Showing posts with label Health Aging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health Aging. Show all posts

March 21, 2018

From The NIH " Minoxidil May Improve Blood Vessel Structure"

Grow your 'hair while making your blood vessels stronger'. I can already see the ads but that is not the reason this is being published but because you have two conditions that affect millions and you have a known substance that helps one and possibly the second. On the second it could be a lifesaver not just cosmetics like having more hair. Adam


Blood vessel sliced open to show wallThe structure of blood vessel walls can affect the flow of blood through the vessels. alex-mit/iStock/Thinkstock 

Elastic fibers in the walls of large blood vessels enable them to bounce back after being stretched. The diameter of vessels is controlled by both the amount of elastic fibers present and the degree of squeezing from smooth muscle cells in the vessel walls. A larger diameter allows more blood through. As adults age, their blood vessels slowly begin to lose flexibility. The increased vessel stiffness and reduced vessel diameter that result contribute to the aging-related risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia. There are also rare diseases that can cause lifelong vessel stiffness from insufficient elastic fibers.

The dozens of drugs on the market for reducing blood pressure work in very different ways. Minoxidil, which also promotes hair growth when used on the scalp, can relax the smooth muscle cells in blood vessels by opening certain potassium channels. Prior studies with animals suggested that another function of the drug is to turn on the genes for elastin (a protein found in elastic fibers) and other elastic fiber genes, such as Fbn-1 and Lox, causing elastin deposits within the blood vessel wall.

To find out whether an oral form of minoxidil can remodel the vessel’s wall to reduce blood vessel stiffness and enhance blood flow to the brain, researchers studied the drug’s effects in mice. The team was led by Dr. Beth A. Kozel of NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Washington University School of Medicine’s Dr. Joel R. Garbow and Dr. Michael Shoykhet (now at Children’s National Hospital). The study was also funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Results were published online on March 2, 2018, in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

The research team studied mice that were genetically modified to have low levels of elastin in their blood vessels. As a result, the mice had high blood pressure, increased blood vessel stiffness, and reduced blood flow to the brain. One group of modified mice received minoxidil in their drinking water from weaning until 3 months, a second group was treated for only the two weeks before elastin gene studies, and a third group had plain water instead.

The scientists found that minoxidil lowered blood pressure and vessel stiffness to levels similar to healthy mice. Imaging tests showed that vessel diameter and blood flow to the brain increased in the minoxidil-treated mice. One month after the drug was stopped, the diameter was still enlarged, suggesting that the structure of the blood vessel walls had changed. Using protein analyses and tissue studies, the team showed that minoxidil increased elastin deposits in blood vessels. Gene studies revealed that minoxidil revs up not only elastin and elastic fiber genes but also more than 100 other genes related to blood vessel structure.

Taken together, the findings suggest that treatment with minoxidil lowers blood pressure in part by remodeling large blood vessel walls. The structural changes reduce stiffness, increase blood vessel diameter, and improve blood flow to the brain.

“These results in mice are promising,” Kozel says. “We are looking forward to future clinical trials to test how this medication impacts blood flow in people.”

 —by Geri Piazza
National Institutes of Health

It is adamfoxie's 10th🦊Anniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage.

August 29, 2017

20,000 People and10 Yrs Suggests Heavy Coffee Drinkers Live Longer





Feel free to pour that second, third, or even fourth cup of coffee this morning.
Higher consumption of coffee is connected to a lower risk of death, says a study presented by Spanish researchers during the European Society of Cardiology Congress held in Barcelona.
The study, conducted by Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, featured nearly 20,000 participants and followed up with them for an average of 10 years. 
The study found participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who never or almost never drank coffee.
The research also found for participants who were 45 or older, drinking two additional cups of coffee was linked to a 30% lower risk of death.
"Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people," said Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, in a statement.
The findings back up a pair of studies published earlier this year touting the benefits of drinking coffee. One of the studies found coffee was linked to a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

March 9, 2017

The Challenges and Lack of Fairness for Aging LGBT






Whether it's transgender teens trying to find informed providers to help them navigate their life-changing physical transformations; lesbians who are less likely than others to get preventive breast-cancer care; or gay and bisexual men who had to push an indifferent health care system to respond to the early AIDS epidemic, LGBT individuals have faced many challenges in the health space. As researchers look for ways to improve LGBT health, one issue hasn't received much attention with respect to this population, although it is an equal-opportunity process: aging. Now, groundbreaking research is taking a closer look at the unique ways middle-age and older LGBT adults experience getting older, revealing some key obstacles and disparities.

The National Institutes of Health-funded study tracking more than 2,400 LGBT U.S. adults shows gaps in their physical and emotional health, as well as widespread concerns about safe options for accessing high-quality health care and long-term care.

An estimated 2.4 percent of the older population self-identifies as LGBT, with many more who haven't yet "come out," according to Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, principal investigator of the multifaceted study, "Aging With Pride: National Health, Aging and Sexuality/Gender." “We need to develop interventions to reduce disparities, promote health in these communities, and ensure we have services for these older adults that are culturally competent,” she says. 

On the brighter side, her research team also discovered the health-promoting power of resilience among LGBT seniors who are leveraging communities of mutual support. That support, she found, can provide a buffer, of sorts, against some of the disparities identified.
More than two-thirds of participants had experienced victimization, such as physical and verbal assaults, and discrimination more than three times in their lives, says Fredriksen-Goldsen, who is also a professor of social work and director of the Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence at the University of Washington.

"LGBT seniors are more likely to have poor general health, more chronic conditions, higher rates of disability and more psychological distress," she says. Discrimination and victimization are the strongest predictors of poor aging, she adds. In particular, gay and bisexual older men are more likely than heterosexual men to have poor general health and to live alone.

Lesbian and bisexual older women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, and are more likely than heterosexual women to have multiple chronic conditions. "In our study, about 47 percent have a disability," Fredriksen-Goldsen says. “And disability starts at younger ages, likely due to higher rates of chronic conditions and other stressors."

Among LGBT people, transgender and bisexual older adults are at even greater risk for victimization and discrimination, and bisexual and transgender adults are more likely to live in poverty, which heightens their risk for health care disparities and poor health.

Within the LGBT population, greater health disparities exist for older adults in racial and ethnic minority groups, Fredriksen-Goldsen says. However, she adds, “religious and spiritual activities are also greater in those communities, which tends to offset some of the risks."

Social support matters. "We do find that even though there are many disparities, most LGBT older adults are aging well and have good health," she says. "Linked to that, we keep finding consistent predictors are greater levels of social support, less victimization and discrimination, more community engagement and a sense of community connectedness and belonging."
Social Health

While she wasn't part of the study, 72-year-old Rita Smith – who came out as a lesbian in the 1970s – embodies that sense of connectivity and social engagement. A retired community education director for recycling and waste prevention in Seattle, Smith now throws herself into activities from serving on the board of the nonprofit Generations Aging With Pride to pruning fruit trees in Seattleites' yards and teaching them to prune via workshops – a carryover from her "idyllic" childhood among apple orchards. "It's a way to be out with there and celebrate the fact that I'm relatively fit and capable," she says. And her health is fine. "It could be better if I were more diligent with my exercise but I feel quite healthy," Smith says.

Unfortunately, Smith's situation is not the case for everyone. Past and present social biases affect the quality of care LGBT people receive – a 2009 national survey, for example, found that some LGBT patients were being refused needed care and that some health professionals were refusing to touch them – as does their attitude toward the health care system on which they become more dependent with age.

Health Consequences

Unhealthy habits that people maintain as young adults – such as smoking, overeating, being sedentary and heavy drinking – catch up to most people with age. But health consequences may be more likely in LGBT seniors, says Dr. Jesse Joad, president of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, a U.S.-based association whose members include LGBT physicians, nurses, physician assistants, researchers and other health professionals in several countries. One example is that lesbians and other sexual-minority women tend to be more obese, she notes. The result, she says, is higher risk for heart disease, arthritis, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. 

LGBT people tend to smoke more than others, Joad says, raising their risk of chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, or COPD, and lung cancer. Added to all this is a reluctance in some LGBT people to seek out preventive health care, including screening exams like mammograms, and medical treatment for existing health problems, due to concerns about health care biases.

Evidence shows transgender people, in particular, are more resistant to seeing health providers. "Either they have been treated poorly in the past, or they're just aware of what has happened to other people," Joad says.

Stigma is at the root not only of health care disparities but many unhealthy behaviors in the LGBT community, Joad adds. For instance, she says, higher rates of substance abuse, smoking and problem drinking "are thought to be the ways LGBT people have coped with the stigma they face all the time."

For Smith, substances were never an issue. "I had not been inclined to be a drinker or smoker," she says. But others were. "Part of the reason the [Seattle-based] Lesbian Resource Center existed back in the 60s [was] it had been founded by people who were recognizing that the only place lesbians were getting together were bars," she recalls. "So the LRC was intentionally alcohol-free." While alcohol can act as a social lubricant, it can also provide a dicey refuge for isolated people who don't feel accepted.
Coming out as LGBT is considered empowering and emotionally healthy. However, staying out can be tricky for older people who need assistance from in-home caregivers or residential facilities, especially if they fear potential victimization and discrimination.

"Many of the LGBT seniors, especially if they have increased needs, and don't have the support around them, say that they feel that they have to go back into the closet when they're most vulnerable," Fredriksen-Goldsen explains. "If they're going to go live in a long-term care facility, certainly it can create isolation for them."

LGBT study participants shared fears that some facility residents might be biased, and some reported feeling bullied by other residents. “Facilities need to consider how they’ve provided a welcoming environment," Fredriksen-Goldsen says. 

Smith and her friends are at a stage where they visit others in their social circle who now live in residential facilities, and also consider their own future options. As a rule, they don't feel particularly drawn to any of the sites. "It's not necessarily so much that we think it would be a horrific kind of setting, but just an uncomfortable place where we feel that we don't necessarily belong," she says. "Where we can't be our whole selves."

However, she adds: "For me – bless the women's movement – I'm more inclined to say, 'They'll just have to get over themselves.' And I do tend to be pretty bold in terms of standing up for myself.”



November 19, 2015

(MIT’s Lenny Guarante) Hits pay Dirt in Aging Research “A Pill”




Say someone came up to you selling a dietary supplement—a pill that you take once a day—that could boost your energy, improve your body’s ability to repair its DNA, and keep you healthier as you get older.
It might sound like a scam, or more likely just another in a sea of confusing, undifferentiated claims that make up the $20 billion dollar supplement industry.
But let’s say that someone is MIT’s Lenny Guarente, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of aging research. And he’s being advised by five Nobel Prize winners and two dozen other top researchers in their fields. You might pay a little more attention.



Elena Ray via Shutterstock

THE SCIENTIST AND THE STARTUP

Cofounding a supplement company seems an unlikely career move for someone like Guarente, a man who is one of the most well-respected scientists in his field. ("It is a departure," Guarente admits). Mostly, for him, getting involved in Elysium Health is a decision born out of opportunity and frustration. The opportunity is the chance to make a difference by translating findings in the booming field of aging research directly to consumers today. The frustration is that doing this has taken so long in the first place.
"My biggest hope is that we can make available to people something that is currently unavailable, and that it will have a positive impact on their health," Guarente says.
Elysium Health actually had its beginnings in conversations between its other two, younger cofounders, Eric Marcotulli and Dan Alminana, who were then tech investors and gym buddies. Even though they’re both quite health-conscious, they knew they couldn’t halt the march of aging and all the ailments that come with it. Far more than diet or anything else people can control, the biggest risk factor for many of the diseases that kill us—including diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease—is simply getting older.



Straight 8 Photography via Shutterstock

Marcotulli knew something about the market opportunity too, which has also lately attracted the likes of Google (with its Calico Labs project) and other SIlicon Valley investors. He had studied the story of a company called Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which in the mid-2000s was working to take resveratrol, the natural anti-aging compound found in red wine, and alter it into a more potent form that could be patented and developed into a medical drug. In 2008, Sirtris—founded by Guarente’s former postdoc David Sinclair—was acquired by the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline for a jaw-dropping $720 million.
"The fundamental question was: Are there other natural products out there that could be meaningful? I think resveratrol was the first, and I was thinking there’s maybe the potential for many others," Marcotulli remembers thinking as he studied the story while in business school.
The two started cold-calling scientists involved in aging research and were surprised how many were enthusiastic about the idea, including Guarente. The FDA doesn’t recognize aging itself as a condition, so, instead, companies like Sirtris and GSK are are taking scientific findings about how we age and translating them into drugs that treat specific age-related diseases. The issue is that the clinical trials involved in doing this can take more than a decade, and even then that is no guarantee a drug will be approved. The result has been that, though scientists have made major strides in understanding how and why we age and demonstrating that this aging can be delayed, they’ve so far seen few results in translating their work to help people.
The two entrepreneurs wanted to take a very different approach than the drug makers: sell only unaltered natural products, which generally aren’t patented and don’t need FDA approval, and create new kinds of supplements that make no claim to treat a specific disease but promote general wellness instead.
"If there’s a benefit that can be had now, then I think it doesn’t make sense to wait a decade or more until some derivative [from a drug company] becomes available—though I’m not saying that’s not a good thing to do too" says Guarente.




The three cofounders have been taking the company’s first product, a pill they are calling BASIS, for the last three to five months. Through its website, Elysium Health will sell a one-month supply to consumers for $60, or $50 with a monthly subscription.

BOOSTING NAD

The theory behind the pill is built on work first pioneered in Guarente’s lab on sirtuins, a group of enzymes involved in cell metabolism and energy production that are common to a wide range of living organisms. Researchers have found that boosting the activity of sirtuins, which is sometimes done by calorie restriction diets, can extend lifespan of yeasts, worms, mice, and other animals. Efforts to develop a drug that can have the same effect, without the lack of calories, have been going on for the last two decades, including at Sirtris and GlaxoSmithKline. There are also natural compounds that elevate sirtuins—one is resveratrol, which is already sold as a dietary supplement today. Another is called NAD.
NAD—Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide—is one of the most compelling bits of chemistry related to aging. Its presence in the body is directly correlated with the passage of time: An elderly man will have about half the levels of NAD is his body as a young person. There’s no amount of healthy eating or exercise that can stop the decline. But in a scientific paper published in 2013 that generated headlines about "reversing aging," Harvard’s Sinclair showed that after a week of giving two-year-old mice a boost of NAD, their tissues looked more like six-month-old mice.
Elysium’s pill is an attempt to replicate that process naturally in humans. It contains the building blocks of NAD, so the body can easily absorb the smaller molecules and synthesize its own. The pill also contains pterostilbene, a compound, that is a close relative of resveratrol, but which Guarente says is potentially more potent and effective.
Elysium explicitly wants to avoid the charlatan feel of the countless "anti-aging" products on the market today. It isn’t selling the pill as a key to a longer life or to preventing any particular disease, since there isn't any evidence the pill will do that. A press release the company put out with its launch hardly mentions aging at all. (Another reason is they want to appeal to young people too, who don’t necessarily care about aging, but may want to feel healthier and more energetic). Instead, the founders talks about enhancing basic biological functions: improving DNA repair, cellular detoxification, energy production, and protein function.
"We have no interest in being an anti-aging company and extending lifespan," says Marcotulli. "For us this is about increasing healthspan, not lifespan."

THE FUTURE OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

There is a downside to the model: They can't patent their work. Some companies already sell supplements for each of the two ingredients in BASIS, and others could copy Elysium as soon as it releases its next products. That’s where Elysium’s business model— and its scientific superstars—come in.
The company aims to be very different type of dietary supplement company—the founders cite the hip, design savvy consumer brands Warby ParkerOscar HealthHarry’s, and Nest as their role models. (Warby Parker co-CEO Dave Gilboa and one of its early investors, Kal Vepuri, are angel investors in Elysium. Martin Lotti, creative director for Nike’s soccer division, is a strategic advisor.)
"Our vision and mission is to bring scientifically validated natural health products to market through these traditional retail channels," says Marcotulli. "But it also takes the best aspects of the pharmaceutical model—the R&D focus, clinical rigor, and following these consumers over time."
Its products will only be sold on its website, where Elysium can control more nuanced messaging than on store shelves. Branding, trust, and scientific expertise are what the team hopes differentiates them from the faceless companies that line Whole Foods’ shelves. At the most basic level, that means trust that the pill contains what it says it contains, but also beyond that, trust that it is doing a person any good. 
Elysium assures the ingredients in its products will all be pure, and it will do its own safety testing, as well as test for a basic level of efficacy. Already, says Guarente, it has tested BASIS at a range of doses for safety and to assure that NAD levels in the body actually increase from taking its pill. Over time, the team hopes to also collect data back from customers to start demonstrating some of the longer-term benefits over months and eventually years.
Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says Elysium has a good business idea based on sound science and an impressive team. As someone who is not involved in the company, his one fear is that if something went wrong with a top scientist like Guarente’s name attached, it might set back the whole field of research. Though not required by the FDA, he urges the company to go above and beyond in all of its testing. "People are going to overuse it, and I’m sure if you have too much of it, it could have some effect we can’t predict," he says.
For Elysium’s next products, which might touch on other areas such as brain health or musculoskeletal health, it will start to tap into the expertise of the formidable list of more than 30 scientific advisors signed on—everyone from Eric Kandel, a brain scientist who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine to Tom Sudhof, a cellular physiologist at Stanford who received the prize in 2013. Eventually, it hopes to expand this network of scientific expertise further to as many scientists that want to get involved.
If anything, Elysium might make more people aware that aging is becoming something that we may one day treat.
"There has been an explosion of science in the field of aging. And I think the public doesn’t really realize how far aging research has come. We have a lot of ideas about the mechanisms of aging, and tons and tons of pathways that can be optimized, tweaked, or activated to possibly extend lifespan," says Stanford University aging researcher Stuart Kim, who is on Elysium’s scientific advisory team. "I think the public is probably about 30 years behind our thinking about aging. It’s as if we thought about cancer in the way we did in 1960.”
Originally published on Fast CoExist
[Top photo: Sarah Salmela/Getty Images]

Adamfoxie blog International is not endorsing this product nor has received any compensation to publish this article. This article which is based at ongoing research on aging is complimentary to articles we publish on health. Born at the end of the*“baby boomer’s” generation myself  rightly or wrongly I don’t think I will get significant and affordable benefits from current research  products but I truly believe the generation behind me definably will. Adam Gonzalez
A Comment from a user: Well, I've been taking Basis for a while now. I feel great, but then, since I take good care of my diet and exercise, I always feel great, so I can't say I've seen any huge change. Guess we should all meet back here in twenty or thirty years and I'll report in then!
*Baby boomer:A marked increased in births after WWII and lasting until the early part of 1960 when birth control became universal in the US. 

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