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Nobel Prize for Chocolate

It ain't rocket science. Chocolate = Smart. Simple.
An interesting new study found a "surprisingly powerful" correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel laureates. More specifically, the more chocolate that is consumed by a nation, the more Nobel prizes awarded to that country.


Coffee Speeds Recovery from Bowel Surgery

Recently, I enjoyed Uranus.
New research on coffee showed that people who drank coffee (rather than water) after bowel surgery expedited their return to bowel movements and tolerance of solid food.

“Post-operative bowel obstruction is a common problem after abdominal surgery and the aim of this study was to test our theory that coffee would help to alleviate this” explained the study's lead author.

However, it is not yet clear how coffee functions in this aspect (caffeine appears to have been ruled-out in previous studies that also found the beneficial effects using decaffeinated coffee).

In this study, the patients were randomised to be given coffee or water (100 ml three times daily) after bowel surgery.


Vitamin K Reduces Diabetes Risk

A new study on vitamin K reveals that every 100 mcg increase daily consumption of vitamin K1, decreases the risk of developing diabetes by 17%. Comparing the extremes, the highest average intakes of vitamin K1 were associated with a total reduction in the risk of diabetes of 51%, compared with people with the lowest average levels.


Omega-3s May Slow Biological Signs of Aging

A new study has show that consuming omega-3 supplements for four months may help to shift the balance of fatty acids in favour of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to counter biological signs of aging. The majority of overweight, but healthy, middle-aged and older participants who took the supplements altered the ratio of omega-3:omega-6 in a way that helped preserve the tiny segments of DNA known as telomeres.

Telomeres within many different cells are known to shorten over time as a consequence of aging.
In this study, lengthening of telomeres in leukocytes (white blood cells involved in the immune response) was most noticeable in those who increased the omega-3 to 6 ratio the greatest.


An Apple-a-Day, Keeps the Doctor Away

A new study on apples reveal that consumption of one apple daily lowered levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) cholesterol in blood by 40% after only 4 weeks.

Consumption of dietary supplements containing apple polyphenols had a similar effect, but its effect was not as great.

“Since both the apples and polyphenols extract gave an effect, the apple effect seemed to be due, at least in part, to the polyphenols present,” said the researchers. “However, the apple effect was greater than the capsule effect.”


Statins & Diabetes: Another Study Strengthens the Link

Statin therapy (e.g. Lipitor, Crestor, etc.) has been previously suggested to slightly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). In this newly published study, researchers analyzed the use of statins (popular drugs to lower LDL cholesterol) and their relation to the incidence of T2D and changes in glucose metabolism among individuals at high risk for T2D.

The results showed that, while the incidence of T2D did not differ between the statin users and non-users, fasting glucose increased significantly in statin users compared to non-users.

The finding that fasting glucose increased in statin users despite lifestyle interventions suggests that the use of these common pharmaceuticals might have unfavourable effects on glucose metabolism and that statins might hamper beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention in people at high risk of T2D.


Fish Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Omega-3 fish oil supplements have recently seen a string of negative media coverage. Studies on concentrated fish oils continue to show that the health benefits determined from epidemiological studies just don't hold true (or to a much lesser extent) when we look at supplements.


Phthalates Linked to Asthma in Children

Phthalates are a class of compounds that are known to have an assortment of negative health consequences. Unfortunately, they are found everywhere, with the most frequent sources of exposure coming from fragrances (phthalates are used to make scents "stick" to you, so that your perfume doesn't just evaporate quickly) and continuous off-gassing from PVC (considered the most dangerous plastic, and many have PVC shower curtains, fabrics, flooring, piping, etc.). More recently, the EU banned PVC in children's toys in 2005, and California followed suit in 2009.

Here's a link to an educational video to help kids (and parents) understand the dangers of PVC and how to avoid it.


High Magnesium Intake Prevents Kidney Stones

A new analysis of 311 middle-aged patients with nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) examined the relationship between magnesium and hyperoxaluria (high oxalate in the urine) and found that increasing magnesium intake may be linked with decreasing hyperoxaluria. Findings suggest that magnesium intake may decrease hyperoxaluria in patients with kidney stones.