Article: The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s [The Atlantic]

“A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

“Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” said the lead author, Wuxiang Xie at Imperial College London, via email. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”

“Melissa Schilling, a professor at New York University, performed her own review of studies connecting diabetes to Alzheimer’s in 2016. She sought to reconcile two confusing trends. People who have type 2 diabetes are about twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, and people who have diabetes and are treated with insulin are also more likely to get Alzheimer’s, suggesting elevated insulin plays a role in Alzheimer’s. In fact, many studies have found that elevated insulin, or “hyperinsulinemia,” significantly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes, who don’t make insulin at all, are also thought to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. How could these both be true?

“Schilling posits this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme, a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain—the same proteins that clump up and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People who don’t have enough insulin, like those whose bodies’ ability to produce insulin has been tapped out by diabetes, aren’t going to make enough of this enzyme to break up those brain clumps. Meanwhile, in people who use insulin to treat their diabetes and end up with a surplus of insulin, most of this enzyme gets used up breaking that insulin down, leaving not enough enzyme to address those amyloid brain clumps.”

Read Olga Khazan’s full article at The Atlantic: The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s

Tagged : /

Article: Fibromyalgia and Chest Pain: What Does Fibromyalgia Chest Pain Feel Like? [New Life Outlook]

“The truth is, fibromyalgia pain can sometimes extend to the chest. This pain feels like an intense stabbing sensation primarily in the center of the chest, around the breastbone and rib cage which is precisely where my symptoms were occurring.

“The pain did mimic a heart attack to some degree and was both painful and frightening. Discomfort can vary depending on how active you are. During this time of my chest pain flare-up, I had been pushing myself to do a difficult level of yard work during the hot summer which worsened my pain and symptoms.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia chest pain include:

  • Feelings of intense sharpness or stabbing
  • Inflamed or burning sensation
  • Mild ache or chronic chest ache
  • Knotted muscles
  • Tightness in the chest

“This restrictive sensation can affect the respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe and causing shortness of breath. This breathing problem is something that I had not noticed in all these years of living with fibromyalgia until the last year, or so which leads me to believe that conditions can worsen over time.”

Read Starla Rich’s full article at New Life Outlook: Fibromyalgia Chest Pain: What Does Fibromyalgia Chest Pain Feel Like?

Tagged : /

Article: Mussels Off the Coast of Seattle Test Positive for Opioids [CBS News]

“Since mussels are “filter feeders,” they absorb contaminants from their environment into their tissues in a concentrated way.  Scientists used cages to transplant clean mussels from an aquaculture source on Whidbey Island to 18 urbanized locations around Puget Sound. Several months later, they pulled those previously uncontaminated mussels back out of the urban waters and, together with the Puget Sound Institute, tested them again.

“In three of the 18 locations, the mussels then tested positive for trace amounts of oxycodone. How, you ask?

“When humans ingest opioids like oxycodone, they ultimately end up excreting traces of the drugs into the toilet. Those chemicals then end up in wastewater. And while many contaminants are filtered out of wastewater before it’s released into the oceans, wastewater management systems can’t entirely filter out drugs. Thus, opioids, antidepressants, the common chemotherapy drug Melphalan — the mussels tested positive for all of them.

“What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound,” Jennifer Lanksbury, a biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO. “It’s telling me there’s a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area.”

Read Christina Capatides full article at CBS News: Mussels Off the Coast of Seattle Test Positive for Opioids

Tagged : /

Article: Death-Cap Mushrooms are Spreading Across North America [The Atlantic]

“The death caps were slightly domed, with white gills and faintly greenish stems. At the bottom of each stem was a silky slipper, called the volva, which was a purer white than the rest of the mushroom. The Amanita phalloides species accounts for more than 90 percent of mushroom-related poisonings and fatalities worldwide.

“Kroeger, who studied the biochemistry of medicinal mushrooms while working as a lab assistant and technician at the University of British Columbia, is a founding member and the former president of the Vancouver Mycological Society, and the go-to authority on mushroom poisonings in western Canada. When Amanita phalloides first appeared in British Columbia in 1997, he took careful note. It had never before been seen in Canada. The single reported specimen was found among imported European sweet chestnut trees near the town of Mission, an hour east of Vancouver.”

 

“Without fail, Kroeger noted, death caps appeared in urban neighborhoods, not in deep woods or city parks. They showed up most often in the strip of grass between sidewalks and streets.

“For the past few years, Kroeger and his network of fungiphiles have been putting up posters in infected neighborhoods. The BC Centre for Disease Control sends out his warnings in press releases, and he sets up a booth at street events in order to warn anyone willing to listen that death caps should be left alone. When I joined him in East Vancouver, most of the people he stopped on the sidewalk—parents with strollers and passersby with groceries—had already heard of the invader. A man in a tool belt coming off a house remodel said he’d seen death caps a few blocks away in East Vancouver, and Kroeger scribbled down the address. I asked the man why he was so interested in mushrooms; he said he just liked to know what was growing in the neighborhood.”

 

“Amanita phalloides are said to be quite tasty, and a person who eats one could feel fine for a day or two before illness sets in. The poison is taken up by the liver cells, where it inhibits an enzyme responsible for protein synthesis; without protein, the cells begin to die, and the patient may start to experience nausea and diarrhea—symptoms that can easily be attributed to general food poisoning or other ailments. “If the patient doesn’t realize the connection, doesn’t see the illness as a result of eating a mushroom a day or two earlier, it’s a hard diagnosis,” said Vo.”

Read Craid Childs’ full article (I pulled three excerpts here) at The Atlantic: Death-Cap Mushrooms are Spreading Across North America

Tagged :