27 December 2008

Autism And Schizophrenia Share Common Origin

Supports Chapter 26: Diet and the brain
and Chapter 19: Prevention is better

Medical News Today has just reported a study conducted by a Dutch researcher, Annemie Ploeger, in which she hypothesises that "Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin".

There is already research which links these conditions to our 'healthy' diet in infancy, but what is new is that Ploeger also indicts "disruptions" to the fetus during the early growth period - between 20 and 40 days after fertilisation - when the embryo is highly susceptible to such disruptions. Such 'disruptions' she puts down to the mother taking a morning sickess drug called softenon. However, morning sickness is less likely if the pregnant mother is eating a natural diet.

If Ploeger is right, and I have every reason to suspect that she is, an expectant mother's diet as well as the diet her baby eats during its postnatal formative period, may both play an important role in the growing incidences of both autism and schizophrenia.


17 December 2008

Low cholesterol increases risk of bone fracture

Supports Chapter 22: The dangers of low cholesterol

A new study shows that low levels of cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides are associated with fractures of the vertebrae in postmenopausal women.

“Many factors other than low bone mineral density (BMD) have been suggested as predictors of risk for osteoporosis-related fractures,” comment Ebru Alemdaroglu and colleagues from Ankara Numune Training and Research Hospital, Turkey.

They add that growing evidence suggests bone and fat metabolism are related, but data are limited and contradictory.

To investigate the effect of the serum lipid levels on BMD and vertebral fractures, Alemdaroglu and team examined lumbar spine, hip and radius bone mineral density (BMD) measurements, lateral dorsal and lumbar spine radiographs, and serum lipid levels in 107 postmenopausal women aged 45–79 years.

The researchers were able to score 89 radiographs with good technical properties using the Kleerekoper method. Vertebrae fractures were observed in 71% of the women.
Analysis showed that patients with vertebrae fractures had significantly lower levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol than the patients without vertebrae fractures.
Total cholesterol level was most strongly associated with vertebral fracture. An increase of 1 mg/dl (0.03 mmol/l) total cholesterol was associated with a 2.2% decreased risk for vertebrae fracture.

The researchers reason that estrogen is synthesized by cholesterol and esterified forms of estrogen are stored and transported by lipoproteins. Thus, decreased LDL levels would be associated with decreased stored estrogen and may explain the relationship between vertebrate fracture and reduced serum lipids.

According to the T-scores obtained by BMD measurement, 36 (33.6%) of the 107 women examined were suffering from osteoporosis. Alemdaroglu and co-researchers report that the lipid profiles of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly from those without osteoporosis.

There was no correlation between serum lipid levels and BMD at the lumbar spine, right hip and radius in any of the study participants. Only total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were weakly associated with BMD at the forearm after the adjustment for possible confounders.

Sivas F, et al. Serum lipid profile: its relationship with osteoporotic vertebrae fractures and bone mineral density in Turkish postmenopausal women. Rheumatol Int 2008. [Online publication ahead of print]
DOI 10.1007/s00296-008-0784-4

The bottom line is: This is yet another indication that low cholesterol levels are not desirable.

12 December 2008

Yet more vitamin D deficiency diseases

Supports Chapter 11: Our irrational fear of sunlight

I really should have delayed Trick and Treat; there is so much more evidence coming out in support of its various chapters and subjects since it went to print in September.

Two studies just published show even more dangers of ill-health caused by the current ‘keep out of the sun’ advice. These concern low levels of vitamin and Parkinson’s disease, and the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Parkinson’s disease

A team of doctors at the Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, compared the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in mainly white patients with Parkinson’s disease, with the prevalence in age-matched healthy controls and patients with Alzheimer disease, between 1992 and 2007.

They found significantly lower levels of vitamin D levels at a mean of 31.9 nmol/l in the Parkinson’s patients compared to the other two groups.

(Alzheimer’s patients levels were also lower than the levels in the healthy cohort, although the study was not set up to measure the effects of this.)

Evatt ML, et al Prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2008; 65: 1348-52.

Inflammatory bowel disease

A causal connection between vitamin D deficiency and inflammatory bowel disease was reported at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, Florida, during October.

Lead researcher Dr Alex Ulitsky from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, USA, and his team found that Vitamin D deficiency was common among people with inflammatory bowel disease and is associated with increased disease activity and worse quality of life.

They found that nearly 50% of the patients were Vitamin D deficient at some point, with 11% being severely deficient. Vitamin D deficiency was also associated with reduced quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease, but not in those with ulcerative colitis.

Although concerned mainly with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Dr Ulitsky concluded: “All inflammatory bowel disease patients, irrespective of their disease, disease location or nature should have their Vitamin D levels checked regularly and corrected aggressively when insufficiency is found.”

Meeting website: http://www.acg.gi.org/acgmeetings/


There may be some excuse for people living at higher latitudes to have some vitamin D deficiency, particularly if they have darker skins, but for residents of Florida, with its almost year-long sunshine also to suffer must be a reflection on the appalling health advice they are given. We need to get out in the sun more, not less.

10 December 2008

Leading nutritionist shows how little she knows

Supports pretty well all of Trick and Treat

The UK's Daily Express published an article on Tuesday 9 December 2008 entitled "Did scientists get it wrong on the dangers of saturated fat?" It was written to publicise
Trick and Treat: How 'healthy eating' is making us ill, but was in the form of a debate.

On the "Yes" side was me and my book, Trick and Treat. On the "No"side was an argument by a senior member of the British Nutrition Foundation, Dr Joanne Lunn. Her comments illustrate well why I felt it necessary to write Trick and Treat as she said that:

"The government, doctors and nutritionists don't base recommendations for reducing the amount of saturated fat in our diets on old research but on a growing body of evidence linking a diet high in saturated fat with a higher level of blood cholesterol and high blood cholesterol levels with a risk of cardiovascular disease."

The evidence I quoted in support of Trick and Treat is not 'old' evidence, but is right up-to-date; it includes studies published as recently as September this year. And that evidence shows over and over again that saturated fat does not cause cardiovascular diseases

Indeed, there has been so much evidence against 'healthy eating' since its inception in the 1980s that Professor Sylvan Lee Weinberg, a past President of the American College of Cardiology and a fervent supporter and advocate of 'healthy eating', finally wrote in the 4 March 2004 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that:
"The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, promulgated vigorously . . . may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid [blood fat] abnormalities, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations or by rejecting clinical experience and a growing medical literature suggesting that the much-maligned low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may have a salutary effect on the epidemics in question."
Professor Weinberg is not alone; there is a growing number of doctors speaking out about the falsity of the current 'healthy' recommendations.

Dr Lunn also said that "people will always ignore the evidence". But
it is not I who am ignoring the evidence, it is people like Dr Lunn, and until those in authority stop ignoring the growing evidence that 'healthy eating' isn't healthy, our health can only deteriorate still further.

But, of course, if we didn't get ill, they wouldn't have a job, would they?

03 December 2008

Study finds vegetarians have smaller brains

Supports Chapter 13: Homo carnivorous

Scientists at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain – with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.

The study involved tests and brain scans on community-dwelling volunteers aged 61 to 87 years without cognitive impairment at enrolment, over a period of five years. When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Vegans are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.

This study confirms other findings, covered in Trick and Treat, which shows that overall human brain sizes have reduced by an average 11% since we adopted an agricultural diet based on cereal grains rather than the meat-based diet of our Palaeolithic ancestors.

Vogiatzoglou A, et al. Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly. Neurology 2008; 71(11): 826-32.