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Showing posts from August, 2013

Cocoa again shown to boost brain health

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If you’re looking for an easy and literally sweet way to keep your brain healthy and sharp with aging, keep drinking cocoa. Scientists reported this week in the journal Neurology that the popular beverage boosts brain performance, though the mechanism is not entirely clear yet. 
This time researchers gave elderly study participants two cups of cocoa a day to see if the chocolate drink could help cognitive performance. Past studies have focused on the health benefits of dark chocolate. 
Harvard scientists also studied cocoa's benefit for the brain in 2008, finding the drink improved blood vessel health to the brain. In the Harvard study, there was an 8 percent increase in blood flow after one week of consuming the beverage. 




Another study, published by Dutch researchers in 2006, found chocolate in all forms, including cocoa, lowers blood pressure. The authors for the Dutch study concluded 2.11 grams of chocolate that was the average daily intake of theparticipants "clearly" …

Mom’s fat and sugar diet during pregnancy linked to offspring’s taste for drugs, alcohol

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Eating a high sugar and fat diet during pregnancy was found in animal studies to raise the chances of drug and alcohol abuse for offspring. According to psychologists, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse could start in the womb as a result of diet during pregnancy.
The finding is one more addition to a string of research that shows lifelong health starts in the womb.
Nicole Avena, PhD, a research neuroscientist with the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute studied rats to reach the conclusion.
Dr. Avena explains most women of child-bearing age in the U.S. are already overweight. She suggests there may be a correlation between rates of obesity among women and the high number of youth who are also obese and abuse drugs and alcohol.
“The rise in prenatal and childhood obesity and the rise in number of youths abusing alcohol and drugs merits looking into all the possible roots of these growing problems,” Avena said in an APA press release.
The study
For the investigation, the rese…

How stress in the womb can lead to chronic disease

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New research shows stress in the womb could lead to chronic disease that comes from disruption of gene expression.
The type of stress that comes from mother's inadequate diet, smoking or exposure to chemicals that disrupt hormones such as BPA are all suggested to lead to human disease based on a new study finding published in the August. 2013 issue of the FASEB journal. 
Researchers from Harvard explored epigenetic changes that can lead to cancer and other childhood diseases to find out what kind of stressors in the womb can harm health prior to birth. 
For their study Karin Michels, Sc.D., Ph.D and colleagues looked at patterns of genes that are needed for growth and development by analyzing cord blood of more than 100 infants.
They then looked at gene methylation – the process that turns our genes off. Methylated genes that protect us from disease are those that are turned off.
The results showed our genes can be disrupted in the uterus.
The researcher discovered a high level of di…