Strawberries could be serving up some unexpected health benefits


29 July 2012

Strawberries, the traditional summer treat associated with Wimbledon could be serving up some unexpected health benefits.

Scientists at the University of Warwick have been studying the beneficial effects of strawberries on our cardiovascular health, particularly around how they prevent the development of heart disease and diabetes.

Professor Paul Thornalley from Warwick Medical School heads the team that discovered extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in our bodies called ‘Nrf2’ which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. This protein works to decrease blood lipids and cholesterol, the very things which can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Eating strawberries has previously been found to counter post-meal blood glucose and low density lipoprotein, or ‘bad’ cholesterol and therefore decrease risk of diabetes and heart disease, but this is the first time that strawberry extracts have been proved to actively stimulate proteins that offer us protection against disease.

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Frankincense as a medicine


12 JUL 2012

Pharmacists of University Jena clarify the anti-inflammatory impact of boswellic acids

Jena (Germany) It was one of the gifts of the Magi – in addition to myrrh and gold they offered frankincense to the newly born baby Jesus. Since the ancient world the aromatic fragrance of burning Boswellia resin has been part of many religious ceremonies and is still used as a means to indicate special festive atmosphere in the church today. But frankincense can do much more: “The resin from the trunk of Boswellia trees contains anti-inflammatory substances,” Professor Dr. Oliver Werz of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) says. The chair of Pharmaceutical and Medical Chemistry is convinced that these substances can be very beneficial in therapies against diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or atopic dermatitis.

However, so far the active substances in frankincense cannot at present be found in drugs in German pharmacies, as…

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Apple peel compound boosts calorie burning, reduces obesity in mice


29 JUN 2012

Ursolic acid — a waxy substance found in apple peel — increases muscle and brown fat in mice on a high-fat diet: These mice burn more calories and have reduced obesity, pre-diabetes and fatty liver disease than mice not receiving the supplement

Obesity and its associated problems such as diabetes and fatty liver disease are increasingly common global health concerns. A new study by University of Iowa researchers shows that a natural substance found in apple peel can partially protect mice from obesity and some of its harmful effects.

The findings suggest that the substance known as ursolic acid reduces obesity and its associated health problems by increasing the amount of muscle and brown fat, two tissues recognized for their calorie-burning properties.

The study, which was published June 20 in the journal PLoS ONE, was led by Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine…

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Bioinspired catalyst splits water

Lyra Nara Blog

Bioinspired catalyst splits water

Catalysts based on manganese (black substance) can mimic the splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen that occurs in plants inside the photosystem II protein cluster responsible for photosynthesis. Credit: Reproduced from Ref. 1 and licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 © 2014 A. Yamaguchi et al.

Plants use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars and oxygen. The process starts in a cluster of manganese, calcium and oxygen atoms at the heart of a protein complex called photosystem II, which splits water to form oxygen gas, protons and electrons.

Researchers have attempted to develop synthetic catalysts that mimic this cluster, using light or electricity to convert water into fuels such as hydrogen gas. Unlike plants, however, these artificial catalysts can only split alkaline water, which makes the process less sustainable.

Ryuhei Nakamura and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science have now developed a manganese oxide-based…

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Catalyst Converts Greenhouse Gas Into Useful Chemicals

A UD engineering research team led by Feng Jiao has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency.

A UD engineering research team led by Feng Jiao has developed a highly selective catalyst
capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide with 92 percent
efficiency. (Credit: Evan Krape / University of Delaware)
A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—to carbon monoxide with 92% efficiency. The carbon monoxide then can be used to develop useful chemicals.

Novel Nickel-Based Catalyst Efficiently Splits Water

Researcher discovers inexpensive catalyst to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas

Researcher discovers inexpensive catalyst to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas.
(Credit: Kathy F. Atkinson / University of Delaware)

The University of Delaware’s Yushan Yan and his research group synthesized an inexpensive nickel-based catalyst that can split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.

Nickel, which is cheap and abundant, is an attractive replacement for currently used precious metals.

SEE ALSO: EPFL Scientists Propose Cheaper Hydrogen Production Method

Common Chemical found in unripe fruits and yoghurt could serve as a protection against Parkinson’s


Potential basis for the treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s disease

Max Planck researchers show that two products of the gene DJ-1 can increase the survival of neurons

July 31, 2014

Parkinson’s disease affects neurons in the Substantia nigra brain region – their mitochondrial activity ceases and the cells die. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics show that supplying D-lactate or glycolate, two products of the gene DJ-1, can stop and even counteract this process: Adding the substances to cultured HeLa cells and to cells of the nematode C. elegans restored the activity of mitochondria and prevented the degeneration of neurons. They also showed that the two substances rescued the toxic effects of the weed killer Paraquat. Cells that had been treated with this herbicide, which is known to cause a Parkinson’s like harm of mitochondria, recovered after the addition of the two substances. Both…

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4 Oriental Quiet Therapies To Restore Emotional And Mental Well-Being

Lyra Nara Blog

Read the book first: The Quiet Therapies: Japanese Pathways To Personal Growth by David K. Reynolds. Then start to -practice these 4 therapies:

1. Morita Therapy

Created in the 1930′s by professor of psychiatry Dr. Shoma Morita, Morita therapy is said to be especially effective in treating neurosis and anxiety-based disorders.  It’s emphasis is on the behaviour of a person, on focusing on the present, on what one is doing, thereby shifting the focus from functioning in an emotion-centred state, to a purpose-centred state.

Ultimately, the aim of Morita therapy is to accept what you can’t change or control, i.e. the constant flux of emotions within you, and to direct your attention to what you can control and change, i.e. your actions and behaviour.  The goal, essentially, is to ground behaviour in the reality and purpose of the present moment.

Says the author about his experiences with Morita:

I believe…

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Western diet changes gut bacteria and triggers colitis in those at risk


15 Jun 2012

Certain saturated fats that are common in the modern Western diet can initiate a chain of events leading to complex immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in people with a genetic predisposition, according to a study to be published early online in the journal Nature.

The finding helps explain why once-rare immune-mediated diseases have become more common in westernized societies in the last half century. It also provides insights into why many individuals who are genetically prone to these diseases are never affected and how certain environmental factors can produce inflammation in individuals already at risk.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that concentrated milk fats, which are abundant in processed and confectionary foods, alter the composition of bacteria in the intestines. These changes can disrupt the delicate truce between the immune system and the complex but largely beneficial mix of bacteria in the…

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