Wake Up to Wellness: Issue #6

Health Newsletter

What’s new in the world of health and wellness this week?

We’ve got you covered:

  • Why higher cholesterol might be a good thing.
  • The connection between different sugars and cancer cells.
  • Another new cutting-edge, promising cancer treatment.
  • How an Alzheimer’s vaccine might cut the disease in half.
  • An interesting approach to finding out if you have a healthy personality.

Can Higher Cholesterol Levels Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

A study done in China has suggested that a higher level of LDL-C may reduce the chance you might get dementia. The researched studied 3,800 participants with an average age of 69.

The study showed that dementia is linked to increased age, lower education levels, and Type 2 diabetes. However, they found that those with the highest levels of LDL-C (>142 mg/dL) had a 50% reduced incidence of dementia compared to those with the lowest LDL-C levels (<110 mg/dL).

The Framingham Heart Study also showed that participants 85 and older with a higher cholesterol levels had a lower risk of developing dementia.

Both studies were observational, so they don’t prove that higher LDL-C levels provide protection against dementia. But we are able to logically hypothesize that higher LDL-C levels are connected to a decreased incidence of dementia. It’s possible that LDL-C can improve neuron health and protect the brain from atrophy.

Read the full story here.

How Changing Sugars Might Help Treat Cancer

Everyone that has ever had cancer or knows someone who has knows about the very unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. There might be a better treatment option.

The key might be related to how the body metabolizes sugar. A new study showed that switching the type of sugar fed to mice from glucose to mannose reduced the growth of cancer cells.

What’s mannose, you might ask? It’s a simple sugar, a monosaccharide common to glucose but found much less in the body. Even better, the study showed that the cancer cells were more responsive to chemotherapy in the mice that received mannose.

The theory is that cancer cells have a modified cellular metabolism. Cancer cells live off glucose for fuel. So, if we reduce the amount of glucose in the body, it may be able to hinder cancer cell growth and improve the overall outcome and treatment methods.

The study also found that the mice with a low level of the enzyme phosphomannose isomerase had the best results. This particular enzyme turns mannose into fructose. So, it could be that the cancer cells were able to use fructose for fuel whereas they could not use mannose.

However, the most effective way to hinder cancer cell growth might not be to replace one sugar with another. It may be best to eat no sugar at all through fasting ketosis. When the body is in ketosis, it shifts from using glucose as an energy source and starts fatty acid oxidation while producing ketones.

Cancer cells can’t shift from using glucose to ketones, so ketosis shows great promise as a cancer treatment called adjuvant therapy.

Read the full story here.

The FDA Approves a Cutting-Edge Cancer Treatment

A new cancer treatment that’s based on genetic biomarkers instead of certain types of cancer just got an accelerated approval from the FDA. The drug is called Vitrakvi (brand name larorectinib), and it signals a rising trend of cancer drugs that are “tissue agnostic.”

Tissue-agnostic drugs are powerful and promising because they aren’t limited to one organ, so their treatment range is broad. Vitrakvi was developed by Bayer and Loxo Oncology, and it’s intended to treat solid tumors from TRK fusion cancer wherever they originated in the body.

It’s a rare type of cancer, and very expensive. The test alone costs thousands and treatment can be hundreds of thousands. However, Bayer has said that no one who needs the drug will go without it.

Read the full story here.

Could a New Vaccine Cut the Risk of Alzheimer’s in Half?

Approximately 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with a possible projection to 11.4 million by 2050. A new vaccine could cut that number in half. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have created a vaccine that that may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s.

The vaccine is the result of a decade of research that suggests the drug can effectively target the cause of Alzheimer’s in animal subjects. The vaccine works by preventing the buildup of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer’s.

Researchers have had good results with mice, rabbits, and monkeys, and they hope to begin human trials soon.

Read the full story here.

Researchers Say They Can Tell if You Have a Healthy Personality

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have created a “healthy personality prototype” in a recent study. Their studies showed that a healthy personality includes a “big five” model of personality characteristics.

The five major factors are neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. What did they find the healthiest personality to be? Low levels of neuroticism, high levels of openness to feelings, warmth, positive emotions, and agreeable straightforwardness.

Wiebke Bleidorn, an associate professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley and lead study author, said, “We believe our results have both practical implications for the assessment of and research on health personality functioning as well as deeper implications for theories about psychological adaption and functioning.”

The study surveyed hundreds of Michigan and Texas college students. The big five traits were connected to positive life outcomes such as health, self-esteem, academic performance, quality relationships, work performance, and overall stability.

Read the full story here.

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