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High-salt diet linked to multiple sclerosis(06/08/15)

New research has found diets high in sodium boost the risk of developing of multiple sclerosis.

Scientists with the University of Vermont in Burlington determined that salt influences immune cells that cause the disease, suggesting it may be one of the many environmental factors contributing to MS.

The findings, published in Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s FASEB Journal, add to the growing body of evidence that suggests clear connection between certain foods interact with genetics and the human immune system to combat — or contribute to — disease.

"We hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of how and why environmental factors interact with individuals' unique genetic make up to influence autoimmune diseases such as MS," said Dimitry N. Krementsov, a researcher involved in the work from the University’s Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program.

For the study, Krementsov and colleagues fed a high-salt diet to a mice and compared them to those fed a standard diet. They then induced a disease in these mice that mimics human MS. The result showed the mice fed a high-salt diet had worse clinical signs of the disease than those consuming a regular diet.

"As is the case with other things, you need to get enough salt so your body functions properly, but not too much or things start to go haywire," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "This report helps shed light on what can go wrong in individuals with genes that make one susceptible to autoimmune disease. It also helps us understand how much salt is just right for any given individual."

Source: NewsmaxMedia © 2015 Newsmax Media, Inc (06/08/15)

‘Positive impact’ of Mediterranean diet(16/06/15)

Several studies have reported that the Mediterranean diet slows cognitive decline and lowers risk of neurodegenerative conditions. While most of the research has been conducted in Mediterranean countries, consumption of the Mediterranean diet by other population groups have provided similar results.

A study on 2,000 New Yorkers who consumed the Mediterranean diet reported lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease; and another study on 1,410 elderly French individuals found slower cognitive decline with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Last year, a review article called the Mediterranean diet a “model” diet for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

While high intakes of cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruits and olive oil that make up the typical Mediterranean diet are recognised to be beneficial, a recent study found long-term consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts had a positive impact on cognitive function in an older Spanish population. Phenolic compounds present in extra virgin olive oil and nuts may be the components responsible for this positive effect on cognition, according to the investigators of the study.

In an article published in the March, 2015 issue of the journal Molecules, researchers specifically reviewed literature to explain how phenols present in extra virgin olive oil prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

According to the paper, olive oil contains about 230 chemical compounds of which carotenes and phenolic compounds are the main antioxidants. Of the phenols, hydroxytyrosol is the key phenolic compound present mainly in olives and olive products that are, in turn, the chief source of hydroxytyrosol in the Mediterranean diet.

Scientific evidence suggests that, as a potent antioxidant, hydroxytyrosol is not only effective in removing reactive oxygen species produced during oxidative stress, but it may also improve an organism’s defense against oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress, which produces more reactive oxygen species than the body can detoxify, may cause damage to the DNA and body proteins, and may be the origin of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.

Extensive research has identified hydroxytyrosol from olive oil to possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic abilities. Additionally, hydroxytyrosol may provide protection against heart diseases and play a role in preventing or slowing the growth of tumors.

Research carried out in vitro and ex vivo to determine hydroxytyrosol’s role as a neuroprotective agent shows that hydroxytyrosol from olive oil protects cells from oxidative stress, improves resistance to oxidative stress, lowers incidence of brain cell death, and reduces neurotoxicity and DNA damage.

Furthermore, in some in vitro studies, hydroxytyrosol has been associated with the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and Antioxidant Responsive Elements (ARE) neuroprotective pathways. The Nrf2 plays a positive role in regulating antioxidant response elements, which in turn regulate gene expression of several phase II detoxifying enzymes.

Supplementing the diet of mice with extra virgin olive oil and hydroxytyrosol enhanced cognitive function, and reversed oxidation, learning and memory damage. In another study, EVOO and hydroxtyrosol acted as brain antioxidants and provided protection against oxidative damage in mice with Huntington disease.

While in vitro and in vivo studies on animal models have linked hydroxytyrosol to improved health and cognition, there are very few studies on the effect of hydroxytyrosol in humans. So far, only three clinical trials on the role of hydroxytyrosol on breast cancer prevention; the effect of hydroxytyrosol supplements on multiple sclerosis; and its influence on phase II enzymes are underway.

Although more research is needed to establish the role of EVOO hydroxytyrosol in preventing neurodegenerative diseases, there is ample evidence that suggests that consuming a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for cognitive health.

Source: Olive Oil Times © 2015 Olive Oil Times (16/06/15)

Studies indicate drinking coffee ‘may lower risk of MS’(27/02/15)

People who drink four to six cups of coffee a day may be less likely to get multiple sclerosis, US and Swedish researchers say.

While caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, the findings of the research show the same could apply to MS.

“Our study shows coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea the drug may have protective effects for the brain,” said lead author Ellen Mowry of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The findings of twin US and Swedish studies compared more than 1,000 MS patients with a similar number of healthy people.

Researchers tracked how much coffee the subjects drank in the one, five and 10 years before symptoms began for those affected by MS.

After accounting for other factors such as age, sex, smoking, body mass index and sun exposure, the Swedish study found “compared to people who drank at least six cups of coffee a day during the year before symptoms appeared, those who did not drink coffee had about a 1½ times increased risk of developing MS”.

Similar protective effects were seen among those who drank lots of coffee five to 10 years before symptoms appeared.

The US study found “people who didn't drink coffee were also about 1½ times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank four or more cups of coffee per day in the year before symptoms started to develop”.

More research is needed to determine if caffeine has any impact on relapse or long-term disability due to MS.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald © 2015 Fairfax Media (27/02/15)

Cinnamon can reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis(25/02/15)

Oral feeding of cinnamon is capable of suppressing multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice models, according to research published in PLOS One.

Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined the effects of various household spices on mice models of MS, in accordance with a $750,000 grant they were awarded by the National Institutes of Health in 2011. The mice were introduced to the model of MS, called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, and were randomly placed on a scale from 0 = no disease to 5 = moribund. The cinnamon was introduced as a powder in 0.5 percent methylcellulose (MC) and EAE mice were given 100 µL cinnamon mixed MC powder once daily using a needle. After an observation period of 14 days post immunisation (dpi), 5 mice per each group were anesthetized and their spinal cords were evaluated for inflammation.

Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum), the researchers found, was much more pure than Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamonum cassia), and so it was used in the study. Both are widely available for sale in the United States, the authors commented. Cinnamon, the researchers continued, has a long history of being used medicinally, including for treatments of arthritis, coughing, hoarseness, sore throats, and the like.

Less than half (40 percent) of mice developed EAE, and the EAE mice were treated with different doses of cinnamon powder from 8 dpi. Cinnamon significantly inhibited clinical symptoms, and no decrease in disease incidence was observed at a dose of 25 mg/kg body wt/d. At an increased dose of 100 mg/kg body wt/d, there was a very significant inhibition of clinical symptoms accompanied by a reduction in disease incidence.

“These results clearly demonstrate that cinnamon can ameliorate the ongoing relapsing remitting EAE when administered either early (at the onset of acute phase) or late (at the onset of relapsing disease),” the researchers described an additional result of the study.

The blood brain barrier (BBB) and blood spinal cord barrier (BSB) were also preserved after the treatment of cinnamon in transgenic mice. The investigators used infrared dye in EAE mice and tracked its spread, noting that the dye was strongly inhibited in mice who received the cinnamon treatment. In a similar analysis, the researchers discovered that the cinnamon treatment inhibited infiltration of mononuclear cells, inflammation, and demyelination in the spinal cord of EAE mice.

“These results highlight a novel immunomodulatory role of cinnamon and suggest that this widely-used spice may be explored for therapeutic intervention in MS,” the researchers concluded.

In July 2014, Rush similarly announced that cinnamon can also slow the effects of Parkinson’s Disease as well, citing the effects cinnamon has on the body once it is metabolised.

Source: MD All Specialities Copyright 2015 MJH Healthcare Holdings, LLC (25/02/15)

People with multiple sclerosis may have lower levels of key nutrients(20/02/15)

Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as folate from food and vitamin E, than healthy people, according to a new study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.

For the study, researchers identified 27 Caucasian women with MS and compared them to 30 healthy Caucasian women between the ages of 18-60 and with body mass index of less than or equal to 30 kg/m2. Participants reported on their diet and nutrition over the previous year prior to starting vitamin D supplementation.

On average, the women who had MS had lower levels of five nutrients with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties: food folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin. For food folate, the women with MS had average intake of 244 micrograms (mcg), while the healthy women had an average intake of 321 mcg. The recommended daily allowance is 400 mcg. For magnesium, the women with MS had average intake of 254 milligrams (mg), while the healthy women met the recommended daily allowance of 320 mg with an average of 321 mg. The women with MS also had a lower average percentage of their calories from fat than the healthy participants.

"Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disorder, having enough nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the disease or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have MS," said study author Sandra D. Cassard, ScD, with John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. "Antioxidants are also critical to good health and help reduce the effects of other types of damage that can occur on a cellular level and contribute to neurologic diseases like MS. Whether the nutritional differences that we identified in the study are a cause of MS or a result of having it is not yet clear."

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Source: EurekaAlert! Copyright © 2015 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (20/02/15)

Obesity a factor in auto- immune diseases(11/11/14)

Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s Disease and multiple sclerosis, in which the immune system attacks its own body rather than predatory invaders, affect 5-20% of the global community. A study published recently in Autoimmunity Reviews by Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, the Laura Schwarz-Kipp Chair for Research of Autoimmune Diseases at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Head of Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, points to the major role obesity plays in triggering and prolonging these autoimmune diseases.

According to the research, obesity leads to a breakdown of the body’s protective self-tolerance, creating the optimal environment for autoimmune diseases, and generates a pro-inflammatory environment likely to worsen the disease’s progression and hinder its treatment.

“We’ve been aware of a long list of causes of autoimmune disorders — infections, smoking, pesticides, lack of vitamins, and so forth. But in last five years, a new factor has emerged that cannot be ignored: obesity,” said Prof. Shoenfeld. “According to the World Health Organization, approximately 35% of the global community is overweight or obese, and more than ten autoimmune diseases are known to be associated with increased weight. So it’s critical to investigate obesity’s involvement in the pathology of such diseases.”

In addition to their own research, Prof. Shoenfeld and his team from Tel Hashomer hospital conducted a systematic review of 329 studies from around the world on the relationship between obesity, adipokines (compounds secreted by fat tissue and involved in numerous physiological functions, including the immune response), and immune-related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type-1 diabetes, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis, and Hashimoto thyroiditis.

“According to our study and the clinical and experimental data reviewed, the involvement of adipokines in the pathogenesis of these autoimmune diseases is clear,” said Prof. Shoenfeld. “We were able to detail the metabolic and immunological activities of the main adipokines featured in the development and prognosis of several immune-related conditions.”

Prof. Shoenfeld conducted a study on mouse populations with multiple sclerosis given a Mediterranean diet rich in unsaturated fats. He found that Vitamin D deficiency was also a result of obesity and, once corrected, alleviated paralysis and kidney deterioration associated with the disorder. It also improved the prognosis and survival of the mice.

“Modern life makes us all prone to Vitamin D deficiency,” said Prof. Shoenfeld. “We live in labs, offices, and cars. When Vitamin D is secreted in fat tissue, it is not released into the body, which needs Vitamin D to function properly. Since Vitamin D supplements are very cheap and have no side effects, they are an ideal compound that should be prescribed to anyone at risk of a compromised immune system.”

Prof. Shoenfeld welcomes the general trend toward personalized medicine, and believes his research can be a basis for specific therapies to treat autoimmune syndrome. “If a patient is at risk, he or she should be told to do everything in his or her power to maintain a healthy weight,” he said.

Source: San Diego Jewish World © 2014 San Diego Jewish World (11/11/14)

Can Multiple Sclerosis be affected by diet?(25/09/14)

The first prospective population-based study of dietary patterns and risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) has found no relationship between eating a high-quality, healthy diet and a reduced risk of developing MS.

One caveat was that the study focused on current diets in adults only, and it is possible that diet in adolescence may be more important regarding risk for MS, it was noted.

"We did not find any evidence that overall dietary quality is associated with the risks of multiple sclerosis," Dalia Rotstein, MD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, concluded. "However further research is required to determine the possible role of dietary quality in the early years and in individual dietary elements."

She presented the research at MS Boston 2014, the 2014 Joint Americas and European Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS) meeting.

However, other studies presented at the same session of the conference showed that patients with MS and other comorbidities have more MS disability. With this in mind, Dr Rotstein told Medscape Medical News, "We do know that healthy diet can help people in general and reduce other comorbidities, especially cardiovascular disease, so this will help MS in the long run."

Another study presented at the meeting showed no effect of a plant-based diet very low in saturated fat on MS endpoints, although numbers were small.

However, it was linked to a significant reduction in fatigue, which was correlated with improvements in body mass index and total cholesterol. This caused the researchers, led by Vijayshree Yadav, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, to conclude that "a diet very low in saturated fats may yield longer-term quality-of-life benefits and vascular health benefits in MS subjects."

"As other studies presented here have shown patients with comorbidities have worse MS outcomes, the changes we have seen in this small study are likely to translate into better MS outcomes in the long term," Dr. Yadav told Medscape Medical News.

Dr. Rotstein and colleagues evaluated the diets from 185,000 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) 1 and 2 who were prospectively followed (from 1984 in NHS 1 and from 1991 in NHS 2) and filled in dietary pattern questionnaires every 4 years. Records also showed 480 validated incident cases of MS in the 2 NHSs.

From the dietary information, the researchers calculated scores on various different indices of healthy eating: the alternative healthy eating index, the alternative Mediterranean diet score, and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). They also used the information on the principal components of the diet to designate 2 separate diets: the Western diet (high in red meat, sugar, and refined grains) vs the Prudent diet (high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, poultry, and whole grains).

They calculated baseline and mean cumulative scores for each of the above diets and investigated whether there was any relationship between these scores and the risk for MS. They used a Cox proportional hazard analysis with adjustment for known factors affecting MS risk, including age, latitude of residence at age 15, body mass index at age 18, total energy intake, and supplemental vitamin D intake.

Results found no evidence for an inverse relationship between a high-quality diet and the risk of developing MS on any of the dietary scores.

Dr. Rotstein noted that the study had many strengths, with a prospective design, participants well characterised with extensive data collection and known confounders of MS risk, and dietary scores collected at multiple different time points. But she added that dietary scores are inherently subjective.

Adolescence: A Critical Window?

On this point, she noted that obesity in adolescence has shown a strong link to an increased risk of developing MS. But studies in adults have been more mixed, and obesity in adults has not been definitely linked with an increased risk for MS.

"Our study was conducted purely in adults, with a youngest age of 25," she noted. "All we can say from our results is that there does not appear to be a direct relationship between diet quality and risk of developing MS as an adult. We cannot say anything about eating habits in adolescence and risk of MS from these data. It is possible that the adolescent years are a critical window, but our study doesn't answer that question."

She also noted that the "high-quality" diets evaluated in this study were all aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease. "It is possible that different patterns would be better for preventing immunological diseases, but we don't know that."

She added: "I have many MS patients who believe that diet may have affected them developing the disease and they feel guilty that they cannot or did not comply with a healthy diet, so these results can provide some reassurance in that regard."

Dr. Rotstein said that although a specific MS diet has not yet been found, there was a great deal of support for vitamin D. "The one nutritional factor that has been shown time and time again to be linked to MS is vitamin D deficiency. I tell all my patients to take vitamin D supplements, but other than that I think it is an open question as to whether other dietary factors affect the disease. So far there is nothing definitive to show that."

Low-Saturated-Fat Diet

The other study presented here by Dr. Yadav and colleagues, looking at a low-saturated-fat diet in MS, was inspired by the work of Dr. Roy Swank in the 1950s. Dr. Swank suggested that individuals who consumed high amounts of saturated fat were at higher risk for MS.

The study evaluated a plant-based diet very low in saturated fat known as the McDougall diet. The composition of the diet is estimated at 10% fat, 14% protein, and 76% carbohydrate, with a focus on starches such as potatoes, corn, rice, beans, oats, fruits, and vegetables. Meat, fish, and dairy are not recommended.

For the study, 61 participants were randomly assigned to this diet or to a control group. The diet group underwent dietary training in a 10-day residential program and then completed monthly food-frequency questionnaires for 1 year.

Results showed no discernible effect on the MS disease process, with no significant changes in the number of active lesions, relapse rate, or Extended Disability Status Scale scores. But the researchers say the study was probably too small and had too short a follow-up to detect such changes.

They did find, however, significant improvement in fatigue measured by an almost 50% reduction in the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale score in the diet group.

Patients in the diet group also lost an average of 20 pounds in weight and had improved cholesterol and mental health scores.

Dr. Rotstein and Dr. Yadav have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

MS Boston 2014: The 2014 Joint Americas and European Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS/ECTRIMS) meeting. Abstracts PS5.1, PS5.3, and P055. Presented September 11, 2014.

Source: Medscape Multispeciality © 1994-2014 by WebMD LLC (25/09/14)

Could high dietary salt levels worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms?(29/08/14)

High dietary salt intake may worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms and boost the risk of further neurological deterioration, indicates a small observational study published online in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Previous research has indicated that salt may alter the autoimmune response, which is implicated in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), but it is not clear if it has any direct effect on the course of the disease itself.

The researchers assessed the blood and urine samples of 70 people with the relapsing-remitting form of MS to check for levels of salt; a marker of inflammatory activity called creatinine; and vitamin D, low levels of which have been linked to the disease.

This group were asked to provide urine samples on three separate occasions over a period of nine months to monitor changes in dietary salt intake, and their neurological health was then tracked for two years, between 2010 and 2012.

By way of comparison, urinary salt levels were measured in a second group of 52 people with the same type of MS between June and July 2013.

Salt intake averaged just over 4 g per day in both groups, but ranged from under 2 g (low) to 2-4.8 g (moderate) to 4.8 g or more a day (high), with men tending to have a higher daily intake than women.

After taking account of influential factors, such as smoking, age, gender, length of time after diagnosis, weight, treatment and circulating vitamin D, the analysis indicated a link between levels of dietary salt and worsening symptoms.

Compared with those consuming the least salt every day, those on moderate to high intake in the first group had around three more episodes of worsening symptoms, and were almost four times as likely to have these episodes.

The researchers then looked at x-rays and scans to find out if the disease had progressed further, and once again found a link between dietary salt intake and radiological evidence of further deterioration.

Those whose dietary salt intake was high were almost 3.5 times as likely to have radiological signs of further progression.

Similar results were obtained for the comparison group.

This is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. And higher levels of salt in the urine may reflect greater disease activity rather than the other way round, the authors point out.

But high salt intake is implicated in various aspects of poor health, they say. And their findings suggest further research into whether dietary salt reduction could ease MS symptoms or slow the progression of the disease might now be warranted, they add.

Source: MedicalXpress © Medical Xpress 2011-2014 (29/08/14)