Health-E-News. April 2007 - empowering you to optimal health.
Chiropractic adjustments lower blood pressure
A new study in the Journal of Human Hypertension, one of Nature Publishing Group's journals, reveals that chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxation of the atlas vertebrae lower blood pressure (BP).
The double blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 50 patients with Stage 1 hypertension, who were not taking medication for the condition. During an eight-week period, half of the subjects underwent chiropractic care for restoration of atlas alignment using a National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) procedure. A control group received a sham procedure.
Compared with members of the placebo group, those undergoing chiropractic care enjoyed significant drops in both systolic BP and diastolic BP. No adverse effects were detected. However, chiropractic care did not appear to influence heart rate.
"We conclude that restoration of atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy," conclude the study's authors.
Journal of Human Hypertension – January 25, 2007;Epub.www.nature.com. More information from WebMD
Chiropractic may correct chronic constipation
A case report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics indicates that chiropractic care may help correct chronic constipation.
Investigators followed an 8-year-old boy with chronic constipation. "His mother reported that this had been a problem since the child's birth. Allopathic treatment consisting of laxatives, high fluid intake, and high fiber intake had not been effective to date."
According to the study, "the patient was examined and it was determined that he had a sacral chiropractic subluxation complex. Manipulation of the sacral area using diversified adjusting procedures was performed. External massage of the abdomen starting in the right lower quadrant and following the course of the large intestine in a clockwise direction was also applied. The patient reported an immediate dramatic improvement in bowel function after the first treatment. Treatment was continued for a 4-week period (2 visits per week) and then discontinued when the patient (confirmed by his mother) reported consistent normal bowel function. A follow-up call made 13 years after treatment revealed continuing normal bowel function."
"This case suggests that chiropractic care may be helpful in some cases of chronic constipation," concludes the report.
JMPT – January 2007;30:65-8. www.mosby.com/jmpt
Continuous learning sharpens your mind and slows Alzheimer's
The process of learning new things appears to slow the development of two brain lesions that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD), scientists at UC Irvine have discovered.
This study with genetically modified mice is the first to show that short but repeated learning sessions can slow a process known for causing the protein beta amyloid to clump in the brain and form plaques, which disrupt communication between cells and lead to symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Learning also was found to slow the buildup of hyperphosphorylated-tau, a protein in the brain that can lead to the development of tangles, the other signature lesion of the disease.
"This study shows learning can delay the progression of Alzheimer's neuropathology in mice genetically engineered to develop this insidious disorder, and learning also delays the cognitive decline," comments study co-author, Frank LaFerla. "These remarkable findings suggest stimulating the mind with activities such as reading books or completing crossword puzzles may help delay and/or prevent Alzheimer's disease in senior citizens."
Mice in one group were allowed to "learn" by swimming in a round tank of water until they found a submerged platform on which to stand. These mice received training four times a day for one week at two, six, nine, 12, 15 and 18 months of age, and were evaluated at each session for learning and memory abilities. Other groups of untrained mice were allowed to swim in the tank for just one session before their learning and memory skills were tested and their brains examined for plaques and tangles.
Mice up to 12 months of age that learned on previous occasions had fewer plaques and tangles in their brains, and they learned and remembered the location of the escape platform much better than mice not previously allowed to learn. At the 12-month point, the mice that had learned developed levels of beta amyloid and hyperphosphorylated-tau that were 60% less than the mice that had not learned; but, by 15 months of age, the mice that had learned deteriorated and were identical both physically and cognitively to the mice that had not learned.
"We were surprised this mild learning had such big effects at reducing Alzheimer's disease pathology and cognitive decline, but the effects were not strong enough to overcome later and more severe pathology," adds study co-author, Kim Green. "We are now investigating if more frequent and vigorous learning will have bigger and longer benefits to Alzheimer's disease."
Journal of Neuroscience – January 24, 2007;27:751-61.http://www.jneurosci.org/
Turn off the tv and enjoying a family dinner helps reduce childhood obesity
Turning off the tube and opting for family meals may help prevent childhood obesity, according to an analysis that tracked 8,000 children from kindergarten through third grade. Findings showed that youngsters who watched more television and ate fewer family meals were more likely to be overweight for the first time at spring semester of third grade. Specifically, each hour of television viewing per week boosted the risk of being persistently overweight by 3%. Each missed family meal per week translated to an 8% bolstered likelihood of being persistently overweight.
Living in a neighborhood perceived by parents as "less safe for outdoor play" also predicted persistent overweight.Curiously, "child aerobic exercise and opportunities for activity were not associated with a greater likelihood of weight problems." "This study supports theories regarding the contributions of television watching, family meals, and neighborhood safety to childhood weight status," conclude the study's authors.
JADA – January 2007;107:53-61.www2.adajournal.org
Eat your greens to avoid Alzheimer's
Dietary folate along with folate supplements may shrink an individual's odds of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Neurology. Scholars at Columbia University Medical Center, New York assessed the diets of 965 individuals without dementia between 1992 and 1994 — and then followed them for an average of 6.1. The participants had an average age of 75.8.
During the follow-up period, 192 of the participants developed Alzheimer's disease. When the individuals were divided into four groups based on the total level of folate they took in through food and supplements and the analysis was adjusted for patient characteristics, comorbid diseases and B12 and B6 intake, the risk of AD was lower in the groups with higher intake. Neither dietary folate nor supplements alone were significantly linked to AD risk; only the two in combination appeared to produce an effect. Levels of the vitamins B12 and B6 were not associated with Alzheimer's disease risk. Higher folate intake was modestly correlated with lower homocysteine levels, "indirectly suggesting that a lower homocysteine level is a potential mechanism for the association between higher folate intake and a lower Alzheimer's disease risk," the authors write.
Archives of Neurology – January 2007;64:86-92. http://archneur.ama-assn.org/