light Therapy Eases Depression

Among older adults, major depressive disorder is a prevalent condition that can be debilitating because it often is accompanied by disturbances of the body’s natural clock, or circadian rhythm.  Ritsaert Lieverse, from VU University Medical School (The Netherlands), and colleagues enrolled 89 men and women, ages 60-plus, assigning each randomly to one of two groups:  in the first group, participants utilized a light-therapy box, that emitted pale blue light, each  morning for one hour for 3 weeks, the rest of the study participants (control group) were assigned boxes that emitted a dim red light, which has no known effects on the human body.  After three weeks of treatment, the researchers found, the light-therapy group showed a greater improvement in scores on a standard measure of depression symptoms. Three weeks after the therapy ended, more people in the light-therapy group exhibited marked drops in depression scores: 50% of the light-therapy patients, compared to 34% of controls.  The team concluded that:  “In elderly patients with [major depressive disorder], [bright light therapy] improved mood, enhanced sleep efficiency, and increased the upslope melatonin level gradient. In addition, [bright light therapy] produced continuing improvement in mood … after discontinuation of treatment.”


Ritsaert Lieverse; Eus J. W. Van Someren; Marjan M. A. Nielen; Bernard M. J. Uitdehaag; Jan H. Smit; Witte J. G. Hoogendijk.  “Bright Light Treatment in Elderly Patients With Nonseasonal Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.”  Arch Gen Psychiatry, Jan 2011; 68: 61 - 70.

Morgellons: A real disease, a real threat

A debilitating condition, Morgellons is a bizarre disease that causes a variety of symptoms, from intense itching to crawling, biting and stinging sensations - and worse. Skin rashes develop that won't heal. Many people report "string-like fibers of varying color popping out through the skin lesions." Eventually, bugs and worms begin to crawl out of the body through the lesions. Hair loss, chronic fatigue, short-term memory loss, changes in vision, joint pain, depression and even neurological damage plague sufferers. In the past few years, the disease has become epidemic in the United States and abroad.

Many sufferers who seek treatment are often told their symptoms are not real. They tend to withdraw from society - living much like lepers of the past. Writes Barbara Minton, Editor of Natural News: "Not being taken seriously when you know you have a terrifying and devastating disease causes permanent psychological damage." Several famous people are known to have Morgellons, including Oakland A's player Billy Koch and his family, and singer Joni Mitchell, for whom the disease has had a negative impact on her career.  In 2006, an Oregon news station reported a story about a family practice doctor experiencing the disease. "If I fully tell people what has gone on with me medically, they think they're in the twilight zone," said Dr. Drottar. She thought she had been exposed to asbestos when black and blue hair-like fibers protruded from her skin. "I thought I was having asbestos fibers come out of my skin. I was pulling long, thin, small hair-like fibers that were extremely sharp that could literally pierce through my finger nail," she said.

Prior to Kaiser receiving the CDC grant, Randy Wymore, a neuroscientist at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Science, was one of the few people who took the disease seriously. He and his research team studied fibers sent to them by Morgellons patients. They reported finding that even though the fibers were taken from different people, they looked quite similar. Infectious disease detection expert Ahmed Kilani extracted DNA from two fiber samples and found that they belonged to a fungus. Vitaly Citovsky, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University in New York, found that the fibers contained Agrobacterium, a soil bacteria. This genus of gram-negative bacteria is able to genetically transform plants and even human cells. This evidence suggests that not only is the disease real, but it may be related to genetically modified food.


News Release: Morgellons: Terrifying new disease reaching pandemic status www.naturalnews.com March 3, 2009

News Release: Morgellons Disease may be linked to genetically modified food  www.naturalnews.com April 13, 2008

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Anxiety May Accelerate Aging

Telomeres are the end caps of chromosomes, protecting the DNA complexes from deterioration during cell division. Telomere shortening is considered a marker of cellular aging, and prematurely shortened telomeres have been linked to increased risk of cancers, heart disease, dementia and death.  Olivia Okereke, from Brigham and Women's Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues completed a cross-section of study involving 5,243 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. The researchers obtained blood samples and analyzed telomere lengths, and surveyed the subjects regarding phobic symptoms.  Having a high phobic anxiety level was associated with significantly shorter telomere lengths. The difference in telomere lengths for women who were highly phobic versus not, was similar to what was seen for an additional six years of age. Writing that: "Chronic psychological distress has been linked to shorter telomeres, an indication of accelerated aging,” the study authors conclude that: "In this large, cross-sectional study high phobic anxiety was associated with shorter telomeres.”


Olivia I. Okereke, Jennifer Prescott, Jason Y. Y. Wong, Jiali Han, Kathryn M. Rexrode, Immaculata De Vivo.  “High Phobic Anxiety Is Related to Lower Leukocyte Telomere Length in Women.”  PLoS ONE, 11 July 2012.

Sleep Disorders Raise Risk of Death

The risk of death is more than two times higher in older adults who have sleep apnea and report struggling with excessive daytime sleepiness, report Nalaka S. Gooneratne, from the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues.  Their study involved 289 adults with neither dementia nor depression who were recruited from the community. Results of adjusted proportional hazards modeling show that subjects with moderate to severe sleep apnea who reported struggling with excessive daytime sleepiness at baseline were more than twice as likely to die , as compared to subjects who had neither problem.  The team reports that: "Excessive daytime sleepiness, when associated with sleep apnea, can significantly increase the risk of death in older adults.”


Nalaka S. Gooneratne,  Kathy C. Richards, Marshall Joffe, Regina W. Lam, Fran Pack, Bethany Staley, David F. Dinges, Allan I. Pack.  “Sleep Disordered Breathing with Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a Risk Factor for Mortality in Older Adults”.” SLEEP, 34 (2011), 04.

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