For "Foodie Friday":
Alzheimer's: Diabetes of the Brain?
"Although we’ve always known that Alzheimer’s disease is typically associated with numerous tangles and plaque in the brain, the exact cause of these abnormalities has been hard to pin down. Now, we may be closer to an answer.
In many respects, Alzheimer’s is a brain form of diabetes. Even in the earliest stages of disease, the brain’s ability to metabolize sugar is reduced. Normally, insulin plays a big role in helping the brain take up sugar from the blood. But, in Alzheimer’s, insulin is not very effective in the brain. Consequently, the brain cells practically starve to death.
How is that like diabetes?
These days, most people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Basically, cells throughout the body become resistant to insulin signals. In an effort to encourage cells to take up more sugar from the blood, the pancreas increases the output of insulin. Imagine having to knock louder on a door to make the person inside open up and answer. The high levels of insulin could damage small blood vessels in the brain, and eventually lead to poor brain circulation. This problem could partly explain why Type 2 diabetes harms the brain. In Alzheimer’s, the brain, especially parts that deal with memory and personality, become resistant to insulin.
Why does the brain need insulin?
As in most organs, insulin stimulates brain cells to take up glucose or sugar, and metabolize it to make energy. Insulin also is very important for making chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which are needed for neurons to communicate with each other. Insulin also stimulates many functions that are needed to form new memories and conquer tasks that require learning and memory.
Where does the insulin come from in the brain?
Very sensitive tests showed that insulin is made in the brain. It’s made in neurons, and the hormone made in the brain is the same as that produced in the pancreas. This point may seem surprising, but if you consider the fact that every other gut hormone is also made in the brain, it only makes sense that insulin would be among them. Insulin that’s made by the pancreas and present in blood does gets into the brain as well.
More questions answered in the article:
Are people with diabetes more likely to get Alzheimer’s?
I’ve never heard that. Is this idea new?
Maybe people are just living longer. Isn’t that the case?
Most people think Alzheimer’s is caused by a gene problem.
If it’s not genetic, what else could be the cause of Alzheimer’s?
Could diabetes and Alzheimer’s be caused by some types of exposures? Years ago, a few scientists suggested that nitrosamines might cause diabetes. The concept was not pursued until now. We performed experiments in the laboratory and showed that very low, limited exposures to nitrosamines (the type found in food) cause Alzheimer’s-type brain degeneration, dementia, diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity. Adding high fat to the diet made the disease-causing effects of nitrosamines much worse. More…
How were these findings reached?
How can I reduce my risk? For now, the main message is to stop getting exposed. There are small steps and larger ones. Protect yourself by looking for sodium nitrite on food labels. Avoid processed foods. Eat organically grown foods. Push policies to return farming back to local environments to gain control over how food is produced and eliminate requirements for toxic preservatives. Educate children and provide only healthful food choices. Learn to cook and teach cooking in public schools. Pack a healthful lunch the night before for easy grab-and-go in the morning. More…
The elimination of local farms in favor of mega-farms requires transport of food for long distances. To prolong shelf-life, preservatives are added. The problem is worsened with transport of “fresh” foods from across the Pacific Ocean. Nitrites are added to meats and processed foods for flavor and coloring. High levels of nitrates added to fertilizers can be incorporated into produce and then converted to nitrites and finally nitrosamines in the body.
Nitrosamines contaminate many processed foods, including fish, cheeses, hotdogs, ground beef, smoked meats like bacon, smoked turkey and ham, and beer. Originally, nitrites were added to food as preservatives to prevent salmonella infection from contaminated meet. The policy remains in place. Although efforts have been made to reduce the levels, nitrites are still added as preservatives. Over time, Western societies, particularly in the US, have been chronically exposed to increasing amounts of nitrosamines due to continuous consumption of processed foods." More…
Mind and Diet Update: Processed Foods linked to Depression, High Protein to Alzheimer’s
"The news on eating a whole food, primarily plant-based diet just keeps getting better. Three new studies add more support to the idea that these kinds of foods are good for the brain. The first found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—compared to one made up mostly of processed, sweetened foods—lowers the risk of depression by 26%. The second suggests that eating a very high protein diet could actually shrink the brain and increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The third finds a component of extra virgin olive oil may protect against that dreaded disorder.
The depression study was part of ongoing research that examines the health of a large group of British civil service workers and was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Nearly 3,500 middle-aged bureaucrats were surveyed about their diet and then assessed for depression five years later.
After controlling for other factors that could affect risk like socioeconomic status and age, those who ate the most fruits, vegetables and fish were found to have a 26% lower risk of depression compared to those who ate the least.
Meanwhile, those who ate the most high-fat dairy, processed meats, fried foods and sweetened desserts saw their risk rise by more than 50%, compared to those who mainly refrained from eating these foods.
It’s possible that people eat more fatty, sweet and salty foods if they are about to get to depressed—or that the researchers missed and didn’t control for another important variable that is actually responsible for these connections. However, since there was no connection between diet and prior diagnosis of depression, this is less likely to be the case.
The Alzheimer’s studies both involved laboratory research. Previous human research has found reduced risk for Alzheimer’s amongst those who eat mainly whole grains, fruit, vegetables and fish—often called the “Mediterranean diet.”"
Can diet affect your Alzheimer’s risk?
"Does eating a lot of fish and few processed foods really help protect against Alzheimer’s disease? A new study indicates that nutrition could play nearly as strong a role as other factors like age, number of years of education, and high blood pressure.
In the study published online in the journal Neurology, researchers measured the level of nutrients in the blood of nearly 300 seniors and found that those who had high levels of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids -- both found in salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish -- as well as vitamins C, E, and B -- antioxidants found in fruits, nuts, and green leafy vegetables -- appeared to have somewhat more protection against early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. They were less likely to have cognitive difficulties, memory problems, and brain shrinkage -- an indicator of Alzheimer’s -- than those who had low levels of these nutrients.
The researchers also found that those who had blood markers that indicated high levels of artery-damaging trans fats -- margarine and other partially-hydrogenated oils used in doughnuts, cookies, and other processed foods – were more likely to have memory loss and brain shrinkage." More at: http://www.boston.com/Boston/dailydose/2011/12/can-diet-affect-your-alzheimer-risk/A3AHsM4h2imL4g1cCdqFyJ/index.html
On This Day:
The French and Indian War ends, Feb 10, 1763:
"The Seven Years' War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain.
In the early 1750s, France's expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed conflict with the British colonies. In 1756, the British formally declared war against France.
In the first year of the war, the British suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the French and their broad network of Native American alliances. However, in 1757, British Prime Minister William Pitt (the older) recognized the potential of imperial expansion that would come out of victory against the French and borrowed heavily to fund an expanded war effort. Pitt financed Prussia's struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France's allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France also suffered defeats against British forces in India.
The Seven Years' War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots."
Japanese sub bombards Midway, Feb 10, 1942:
"On this day, a Japanese submarine launches a brutal attack on Midway, a coral atoll used as a U.S. Navy base. It was the fourth bombing of the atoll by Japanese ships since December 7.
The capture of Midway was an important part of the broader Japanese strategy of trying to create a defensive line that would stretch from the western Aleutian Islands in the north to the Midway, Wake, Marshall, and Gilbert Islands in the south, then west to the Dutch West Indies. Occupying Midway would also mean depriving the United States of a submarine base and would provide the perfect launching pad for an all-out assault on Hawaii.
Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack and commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet, knew that only the utter destruction of U.S. naval capacity would ensure Japanese free reign in the Pacific. Japanese bombing of the atoll by ship and submarine failed to break through the extraordinary defense put up by Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, who used every resource available to protect Midway and, by extension, Hawaii. Yamamoto persevered with an elaborate warship operation, called Mi, launched in June, but the Battle of Midway was a disaster for Japan, and was the turning point for ultimate American victory in the Pacific."
National Museum of the Pacific War
Mardi Gras! Galveston 2012 – Bead There!
February 10-21, 2012 "At Mardi Gras! Galveston, the extravagance found in Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration starts with the beads! More than 3 million beads will be thrown at Mardi Gras! Galveston and that’s just the beginning of the elaborate parades, headliner performances, family events, feasting and other festivities that come with hosting Mardi Gras island style. More at: http://www.mardigrasgalveston.com/
There is a little scared humpbacked black dog (Chihuahua mix) that hangs around there at Jay's. Jay and I call him "Binkie". Jay feeds him scraps, but no one can get near him as he is so scared of people. When hears my Puddle Jumper (little station wagon), he comes running, as he knows that I will bring him something to eat. We think we know where he belongs, but his people don't take care of him. Such a shame! But the day before he had actually sat with Jay on their porch. Progress.
Jay and his mother, Claudia, had dental appointments. Claudia didn't feel well, so she couldn't go, or take Jay, so I took him. The dentist was a fairly old guy, a prolific talker and an animal lover. He has a 20lb cat, which Jay has seen, but it didn't put in an appearance while I was there.
Jay has lost a front tooth since his permanent bridge was installed, so he was getting that fixed. Imagine my surprise when the dentist said that he would fix my chipped front tooth, at cost, because I am an SPCA foster mom. He must know that foster parents have to feed their fosters at their own expense, sometimes for years before they get adopted. Now that is a great old man.
It started out chilly, and we had the heat on in the van on the way there. Then it turned into a "cats-on-the porch", sunny, mild 57° day.