Weekend Health Wrap-Up | The Latest Findings (1/29/11)

Posted on January 29, 2011

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Good morning! There were multiple articles released recently that caught my eye. I wanted to share them, and because several didn’t warrant a complete write-up, I’d like to group them for you and provide summaries and links:

  • Trans-fats are linked to depression risk: Findings of The Sun Project published in PLoS ONE linked trans-fat consumption to depression. Researchers also reported a strong inverse correlation between MUFAs consumed and depression (that means you should be picking the olive oil up and putting the margarine down). Remember to include your omega-3s (which are PUFAs): good sources include walnuts, flax, and fish, but remember that only EPA/DHA (those found in fish oil) have been linked to significant benefits, and those from plant sources require conversion after consumption.
  • Broccoli’s benefits, a mechanism proposed: We know broccoli (and its cousins, the cruciferous vegetables) are good for us, and have been repeatedly shown to have anti-cancer correlations. Research shows that the mechanism behind broccoli’s apparent cancer-fighting effects is depletion of aberrant p53, a tumor suppressor protein involved in the regulation of growth/proliferation and programmed cell death. This protein puts the breaks on cell division when abnormalities are detected, and also has a role in instructing the cell to perform a type of microscopic Seppuku known as apoptosis when things can’t be fixed. P53 has been implicated in up to 50% of human cancers (along with others, such as ras), so get your hands on some broccoli to help cut your risk. Read the summary of the article here, at Scientific American (link to the original article provided).
  • Fight obesity & your heating bill at the same time: This is an interesting one. Depriving ourselves of the physiologic changes that occur when we maintain an environmental temperature in the thermoneutral zone may be another piece of the puzzle for the current obesity epidemic. For some time (okay, about a year), a friend and I have held this theory, but weren’t aware of decent research to support the claim. Researchers are looking to brown fat, essential in babies, poorly understood in adults, for answers (they also mention the effect of temperature on food consumption). Amazingly, while my friend believes this makes sense physiologically-speaking, he continues to maintain his apartment at or around 80° year-round. The bottom line: as I implied above, this is likely a small piece of the puzzle, but may turn out to be more important than once thought. Read MedPage Today’s review here.

I hope I left something to write about next week.

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