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In This Issue
New Crohn's Research
Madeline Ellis from Health News reports that in what could be the largest study ever undertaken into the underlying genetics of common diseases, a team of scientists and clinicians have identified new genetic links that increase susceptibility to Crohn's disease, one of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation, pain, and ulcers. The researchers hope that by understanding the underlying causes of the disease, they can identify targets for new drug therapies.
Previous studies have identified 11 genes and loci (regions of the genome typically including one or more genes) that increase susceptibility to Crohn's disease. After analyzing DNA samples from almost 12,000 people, researchers identified 21 additional genes. "We now know of more than 30 genetic regions that affect susceptibility to Crohn's disease," said Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, lead researcher from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. "These explain only about a fifth of the genetic risk, which implies that there may be hundreds of genes implicated in the disease; each increasing susceptibility by a small amount."
Scientists have long known that genes, along with environmental factors, play a role in increasing the risk of people developing many common problems such as asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease...Read more...
Green Tea Helps the Heart
ScienceDaily reports on a study, performed by Dr. Nikolaos Alexopoulos and colleagues at the 1st Cardiology Department, Athens Medical School in Greece, that was a randomised trial involving the diameter measurement (dilatation) of the brachial artery of healthy volunteers on three separate occasions - after taking green tea, caffeine, and hot water (for a placebo effect). The measurements were taken at 30, 90 and 120 minutes after consumption. Dilatation of the brachial artery as a result of increased blood flow (following a brief period of ischaemia of the upper limb) is related to endothelial function and is known to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk.1
Results showed that endothelium-dependent brachial artery dilatation increased significantly after drinking green tea, with a peak increase of 3.9 per cent 30 minutes after consumption. The effect of caffeine consumption (or hot water) was not significant.
While black tea has been associated with improved short and long-term endothelial performance, this is the first time that green tea has been shown to have a short-term beneficial effect on the large arteries. Another study has already shown that green tea reverses endothelial dysfunction in smokers...Read more...
Vitamin D Improves Lung Function
Peter Black, MD, internist, department of medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand suggests that Vitamin D may help lung tissue to rejuvenate, a process that occurs throughout life but declines with age. He mentions the most important source of vitamin D as sun exposure, which leads to synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Other good food sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and seafood, such as herring, salmon and mackerel. He says to ensure that you're getting enough vitamin D, take a supplement daily. To aid lung function, he says that most people need about 20 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D a day while people over age 50 need double that amount - about 40 mcg.
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