To comment on this article, contact
Seeing Red in Cherries May
Promote Health Benefits
Researchers at the
Ohio State University and University of Michigan suggest that the coloring in
cherries and other fruits and vegetables may help slow the growth of colon
cancer cells or lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
The pigments found in many
fruits and vegetables are known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are potent
antioxidants found in red and purple fruits and vegetables, especially tart
cherries, red cabbage, eggplant and purple corn. And while there may be health
benefit from all of these fruits and vegetables, it appears that tart cherries
contain a unique combination of up to eight different types of anthocyanins,
which belong to a class of plant compounds known as flavonoids.
"Anthocyanins are the next big
thing in health," said Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends, Inc.
"Lutein and lycopene were the first types of plant compounds or phytonutrients
to be added to consumer's lexicon, but now anthocyanins are taking spotlight."
Breath Analysis for Glucose
Monitoring Shows Promise
Early results from
an experimental breath test in children with type 1 diabetes shows promise.
According to a study published online in Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, exhaled methyl nitrate levels measured with
air-pollution testing techniques in the laboratory paralleled plasma glucose
in a small study in children with type 1 diabetes. Pietro R. Galassetti, MD,
PhD, of the University of California at Irvine, Orange, California, reported
that methyl nitrate levels were significantly elevated during hyperglycemia
and fell as normal glucose levels were restored and remained steady.
The investigators' findings
suggest diabetes breath analysis has potential, although the low,
parts-per-trillion concentrations of exhaled methyl nitrate found in the study
may present a challenge for developing point-of-care testing. Regardless, the
researchers remain optimistic about its potential. "Attempts to develop
alternative, noninvasive monitoring methods [for diabetes] have been pursued
for decades and, if successfully developed, are likely to have an immense
global impact on diabetes screening, diagnosis, monitoring, and prevention."
For now, the researchers say
their very sophisticated equipment is not reproducible in the doctor's office
and requires further study to develop a "cost-effective, less bulky, less
complicated device." But Dr. Galassetti remains confident that such a device
will eventually be available in a doctor's office and "hopefully, even patient
handheld devices that can be kept at home."
Therapy Has No Effect on Memory
A report in
Neurology concludes that hormone replacement therapy had no significant
effect on memory or concentration in postmenopausal women. According to
Michael J. Gast, MD, PhD, of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a trial of 180
postmenopausal women with memory and concentration complaints who were
randomized to hormone therapy for four months uncovered that while they may
have had increased sexual desire and thoughts, they demonstrated no difference
in their cognition. There was some evidence of a reduction in vasomotor
symptoms; the decrease was modest and not statistically significant enough,
however, to draw any definite conclusions.
The investigators concluded
that their findings showed "near-significant, modest negative effects of
combined estrogen and progestin therapy on verbal memory contrasts with
previous clinical trials using estrogen alone. This raises the possibility
that progestins might modulate the effects of estrogen on verbal memory."
Childhood Use of Statins
May Delay Problems Later
Researchers at the
University of Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre, The Netherlands, report that
early, long-term statin therapy can help prevent arterial damage in familial
hypercholesterolemia later in life. And, according the investigators, the
earlier therapy begins the better.
The results arose out of a
clinical study of children as young as age 8. Statin therapy at a younger age
was linked to less carotid intima-media thickening, a marker of
atherosclerosis, said Barbara A. Hutten, PhD, of the Academic Medical Centre,
and colleagues and reported in Circulation.