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Omega 3 Research Shows Sex Differential

Recent research on Omega 3 fatty acids shows that eating enough omega-3 fatty acids is twice as important for boosting the brainpower of girls as it is for boys.

There have been several studies that show the link between intelligence and higher consumption of omega-3 fats, especially those found in fatty fishes such as salmon. These researchers wondered whether this effect might be even stronger in girls because women not only use omega-3 fats to build their brains, they also store them on their hips and thighs in preparation for nurturing the brains of their future babies.

William Lassek, from University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Steve Gaulin at the University of California, Santa Barbara used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the US to compare consumption of omega-3 fatty acids with cognitive test scores in 4000 children aged 6 to 16. They found that the more omega-3 fatty acids the kids ate, the better they scored. They also found that omega-3s accounted for twice as much of the improvement in girls as boys. Girls who ate enough Omega-3 scored an average of one per cent more than those who didn't. During childhood and adolescence women store Omega-3 on their hips and thighs in preparation for childbearing. "The lower body fat is like a bank into which deposits are made during childhood and only withdrawn during pregnancy and nursing," says William Lassek.

The research also proved that consumption of omega 6 can reduce brain power as compared to omega 3. "Brain and body can process limited amounts of fatty acids, and the omega-6 can push out the omega-3," said Joseph Hibbeln at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. These results were presented at a meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Kyoto, Japan.


IBD Gene Uncovered

Genetic variations which predispose people to a common inflammatory bowel condition have been uncovered by a team of German and UK researchers.

The researchers now link Ulcerative Colitis, an IBD condition, known to run in families, with the gene that encodes for interleukin 10 (IL10) - a compound which regulates inflammation. In the latest study, scientist scanned the whole genome in more than 1,000 people with the condition and 800 healthy controls. Among a few gene differences, they found key variations in genetic regions directly alongside the IL10 gene.

"In light of these results, systemic or topical delivery of IL10 should be worthy of consideration for clinical trials," said study leader Professor Stefan Schreiber.

The administration of interleukin 10 to individuals with colitis has been reported to have a positive effect in initial studies, although this potential therapy has not been assessed more thoroughly.

Professor Jonathan Rhodes, an expert in colitis based at the University of Liverpool, added that the study would help to unpick what was causing the condition - at least in some patients. "It makes much firmer the hypothesis that there is an underlying defect in the immune system," he said. The study was reported in Nature Genetics.


Cold & Flu Season Tips

The cold and flu season is upon us. To prevent colds and flu, consider these helpful recommendations:

  • Wash your hands frequently or, better yet, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Exercise at least four days a week. Regular moderate exercise boosts your immune system and helps to prevent infections.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The average adult needs seven to eight hours per night.
  • Lighten up and laugh. Laughter seems to enhance immunity, while stress dampens it.
  • Recent data suggest that vitamin D is important for immune-system function. Be sure to take 800 to 1,000 units per day.
  • Gargle! A study published in 2005 showed that the simple act of gargling with plain water at least three times a day not only reduced the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections by 36 percent but also reduced symptoms in people who did get a cold.

If, in spite of your best efforts at prevention, you find yourself coming down with a cold or the flu, here are a few other things that may help:

  • The herbs echinacea and astragalus may each help to reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold, though the data are mixed. Try just one at a time and go for a standardized product whenever possible.
  • Take vitamin C; 250 to 500 milligrams twice daily may reduce the duration of symptoms by a day or less.


Did You Know???

  • TIRED? WORK OUT ANYWAY
    Too tired to work out? Do it anyway. Ditching your workout when you're exhausted may leave you feeling even worse. In a University of Georgia study, chronically tired adults who exercised at low intensity for 20 minutes three times a week felt 65% less fatigued after six weeks. You don't have to overdo it. Just keep it light. Those who stuck to low or moderate intensity also reported they had 20% more energy.
  • STAY CALM & FIGHT CHOLESTEROL
    Staying calm when provoked helps you maintain or even raise, levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol, says an Oregon State University study. Researchers found that those people who kept their cool in stressful situations had markedly higher HDL than those who became angry or retreated to be alone. The short-fused folks also had elevated triglycerides. Scientists expect that stress hormones are to blame and remind us to take a deep, slow breath when riled.
  • In Good Health.
    Pamela Nathan


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