Top 10 Common Dental Problems

You know good oral health starts with proper oral care. Brushing and flossing along with regular visits to your dentist Weybridge, all go a long way to keep your mouth healthy. But, if you’ve ever experienced sore gums or a toothache, you know that dental problems can occur even when you’re taking proper care of your teeth.

In fact, besides pain, dental problems can cause you some anxiety, especially when you don’t know exactly what type of issue you are experiencing. By educating yourself on the top 10 dental problems that most people experience, you can help prevent these issues or give yourself a starting point for a discussion with your dentist.

  1. Dental Cavity And Tooth Decay

Almost all adults will experience tooth decay during their lifetime, and approximately 25 percent of all adults have an untreated cavity. You may have a cavity if you notice:

  • Tooth pain
  • Food getting caught in your tooth
  • Your tooth feels rough
  • You experience pain when eating something cold or sweet

Your dentist can treat a cavity with a filling, crown, root canal or even the removal of the tooth if the damage is extensive.

  1. Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Everyone may experience bad breath from time to time, but chronic bad breath, known as halitosis, is more than just a nuisance. In fact, for most people, bad breath is caused by a dental condition. If you suffer from halitosis, you may be experiencing gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth or have an abundance of bacteria on your tongue. You should seek out the care of your dentist when suffering from chronic bad breath.

  1. Periodontal/Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. If you believe you have gum disease, you should seek a dentist for help. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, so early treatment is crucial. If you notice symptoms such as bad breath, red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding of your gums, teeth sensitivity or bad breath, your dentist may be able to help.

  1. Oral/Mouth Cancer

If diagnosed early, oral (mouth) cancer may be curable for those who seek treatment early. If you notice symptoms such as sores, lumps, or rough areas in your mouth, a change in your bite, difficulty chewing or moving your tongue or jaw, you should seek help. Additionally, if you are a user of tobacco products and/oralcohol you should know these may increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

  1. Mouth Sores/Ulcers

While often annoying, most mouth sores or ulcers do not pose a serious problem to your dental health. Canker sores are a common problem that you may experience and only require treatment if they last longer than two weeks.

  1. Teeth Darkening

If you have a tooth that experiences trauma, for example, a blow to the mouth, you may notice your tooth changes color. This happens for one of two reasons: your tooth is trying to protect the nerve, or the tooth is dying. In both cases, you should seek help from your dentist so that he/she can assess the situation and make a recommendation for treatment.

  1. Infected Tooth Nerve

An infected tooth nerve occurs when bacteria infect the root of your mouth. This may manifest itself as a simple toothache but is a much more serious issue. You may develop an abscess and excessive pain if not treated immediately.

  1. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

You may have had a loved one tell you that you grind your teeth during the night, although this is not the only time that you may grind your teeth. This grinding of the teeth is known as bruxism. Without treatment, your teeth may become worn down, or you may suffer from toothaches, earaches, headaches or jaw pain.

  1. Chipped Tooth

There are several ways your dentist can fix a chipped tooth. He/she may smooth the tooth, provide a filling which matches your tooth color or use a veneer or crown. Chipped teeth should not be ignored as they may cause tooth pain or lead to further tooth damage if not treated.

  1. Enamel Erosion

Your tooth enamel can experience erosion when it is bombarded with acid. The acid breaks down the tooth and can cause sensitivity to hot or cold items or even more severe problems. This condition is easily preventable.

If you have questions about any of these 10 common dental problems, you should seek out the advice of your dentist. He/she can advise you on any issues you are suffering from and provide you with a proper treatment plan.

Author Bio:

Oatlands Dental Lounge is committed to making every patient’s visit as comfortable and personalized as possible. We consider our dental team, our patients and their families to be valuable elements – when you become part of the Oatlands Dental Lounge family, you become a very important person!

The Importance Of Exercising With Arthritis

Although it may be the last thing you want to do when you’re suffering from pain, exercising with arthritis has proven to be very beneficial. It seems only logical to stop moving the part of your body that is aching, but following that instinct may be more negative than positive. Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis, is a disease which attacks the joints and causes the cartilage on bones to wear out. Popularly thought of as exclusive to senior citizens, arthritis can affect people of any age group.

Generally, people above age 45 are at a higher risk of developing arthritis, but there are other lifestyle factors that can contribute as well. For example, gout, a type of arthritis, is caused almost exclusively by diet. For other forms of arthritis, being overweight quadruples the risk of developing the disease due to the increased wear and tear you’re placing on your joints. In addition, women often experience arthritis at a younger age than men.

Arthritis can manifest in any part of the body, but is most common in the back, neck, knees, fingers, and hands. Inflammation control is key to preventing continued pain, and while it is true people should avoid activities that upset their afflicted joints, moderate exercise has been proven to reduce pain and swelling.

Exercise, Aerobics, Stretching And Walking

Exercise should always be a gradual process and you should consult with your doctor to make a specific plan that fits your needs. An exercise plan should aim to increase the damaged joint’s range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, build overall endurance, and improve your balance. Since arthritis usually presents itself in older people, strength training is crucial. The last thing you want to happen, on top of arthritis, is a fall to occur due to reduced strength in your body. Building muscles in your thighs can help stabilize your legs and actually reduce discomfort in damaged knee joints. Building upper leg muscles increases function of the leg and places less stress on the already pained knee joints.

Beyond strength training, aerobic exercise helps as well. Aerobic exercise not only encourages weight loss, but also promotes muscle stability, oxygen intake, and balance. Since running is usually not a good option due to existing pain – swimming, using a stationary bicycle, or other non-impact workout machine can be good choices. Don’t be discouraged by thinking aerobic exercise means an overly intense workout. It could mean moderate activity for five minutes; you don’t have to go crazy with it. The important thing is to get started because your endurance will increase the more often you work out.

If jumping into aerobic exercise sounds daunting, why not try stretching and flexibility exercises? Since joints impaired by arthritis don’t move with the same ease they used to, stretching can improve the joint’s range of motion. Light yoga, tai chi, or even stretching on your own are all beneficial activities. If stretching sounds too hard right now, try walking to jump-start your exercise program. Walking is extremely important and tends to be overlooked as a form of exercise.

CDC Survey

Alarmingly, a nation-wide survey conducted by the CDC found that 53 percent of people with arthritis do not walk at all and 66 percent walked for no more than 90 minutes per week. The recommendation for walking is 150 minutes/week and only 23 percent of those surveyed met that number. This is not only detrimental for the joints affected, but can cause weight gain, increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and a slew of other problems.

Stopping movement completely as a result of pain is not a smart idea. The less you move, the weaker your body gets and the harder it becomes to exercise later. Remember, whatever you do, start slowly and build up your strength and endurance. Within no time, you’ll notice a marked difference in the way your joints and overall body feel.

About The Author:

Max Gottlieb is the content manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior Planning gives free assistance to seniors and their families, helping them decide which benefits they’re eligible for and which type of senior care is most appropriate for them.

Illipe Butter And Its Benefits

When it comes to butters of the natural variety, you are likely much more familiar with cocoa butter or shea butter, the butters that replenish and nourish skin impressively. Just like oils, there are different types of butters – some much lesser known – and they do different things. Illipe is a plant butter that isn’t as popular or well-known, yet it packs a powerful punch –  especially on hair. Here are all the reasons that this impressive butter should be added to your must-try list.

Restores Hair Elasticity

The more elasticity your hair has, the healthier it is. Elasticity speaks to the overall health of your hair quite vividly. Your hair should have a natural stretch to it that prevents breaking. With the correct amount of protein and moisture, hair stretch won’t result in unnecessary breakage. If you’ve been noticing that your hair has been breaking lately, you may want to try illipe butter. It will provide your hair with the necessary moisture needed to hydrate hair properly. As a natural emollient that is high in fatty acids, it easily penetrates the hair shaft and binds the space that exists in the hair. This is the first step to combating breakage. It ultimately makes the hair much healthier and stronger.

Prevents Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the most frightening things both men and women can go through. If you are starting to notice hair thinning or bald patches, you’ll need to up your hair vitamins – specifically vitamin F, otherwise known as linoleic acid, which helps to protect the hair and the scalp from these types of premature occurrences. Without a healthy amount of linoleic acid, the scalp is vulnerable. When it experiences trouble like dandruff and dermatitis, if not properly dealt with, these things can lead to hair loss. Flaking and itchy scalp is a terrible environment for hair growth. In fact, it actually inhibits it.

Replenishes Hair

If you suffer from dry, unruly hair, you likely have a hard time keeping it properly moisturized. When your hair is dry, it’s susceptible to so many different issues and struggles. The antioxidants within illipe butter help to eliminate free radicals and also combat the chemicals that often do damage to our hair. If you use many hair products, be aware that some of the ingredients within them are simply terrible for the hair. Natural products are truly the best way to go. Try using illipe butter as a hair mask at least once a week.

Prevents Dandruff

Dandruff is so common. Many people have suffered from it at some point in their lives, but it’s not something that is impossible to thwart or eliminate completely. One of the great aspects of treating your hair with illipe butter is that your scalp will also ultimately benefit from the vitamins and nutrients within the butter. Soothing your hair and your scalp at once is a two-for-one deal and this butter can do just that easily and effortlessly.

You can purchase illipe butter online from several companies at


Want To Prolong Your Life? Do Some Household Chores

We all know how exercise can help in many ways – including an increased possibility of having a longer life than those who do not break a sweat at least once a week. However, some may offer excuses as to why they are not able to exercise regularly. Some may say they are “too busy” with work or whatever personal tasks they have, while some may not be able to exercise due to health and medical reasons.

On the other hand, a recent study revealed that if you want to live longer, doing high-intensity workouts every other day or running marathons are not necessary. Instead, simple household chores will do, as per researchers at the University of California – San Diego School of Medicine.

While many people may whine over washing dishes or sweeping the floor, it can be a good way to move your body. As Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D. said, “Every movement counts.” LaCroix is the study’s senior author and a professor at UC – San Diego, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. This is good news for people out there who are unable to go outside and exercise because of the chores they have to finish at home.

Light Physical Activity

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed that “women over age 65 who engaged in regular light physical activity had a reduction in the risk of mortality.” Even simple household tasks such as folding clothes and cleaning your room can make a difference on your life span, the study suggests. “Activities like these account for more than 55 percent of how older individuals get their daily activity,” LaCroix added. Not only will you get a clean home but you also potentially add significant years to your life.

Interestingly, the study also revealed that the results of the research are similar in all participants, regardless of their racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weight, mobility, and age range. Around 6,000 older women aged 63 to 99 were asked to wear an accelerometer on their hips around-the-clock. For seven days, the device measured their daily activities. LaCroix’s study method is rather an unconventional one, using a device to measure data instead of the standard questionnaires.

Based on the study’s result, the elderly women who did 30 minutes of light physical activities daily “lowered mortality risk by 12 percent” and there was “a 39 percent lower risk” for those who did moderate activities such as bicycling or brisk walking. LaCroix suggested that being physically active does not necessarily mean that light exercises and simple household chores should be disregarded. In fact, “improving levels of physical activity both light and moderate could be almost as effective as rigorous regular exercise at preventing a major chronic disease.”

The study concludes that “there are health benefits at activity levels below the guideline recommendations.” Currently, public health guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activities per week for most adults. As of now, there is an ongoing increase in the aging society due to the “increasing baby boomer population in the United States.” LaCroix also stressed that current health guidelines should also recommend light physical activities such as simple household chores or walking around the block, especially for older people.

Nutrition In The News: Link Between Rice And CO2 Levels

Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the nutritional value of rice, according to an international research team that analyzed rice samples from field experiments started by a University of Tokyo professor. Specifically, iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 were reduced in rice grown under higher carbon dioxide concentrations expected in the second half of this century – 568 to 590 parts per million. “Rice is not just a major source of calories, but also proteins and vitamins for many people in developing countries and for poorer communities within developed countries,” said Professor Kazuhiko Kobayashi of the University of Tokyo, co-author of the recent study and expert in effects of air pollution on agriculture.

Not all varieties of rice responded in the same way so future research projects may examine the possibility of finding varieties of rice that can remain nutritious despite the change in the atmosphere. The rice was grown at research sites in China and Japan using an open-field method where researchers built 56-foot-wide plastic pipe octagons elevated about one foot above the tops of plants within standard rice fields.

A network of sensors and monitors measured wind speed and direction to determine how much carbon dioxide is released out of the pipes to raise the local carbon dioxide concentration to the desired experimental level. The technique is known as Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment. “I first started using this technique in 1998, because we knew that plants raised in a plastic or glass house do not grow the same as plants in normal, open field conditions,” Kobayashi said. “This technique allows us to test the effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations on plants growing in the same conditions that farmers really will grow them some decades later in this century.”

Local wildlife has sometimes added an additional challenge to the research. “At our first field site, we learned we have to keep all of the pipes and tubes above the ground because raccoons kept chewing through everything and jeopardized the experiment,” said Kobayashi. Researchers analyzed a total of 18 different varieties of rice for protein, iron, and zinc levels. Nine varieties of rice grown in China were used for the vitamin B1, B2, B5, and B9 analyses. Other common names for the vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), and folate (B9).

Six hundred million people primarily in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Madagascar consume at least 50 percent of their daily energy and/or protein directly from rice. This was also true in Japan during the 1960s, but current Japanese receive only about 20 percent of their daily food energy from rice. Populations in countries with both the highest rice consumption and lowest gross domestic product may experience more malnutrition as the nutritional value of low-cost staple foods like rice declines.

Can Adolescent Cooking Skills Predict Future Nutritional Well-Being

A study published recently in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that developing cooking skills as a young adult may have long-term benefits for health and nutrition. Evidence suggests that developing cooking and food preparation skills is important for health and nutrition, yet the practice of home cooking is declining and now rarely taught in school. “The impact of developing cooking skills early in life may not be apparent until later in adulthood when individuals have more opportunity and responsibility for meal preparation,” said lead author Jennifer Utter, Ph.D., MPH, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

“The strength of this study is the large, population-based sample size followed over a period of 10 years to explore the impact of perceived cooking skills on later nutritional well-being.” Previous studies have linked deficiencies of micronutrients, including vitamin A, to hearing impairment. This is believed to be the first, however, to investigate the relationship between generalized undernutrition and hearing loss, and it is believed to be the first to identify early childhood nutritional status as a modifiable risk factor for later-life hearing loss.

Data was collected as part of the Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults longitudinal study conducted in Minneapolis-Saint Paul area schools. Participants reported on adequacy of cooking skills in 2002-2003 when they were 18 to 23 years old. Data was then collected in 2015-2016 on nutrition-related outcomes when participants were 30 to 35 years old. Questions assessed the perceived adequacy of cooking skills, how often they prepared a meal that included vegetables, how often they ate meals as a family, and how often they ate at a fast-food restaurant.

Most participants perceived their cooking skills to be adequate at age 18 to 23, with approximately one quarter of adults reporting their cooking skills to be very adequate. There were no differences in perceived cooking skills by sex, race or ethnicity, educational attainment, or age. Perceived adequacy of cooking skills predicted multiple indicators of nutrition outcomes later in adulthood including greater odds of preparing a meal with vegetables most days and less frequent consumption of fast food.

If those who perceived their cooking skills as adequate had families, they ate more frequent family meals, less frequent fast-food meals, and had fewer barriers to food preparation. “Opportunities to develop cooking skills by adolescents may result in long-term benefits for nutritional well-being,” said Dr. Utter. “Families, health and nutrition professionals, educators, community agencies, and funders can continue to invest in home economics and cooking education knowing that the benefits may not be fully realized until young adults develop more autonomy and live independently.”

Hearing Loss Linked To Poor Nutrition In Early Childhood

Young adults who were undernourished as preschool children were approximately twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss as their better-nourished peers, a recent study suggests. The study – led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – analyzed the relationship between the hearing of more than 2,200 young adults in Nepal and their nutritional levels as children 16 years earlier. The findings suggest that nutritional interventions in South Asia could help prevent hearing loss, a condition which currently affects an estimated 116 million young people in the region.

Hearing loss is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, and an estimated 80 percent of affected individuals live in low and middle-income countries. Prevalence estimates of hearing impairment among children and young adults in South Asia range from 14 to 28 percent of the population. “Our findings should help elevate hearing loss as a still-neglected public health burden, and one that nutrition interventions in early childhood might help prevent,” says Keith West Jr., a professor of International Health at the Bloomberg School and the principal investigator of the study. The lead author was Susan Emmett, MD, MPH, an otolaryngologist who conducted the analysis and wrote the paper as a postdoctoral fellow at the Bloomberg School’s Center for Human Nutrition.

From 2006 to 2008, researchers tested the hearing of more than 2,200 young adults. All study participants had been part of a nutrition trial conducted between 1989 and 1991 in the District of Sarlahi in Nepal that collected information to assess their nutritional status. Results of the auditory tests show that young adults who were stunted in childhood were nearly twice as likely to show signs of hearing loss. Stunting, or being too short for one’s age, is a chronic condition of undernourishment that often starts before birth, which is a critical time for the development of auditory function. Researchers suspect that impeded inner ear development caused by undernutrition, especially in the womb, may contribute to the increased risk of hearing loss found in the study.

Participants who were too thin as children were also at a twofold increase of hearing loss.  Being too thin for one’s age is typically caused by acute malnutrition, defined as shorter, more severe periods of undernutrition. Acute malnutrition raises children’s susceptibility to infections, including in the ear. Repeated ear infections can lead to hearing loss. “Our findings are not only important for low-resource areas of Nepal, but also for much of South Asia,” says West. “The study site in Nepal is representative of much of the Gangetic region of South Asia. There are over 160 million undernourished children in this region, putting them at high risk for a range of health and developmental problems. We now have evidence that addressing this nutritional burden might also prevent hearing loss later in life.”

Good Nutrition, Physical Training And Mental Exercises Reverse Frailty In Elderly

A four-year study conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore showed that a combination of nutritional, physical and cognitive interventions can reverse physical frailty in elderly people. Physical frailty is common among the elderly and is strongly associated with cognitive impairment, dementia and adverse health outcomes such as disability, hospitalization, and mortality. Associate Professor Ng Tze Pin, lead researcher from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said that earlier research findings by his team from the Singapore Longitudinal Aging Studies showed that physically frail elderly persons compared to their robust counterparts are eight times as likely to be cognitive impaired at the same time. If they are not cognitively impaired, they are more than five times at risk of becoming cognitively impaired on follow up three years later.

“In addition, physically frail elderly persons are two to 10 times as likely to become functionally disabled on daily living activities, hospitalized and die earlier than their robust counterparts. When physical frailty and cognitive impairment are present together in the same individual, he or she is more than 20 times as likely to become disabled, hospitalized or die earlier. With such compelling evidence, if it is possible to reduce or even reverse physical frailty in the elderly, we could greatly improve their quality of life,” Tze Pin explained.

The team conducted a four-year trial between 2010 and 2013, involving 250 community-living older persons in Singapore who were 65 years old and above and who showed signs of frailty. “Our study shows that it is feasible to identify pre-frail and frail older persons in the community and primary care settings and provide them with lifestyle interventions to reverse frailty,” Tze Pin said. “We found that better nutrition, physical training and mental exercises can reverse frailty, enhance muscle strength and gait speed, reduce depressive symptoms and improve cognitive functioning. As such, these interventions can go a long way to reducing the high prevalence of physical disability, hospitalization and mortality in an aging society like Singapore.”

Fighting Frailty

Participants for the trial were recruited from October 2009 to August 2012 from various senior activity centers in Singapore. They were randomly allocated to receive lifestyle interventions in one of five groups for a period of six months. Three groups of participants were provided with either physical training, nutritional enhancement or cognitive training, while the fourth group received a combination of all three interventions. The last group was a control group which did not receive any intervention. The trial was conducted in collaboration with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and St Luke’s Hospital.

Assessment of the participants’ frailty and other outcomes were made before the start of intervention. During the six-month trial, the participants’ progress was measured after three months and six months. A follow-up assessment was also conducted six months after the trial. The NUS researchers found that the three types of intervention, as well as a combination of all three approaches, were able to reduce frailty and depressive symptoms, and improve cognitive functioning of the elderly.

“The important message from our studies is that frailty is not an inevitable part of aging,” Tze Pin said. “There is much that older people can do for themselves to avoid becoming frail and disabled, so it is vital that they pay attention to good quality diet and nutrition, engage in physical exercise, and participate in socially and cognitively stimulating activities.”

Following the trial findings, the research team is working with the Geriatric Education and Research Institute and social service organizations to develop and implement pilot frailty screening and multi-domain lifestyle intervention community programs. They hope the programs when successfully scaled up for mass intervention can help improve the physical, psychological and cognitive well-being of large numbers of senior citizens.

The Benefits Of Amur Cork Tree Oil

The amur cork tree is native to parts of Asia – Korea, Japan and China – and has strong medicinal properties. It’s a fairly sizable tree and is often left alone due to its gorgeous, tall expanse, aromatic leaves and beautiful fruit. Thankfully though, there are plenty in the region and only a portion of them have to be used to procure this oil. The deciduous trees – with dark leaves and brown, deep corkish bark – can grow to be nearly 12 meters tall. The interesting part about this tree and its benefits is that most trees aren’t used for their bark until after they’ve reached 10 years old, while the fruit can be used right away. Also, the process of collection is typically in the winter. Here are some of the key benefits of amur cork tree oil.

Fever Reducing

Due to the properties within the oil, it’s a great way to reduce fevers. When you become sick, it can feel like there’s no end in sight and that you’re just going to be miserable forever – night sweats, coughs, body aches. The flu is never a fun endeavor. Even sleeping can seem like something difficult to do. Using a bit of amur cork tree oil can help get rid of that fever. Apply it to your pressure points on your wrist and on the bottoms of your feet. The fever will get drawn out and you’ll start to feel better in eight to 12 hours.

Blood Sugar

This is a potent oil and only should be ingested in very small quantities. It seems that when the oil is used internally, it has many beneficial effects on the system. It has been known to help regulate and normalize blood sugar levels. One of the most dangerous and pervasive diseases is diabetes and when blood sugar levels get out of control it can become a really dangerous situation. Just a small amount of amur cork tree oil helps to stabilize erratic blood sugar levels.


The fruit that comes from the amur cork tree is a natural expectorant, which means that it helps to rid the body of all the things that build up inside as a result. The congestion and the excess fluid are easily diminished in the presence of this oil. Are you suffering from a terrible cough that seems to just hang on for weeks at a time? Try putting some of this oil directly on your chest to loosen up the congestion and phlegm. It will help to make breathing easier and help loosen your pathways obstructed in your lungs.


If you are suffering with this skin condition, you likely have tried a myriad of other options. Some may not work at all while others may work short-term. The fruit that comes from the amur cork tree has nutrient-rich properties that not only help to clear up signs of eczema but also nourishes the skin while it’s being healed. Eczema is deeply tied to an autoimmune condition and the management of your skin is crucial.


Food Cues Tempt Your Taste Buds To Overeat

Hungry customers are easily enticed to eat at fast-food restaurants by the glittering menu signs showing delicious food pictures and the mouthwatering aroma of crispy French fries and juicy burgers. A new study at the University of Michigan has established that food-related cues from fast-food restaurants stimulate brain activities and reactions, and can goad some patrons to gorge as a result of their induced hunger and food cravings. According to Michelle Joyner, a psychology graduate student at the University and the study’s lead researcher, these food cues could really only make people crave more food, without any effect on their liking the food taste or being satisfied.

A total of 112 college participants took part in this study and their demographics – age, gender, race, weight – were fully disclosed. Random selections were made to assign them to either a fast-food laboratory resembling a real restaurant with tables, chairs, booths, and low background music (experimental group), or a neutral lab (control group). Participants who had eaten lunch an hour ahead of the study’s trial could receive tokens to either buy foods normally available at fast-food joints such as French fries, cheeseburgers, soft drinks, and milkshakes. The vouchers could alternatively be used to buy some time for any other activity like playing video games. Both the food and game activities were shown on TV screens placed in the trial areas.

The research questions were focused on hunger, liking, and wanting. While liking portrays pleasure, wanting is a powerful motivation. Food-related cues in the fast-food lab made participants feel more hungry than in the neutral environments. However, these food cues did not make any major difference in their liking the food’s taste in either of the two locations.

Food-Related Cues

The study also revealed that participants consumed 220 less total calories in non-cue environments when compared to those who ate in the fast-food locations with food-related cues. Joyner stated that food cues had no impact on participants liking or wanting for games, thus showing the effect was really food-specific. Joyner and her fellow researchers made mention of how important it is for people to have the knowledge about how food-related cues can actually induce them into thinking that they are hungry and subsequently increasing their craving for food.

Joyner added that although it can be hard to avoid food cues in our society, people can try some tricks to minimize exposure to these cues by using technology to skip through food advertisements on TV shows and refraining from going into restaurants. From the findings of the study, we can safely conclude that the presence of food-related cues in a fast-food restaurant environment can induce hunger for food. These food cues can also trick patrons to overeat at fast-food joints. The cues have little or no impact on customers’ liking for food tastes, and patrons can develop tricks to reduce exposure to food cues and avoid overeating.

Study: Are You Aging Faster Than Your Chronological Age?

Many people are interested to know whether they are aging faster or slower than their chronological age. That is why a lot of online quizzes, expensive chromosome tests or blood panels are prevalent nowadays, apparently to determine if our aging process matches our actual age. However, these tests are not really reliable in terms of determining your aging process. Some are also quite costly, ranging from $300 to $800.

A recent study revealed that based on 11 different measures of aging, including blood and chromosome tests, none of them agree with one another in terms of given results. The research is based on a lifelong study of nearly 1,000 people in Dunedin, New Zealand, who have been studied extensively from birth to age 38. This means that age tests have varying results and data from specific tests don’t support one another. Thus, it is difficult to identify which one is accurate.

“People age at different rates and geriatric medicine needs a way to measure that,” says Daniel Belsky, an assistant professor of population health sciences at Duke University who studies aging. “However, results coming from different aging measures may vary and see a lot of disagreement, depending on a person’s physiology, genes, blood markers, balance and grip strength. It is safe to say that it’s premature to market aging tests to the public.”

Varying Results

The researchers collected physical aging measures from the Dunedin participants such as motor coordination, cognitive function, facial aging, and self-assessed health. However, the DNA’s telomeres, located at the end of chromosomes that unravel the more we age, are found to have “no evidence of the ability to predict physical or cognitive changes, except possibly facial aging,” Belsky said.

Moreover, the DNA’s “epigenetic” patterns, which are thought of as clocks that measure the aging rate, were found to “keep time pretty well.” However, it also seemed that these patterns “were less clearly related to changes in people’s physiology or problems with physical or cognitive performance.” Thus, using the said patterns can be questionable whether they are appropriate to use to survey individuals in order to predict their life span.

Algorithms were also utilized to analyze large data involving blood markers and tests of organ functions, and fared somewhat better. Regarding telomeres, Stephen Kritchevsky, director of the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging at Wake Forest University but not involved in the said study, said that while it is a mechanism that can potentially prevent aging and cancer, using telomeres to measure aging in a 50-year old individual can produce varying results.

Kritchevsky further added that different tissues of our body age at different rates and not simultaneously, and that “there are another seven or eight aspects of physiology that are being pursued that might turn up a more reliable measure of aging.” Nevertheless, the Dunedin study can be a stepping stone for further research regarding aging tests. While the rest of the world focuses on treatments to slow down the aging process, an aging test can similarly be helpful, preferably those that are inexpensive and non-invasive, and measure whether an anti-aging treatment is effective or not.

Parents Want Better Food Labeling In Schools

Food allergies affect nearly six million children in the U.S. Up to two students in every classroom may be allergic to common foods like peanuts or milk. A recent survey reports that one in five parents did not feel that their child with a food allergy was safe while at school. The survey was published in BMC Pediatrics. While most of the 289 parents reported that their child’s school had implemented at least one food allergy policy, they felt that more could be done. Nearly 95 percent of the parents surveyed wanted stock epinephrine to be available in school so that a life-threatening reaction to food could be treated immediately. Most parents also felt that school lunch menus should display allergen information – 65 percent reported that this was not done – and that ingredient labels on food items are needed – 87 percent reported that ingredient labels were not available.

They also wanted to see schools provide more food allergy education for students – 72 percent reported no food allergy education for students. “Our study helps identify key policy areas that parents would like to see implemented in schools across the country to improve the safety of their children with food allergies,” says senior author Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Currently, the primary management approach for people with a food allergy is to avoid accidental exposure to the food allergen. “Thorough review of ingredients in all food and drink products prior to consumption is a core strategy for food allergen avoidance and prevention of severe allergic reactions,” says Dr. Gupta. “This is why implementation of ingredient labeling policies in school lunchrooms should be prioritized in order to protect students with food allergies.”

The U.S. Department of Education has not established policy recommendations for management of food allergies in schools. While voluntary guidelines have been developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are significant differences in food allergy policies implemented in schools. “We need more research to identify the food allergy policies that are most effective in creating a safer space at school for students with food allergy,” says Dr. Gupta.

Restaurant Food Labeling

The Food and Drug Administration began mandatory calorie labeling for chain restaurants across the United States in May 2018. While this is an important step, restaurants could do much more to create the tipping point to encourage healthy options for Americans when they eat out, says to Virginia Tech professor Vivica Kraak, a recognized expert in food and nutrition policy. Kraak points to limited progress made by the U.S. restaurant sector in its effort to promote healthy and profitable menu choices. “Quick-service restaurants, fast-casual and full-service restaurant chains are not yet fully committed to change industry-wide practices that contribute to poor diet quality, obesity and related chronic diseases,” said Kraak.

The National Restaurant Association projects food-service business sales to exceed $551 billion, representing about 48% of household income spent on food.  Every week, nearly two thirds of adults visit quick-service restaurant chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, and 40 percent visit fast-casual restaurants such as Panera and Chipotle.”  Kraak calls on the National Restaurant Association and its members to use comprehensive marketing and nudge strategies to encourage customers to make healthy choices.

Along with a team from Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (HNFE), Kraak’s research urged restaurant businesses to adopt a marketing-mix and choice-architecture framework, called the 8 Ps. The approach involves restaurants using many strategies to promote healthy foods and beverages through ambience and atmospherics; improving the nutritional profiles of products to reduce calories, sodium and fat; and standardizing and reducing portion sizes to offer 600 calories or less for kids’ meals and 700 calories or less for adult meals. It also involves restaurants using proportionate pricing, adopting responsible marketing practices for children and teens, establishing healthy default side dishes and beverages such as water or low-fat milk, using priming or prompting to encourage healthy choices through labeling, and positioning healthy products at the start of buffets or at arm’s reach or eye level near cash registers.

Do Eye-Catching Labels Stigmatize Healthy Foods?

Food labels in grocery stores mention organic, fair-trade and cage free, just to name a few. Labels such as these may be eye-catching but are often free of any scientific basis and stigmatize many healthy foods, a University of Delaware-led study found. The paper – published in the journal Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy – examined food labeling to see how labels identifying the process in which food was produced positively and negatively influenced consumer behavior.

The researchers reviewed over 90 academic studies on consumer response to process labels. They found that while these labels satisfy consumer demand for quality assurances and can create value for both consumers and producers, misinterpretation is common and can stigmatize food produced by conventional processes even when there is no scientific evidence those foods cause harm. For the poor, in particular, there is danger in misunderstanding which food items are safe, says Kent Messer, the study’s lead author and the Unidel Howard Cosgrove Career Development Chair for the Environment.

“That has me worried about the poor and those who are food insecure,” Messer added. “Because now you’re trying to make everything a high-end food choice and frankly, we just want to have healthy food choices, we don’t need to have extra labels that scare away people.”

Process Labels

Process labels by definition focus on the production of a food, but largely ignore important outcomes of the process such as taste or healthiness. Policy changes could help consumers better understand their choices. They argue governments should not impose bans on process labels but rather encourage labels that help document how the processes affect important quality traits, such as calorie count. “Relying on process labels alone, on the other hand, is a laissez faire approach that inevitably surrenders the educational component of labeling to mass media, the colorful array of opinion providers, and even food retailers, who may not always be honest brokers of information,” Messer said.

With regards to the positive impact process labels have on consumers, Messer said that consumers are able to more freely align their purchasing decisions with their values and preferences. If, for example, a consumer wants to buy fair trade coffee, they are able to do so with greater ease. “The good part is that process labels can help bridge the trust between the producer and the consumer because it gives the consumer more insight into the market,” said Messer. “New products can be introduced this way, niche markets can be created, and consumers, in many cases, are willing to pay more for these products. It’s good for industry, consumers are getting what they want, and new players get to find ways of getting a higher price.”

The bad part is that consumers are already in the midst of a marketplace filled with information that can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of product choices and information available. In addition, when most consumers go to buy food, they are often crunched for time. “Human choice tends to be worse when you put time constraints on it,” said Messer. “Maybe you’ve got a child in the aisle with you and now you’re adding this new label and there’s lots of misinterpretation of what it means. The natural label is a classic one which means very little, yet consumers assume it means more than it does. They think it means ‘No GMO’ but it doesn’t. They think it means it is ‘organic’ but it isn’t. This label is not helping them align their values to their food, and they’re paying a price premium but not getting what they wanted to buy.”

Halo Effects

Another problem is “halo effects” – overly optimistic misinterpretation of what a label means. “If you show consumers a chocolate bar that is labeled as ‘fair trade’, some will tell you that it has lower calories,” Messer said. “But the label is not about calories. Consumers do this frequently with the ‘organic’ label as they think it is healthy for the consumer. Organic practices may be healthier for the farm workers or the environment, but for the actual consumer, there’s very little evidence behind that. You’re getting lots of mixed, wrong messages out there.”

Like halo effects, the ugly side of food processing labels comes into play when labels sound like they have a positive impact but really have a negative one. A label such as “low food miles” might sound nice but could actually be causing more harm than good. “Sometimes, where food is grown doesn’t mean that it’s actually the best for climate change,” said Messer. Hot house tomatoes grown in Canada, for example, might have low food miles for Canadian consumers but it’s probably far better environmentally – because of all the energy expended in creating tomatoes in an energy-intensive hot house in Canada – to grow the tomatoes in Florida and then ship them to Canada. “If you just count miles and not true energy use, you can get people paying more money for something that’s actually going the opposite of what they wanted which is to get a lower carbon footprint,” said Messer.

The ugly side of food labeling is that a lot of fear is being introduced into the marketplace that isn’t based on science. “When you start labeling everything as ‘free of this’ such as ‘gluten-free water,’ you can end up listing stuff that could never have been present in the food in the first place,” Messer said. “These ‘free of’ labels can cause unnecessary fear and cast the conventionally produced food in a harsh, negative light.” Since the vast majority of the food market is still conventionally produced and is the lower cost product, there is a danger in taking that safe food and calling it unsafe because of a few new entrants into the food market.

There is evidence that food companies are getting worried about investing in science and technology because they don’t know how the consumer is going to respond or how marketers are going to attack their food product because it’s new and different and therefore can be labeled as bad or dangerous. “We’ve got a lot of mouths to feed in our country and around the world,” Messer said. “We are currently able to feed so many because of advances in agricultural science and technology. If we’re afraid of that now, we have a long-term impact on the poor that could be quite negative in our country and around the world. That’s when I start thinking these process labels could really be ugly.”

Do Nutrition Label Readers Favor Food Quality Over Quantity?

People who closely eyeball nutrition labels tend to eat differently than less-discerning diners in one key regard, according to research from a University of Illinois expert in food and nutrition policy and consumer food preferences and behaviors. Although nutrition-label users and non-nutrition-label users eat roughly the same amount of food, the two groups diverge when it comes to the quality of the food they eat, said a paper co-written by Brenna Ellison, a professor of agriculture and consumer economics at Illinois. “Research has often concluded that people who use nutrition labels eat better,” Ellison said. “But we don’t necessarily talk about what better means. Is it eating less food, or is it eating better food? This study looks at people’s plates and considers both what they selected to eat and what they actually ate in an effort to determine which difference – volume or quality – is occurring.”

To examine the relationship between label use and food selection, servings and consumption, Ellison and co-author Mary J. Christoph of the University of Minnesota combined survey and photographic data of the lunch plates of college students at two different university dining halls. Food selection, servings and consumption were assessed using digital photography, a method with strong reliability for validating portion sizes compared with weighing food and visual estimation. “In terms of measuring and evaluating the plates, we had students who built their own plates because it was a self-serve dining environment,” Ellison said. “Diners were only eligible if they were just sitting down to eat. It couldn’t be someone who was halfway through their meal, which would misrepresent what they were eating and skew the results.”

Based on the meals assessed, the quantity of foods served and consumed were roughly similar between the two groups. There were, however, distinct differences in the types of foods plated and consumed within MyPlate food categories between those who tended to read nutrition labels and those who didn’t. The results indicate that a greater proportion of nutrition-label users selected more fruits, vegetables and beans, and fewer potatoes and refined grains, compared with non-label users. In addition, fewer label users selected fried foods and foods with added sugars. “We find that it’s more about the types of food rather than the quantity of the food,” Ellison said. “The amount of food between label users and non-label users was roughly the same amount. It’s the differences in quality that are more prevalent than the sheer amount of food selected.”

Effectiveness Of Labels

Using digital photography also provided a more objective assessment of food selection, servings and consumption compared with self-reporting because “you don’t have to rely on students remembering how much of each food they ate,” Ellison said. “That’s one big advantage to this study. Another one is that diners did not interact with our data collectors until after their plate was built. So our data collection methods shouldn’t have affected what they chose. For example, people weren’t picking more salad because they knew there was going to be a picture taken of their plate.”

Participants were further surveyed on socio-demographic and behavioral variables such as gender, body mass index, exercise frequency and nutrition education to better assess the possible link between label use and food selection, servings and consumption. Examining nutrition labels is often recommended by doctors and dietitians to improve food choices, but choice does not always translate to consumption. Furthermore, evidence on the effectiveness of labels is mixed, and few studies can identify how labels actually influence behavior.

“Previous research has focused on portion control for weight loss or weight management, generally eating less,” Ellison added. “But more-recent research indicates this may not be the most effective message. By eating less, consumers may feel deprived, or even ‘hangry,’ which can make it difficult to sustain long-term dietary behaviors,” she said. “Newer research indicates that eating less of certain types of foods, rather than all foods, may matter more.”

Although the results show label users eat differently than non-users, the implications of the research suggest there may be a need for greater consumption of fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy among both groups. In addition to posting labels, Ellison said dining facilities may want to increase offerings of nutrient-dense foods – whole grains and vegetables – or consider product reformulations that creatively incorporate these foods to encourage healthy eating behaviors. But Ellison warned that the study’s findings should still be cautiously interpreted as the conclusions are based on only one meal.

The Powerful Abilities Of Linseed Oil

A healthy and multifaceted oil derived from nutritious and health-enriching flaxseed is also known as linseed oil. It has a whole host of benefits that help to increase your internal health and vitality. We’ve recently been talking about different types of oils and their intrinsic health benefits, as well as their ability to change and improve certain external elements like skin or hair. Linseed oil is no different, with a bit more of an impact on the internal side of things. Here are some of the most impressive and imperative ways in which linseed oil can be used.

Helps Weight Loss

If you’re anything like millions of people in our country, you are on a quest to slim down for summer, and maybe just for your overall health. Many people deal with a few extra pounds and constantly are trying new things to help them reach and maintain their goal weight. This can be incredibly difficult in our current reality as food, in enormous portions, seems to be quite ubiquitous. Because linseed oil acts as a natural laxative within the system, it is great for digestion. Many don’t realize that their issues with digestion often stem from food sensitivities, which can lead to carrying unnecessary weight. Incorporating linseed oil will help thwart the unnecessary accumulation in your gut.

Eases Digestive Issues

In the same way that it helps deal with the way in which your body processes the food you eat, it also helps to alleviate any type of gas, bloating or constipation that you may experience as a result of said food. If you find that you sometimes overeat on cheat days or at a family barbeque, it may be difficult to get back on track after falling so far off the wagon. A big reason this happens is because your digestive system feels so terrible for at least a day and even the next day. Taking linseed oil can help to regulate your digestion right away. Take a couple of linseed oil vitamin tablets before a big meal.

Treats Cellulite

This is a great one for those who have been noticing their thighs may be lacking a certain type of smoothness. While there are a ton of creams and gels on the market that claim they can effectively treat cellulite, many of them include harmful additives and ingredients you don’t really want to be using on your sensitive skin. Linseed oil is a natural way to help diminish the look of cellulite wherever you may experience it.

Linseed is able to structurally change the way the skin appears. Cellulite usually results from weakened collagen – which makes your skin look less smooth and more uneven. Include a bit of this oil into your diet if you notice you’re having issues with cellulite and how your skin appears. The great part about this option is your don’t have to worry about taking the time to rub the oil into the affected spot – taking it internally will do the job.

You can purchase linseed oil online from several companies at




Research Explains Pertussis Resurgence

A group of researchers, with scientists from the University of Georgia, has established that the return of pertussis – commonly known as whooping cough in America – is a predictable outcome of incomplete treatment with an effective vaccine. This conclusion goes against existing theories as to why we have seen a resurgence in the disease outbreak even while the vaccine is administered at an early age. The study is very important to public health in that it exposes the truth that there has not been any change in the epidemiology of whooping cough that was causing the increasing number of cases, says Pejman Rohani, senior author with a joint appointment at the Odum School of Ecology and the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. The resurgence is due to the way vaccines are administered in the past and that the effect could take years to manifest.

Pertussis is actually a respiratory tract infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium capable of causing serious infections in infants and young children. Regular vaccinations for this disease started in the 1940s and led to a hundred-fold decrease in the volume of annual reported cases down to the level that the possibility of totally eliminating the disease seemed likely. However, pertussis has made a stunning gradual comeback since the mid-1970s. Rohani and his fellow researchers checked long-term health surveillance records from Massachusetts to understand the reason.


  • The most popular hypothesis on the resurgence of pertussis is that a new generation of vaccines is flawed somehow. However, Rohani and his group found no evidence to support this claim. They rather saw that new pertussis vaccines have been largely effective like earlier ones despite not guaranteeing 100 percent lifelong immunity to individuals who got vaccinated.
  • The team discovered that high rates of vaccinations when the vaccines were first introduced resulted in an overall reduction in transmission among the populace. As a result, those who were not vaccinated were even less likely to contract pertussis.
  • As vaccinated individuals grew old, the immunity offered by the vaccine began to wear off in certain cases. Again, there were fewer people alive who survived outbreaks of pertussis infections before vaccination and subsequently gained lifelong protection.
  • These twin realities mean the number of individuals who are susceptible to whooping cough infection is steadily rising, thus setting the stage for an increasing number of new cases especially in adults. This has been variously described as the “end of the honeymoon” epoch.


  1. The study model identifies the main transmission group as schoolchildren. Consequently, the team recommended this group to be the major focus of pertussis vaccination campaigns, instead of the prevalent emphasis on vaccinating adults.
  2. The team recommends to further examine the findings of this research to assess the frequency and number of booster vaccines.

Essential Oil Benefits

Essential oils are aromatic compounds produced naturally by plants. James Cook University scientists recently discovered a technique to apply natural plant extracts such as tea tree oil as a coating for medical devices. This process could prevent millions of infections every year. Professor Mohan Jacob, Head of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at JCU, and his team found that an increasing number of unplanned surgeries are being performed to fight infections mostly caused by bacterial activity on medical devices and a subsequent ‘biofilm’ forming on them. “Just in the U.S., about 17 million new biofilm-related infections are reported annually, leading to approximately 550,000 fatalities each year,” Jacob said. “It’s thought about 80 percent of worldwide surgery-associated infections may relate to biofilm formation.”

The team converted plant-based products – known as Plant Secondary Metabolites (PSMs) – into polymer coatings for medical devices, including implants. “They’re derived from such things as essential oils and herb extracts and they have relatively powerful, broad-spectrum antibacterial activities. PSMs are a low-cost, renewable resource available in commercial quantities, with limited toxicity, and potentially different mechanisms for fighting bacteria than synthetic antibiotics,” Jacob said. The group’s research also tackled the persistent problem of how to convert the plant extracts from a liquid to a solid state as a coating for medical devices without a significant loss of effectiveness.

Dr. Katia Bazaka is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow and team member. “We used plasma-enhanced techniques within a reactor containing the essential oil vapors,” added team member Dr. Katia Bazaka, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow. “When the vapors are exposed to a glow discharge, they are transformed and settle on the surface of an implant as a solid biologically-active coating. These have shown good antibacterial properties. The main advantage of this approach is that we are not using other chemicals, such as solvents, during the fabrication process. As such, there is no threat of potentially harmful chemicals being retained in the coating or them damaging the surface of the material onto which the coating is applied. It also makes the fabrication process more environmentally friendly.”

Tea Tree Oil

The group is currently the global pioneers in the development of plant-derived polymer thin films – publishing over 70 research articles and six Ph.D. theses in the field. Professor Ian Atkinson, Director of JCU’s eResearch unit and a collaborator on the project, said the work had recently been extended to target marine organisms, to prevent the growth of biofilms on aquatic sensors and their subsequent failure. “Another attractive feature of these coatings is their optical transparency, which may be quite important if you are using them to coat contact lenses or optical windows in aquatic sensors,” he said.

Professor Jacob and his Ph.D. students are now collaborating with Dr. Peter Mulvey and Associate Professor Jeff Warner at the JCU-based Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine to study the activity of different types of bacteria on the plant-based coatings. Even though synthetic antibiotics have been the best weapon for eradicating microbial infections since the arrival of penicillin, the overuse of these medications is gradually rendering them ineffective. Scientists think that if new strategies are not developed soon, medical treatments could retreat to the era where slight injuries and common infections develop into serious medical problems.

Most plants produce organic molecules as antimicrobial agents to combat harmful microorganisms. In the past few decades, progress in the synthesis of nanoscale materials, in particular plasma-assisted fabrication, has provided the means to retain the antimicrobial activities of plant secondary metabolites within bioactive coatings. Though the JCU team investigated many natural precursors, their main focus was on the Australian-based essential oil, tea tree oil and its components. As part of a Ph.D. project, Dr. Katia Bazaka developed antibacterial coatings from terpene-4-ol, which is a major component of tea tree oil.

Coconut Oil Benefits

Scientists from the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the German Cancer Research Center investigated such peroxisomal diseases on fruit flies. They were able to prove that a coconut oil diet significantly increases the vitality and lifespan of the flies. The results were presented in the journal PLOS Biology.

If the peroxisomes are damaged or absent, a toxic accumulation of very-long-chain fatty acids occurs. While science has so far primarily focused on these very-long-chain fatty acids as the cause of the disease, a research team around Dr. Margret Bülow at the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn investigated the importance of medium-chain fatty acids. “These fatty acids are much more frequent than the very long-chain ones,” says Bülow. “Their importance has been underestimated so far.”

The research team used fruit flies as a classical model organism. The flies lacked a gene that encodes an important building block for the peroxisomes, which prevented the detoxification factories from working properly. The disease resembled peroxisome dysfunction in humans: Brain cells in the flies had died, so they could neither fly nor crawl. “What was striking about these animals was that they showed a medium-chain fatty deficiency,” reports lead author Dr. Julia Sellin. “It is precisely these fatty acids that serve as fuel for energy production in the cell power plants – the mitochondria.” It was therefore reasonable to assume that additional feeding with the deficient fatty acids could compensate for the damage.

A 1992 film drama told the true story of Lorenzo Odone, a seriously ill boy suffering from a peroxisomal disorder – a rare hereditary disease also known as adrenoleukodystrophy/ALD, which resulted in damage to the nervous system. The parents’ desperate search for treatment was turned into a film titled Lorenzo’s Oil,  which made the disease well known. The disease arises from the dysfunction of so-called “peroxisomes.” These are tiny bubbles surrounded by a membrane that are mainly responsible for detoxifying the cells. In addition to harmful hydrogen peroxide, very-long-chain fatty acids in particular are also metabolized there.

Fruit Fly Findings

The scientists put some of the flies with the missing gene on a diet of coconut oil, which is rich in medium-chain fatty acids. A control group was fed conventionally. It was found that only about 20 percent of the fruit flies larvae raised on standard food developed further into adult specimens. Most of these died within 24 hours, while the normal life expectancy is around 40 to 50 days. In contrast, about 55 percent of the larvae fed with coconut oil produced adult fruit flies that survived for several weeks. “With the diet, the fruit flies suffering from the peroxisome disorder are able to survive, which is not possible on a conventional diet,” says Dr. Christian Wingen, the second lead author.

The damaged fly larvae showed symptoms of hunger stress. In the search for the causes, the team of researchers discovered lipase 3 – an enzyme that mobilizes fatty acids from the storage fat as fuel when there is a lack of food. Lipase 3 was upregulated to provide more energy. However, in peroxisome diseases the mitochondria are affected, which is why the fatty acids could not be completely processed and accumulated to a toxic amount. “This is probably the cause of death of the flies,” Bülow added. Another important role is played by “ceramide synthase Schlank,” which was discovered several years earlier at the LIMES Institute. If the synthase is outside the cell nucleus, lipase 3 is upregulated, which leads to the described damage. The coconut oil diet however dampened the increased activity of lipase 3, thereby reducing cell damage. A team of researchers led by Dr. Reinhard Bauer was recently able to show that Schlank is involved in the regulation of lipase 3.

Can the fruit fly findings be transferred to humans? The researchers also investigated human cell lines derived from patients with peroxisomal biogenesis disease. These too showed that without a coconut oil diet, the mitochondria swell and free fatty acids accumulate in toxic concentrations. “We were able to transfer some aspects that we observed on flies to human cells,” Bülow said. “This is an important indication for a possible therapy approach in humans, but there is still a lot of research to be done.”

Copaiba Oil Benefits

Sales of the essential oil copaiba are increasing, at least in part, because more than 54 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and 23.7 million are limited in their usual activity primarily due to pain. The conventional way to treat arthritis is using nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as well as cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors (COXIBs), which are not without adverse effects like gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attacks and stroke. For arthritis sufferers, copaiba may turn out to be a silver bullet or perhaps snake oil. The side effects of NSAIDs and COXIBs as well as warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on their risks of gastrointestinal side effects and bleeding as well as cardiovascular disease all suggest the need to test novel therapies with potential clinical benefits and fewer side effects than the available traditional medicines.

One such possible remedy is Copaifera reticulate or copaiba. The totality of evidence concerning the potential of copaiba to treat inflammatory arthritis is limited to basic research and uncontrolled clinical observations in humans. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University caution that randomized trials are necessary to discern whether the treatment is effective or that copaiba turns out to be yet another beautiful hypothesis slain by ugly facts. They present the incomplete totality of evidence and challenges in treating arthritis in their commentary published in the journal Integrative Medicine. “Copaiba is an essential oil that is used topically with little or no side effects, but there is insufficient evidence to judge whether it reduces pain and inflammation in patients with arthritis,” said Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., and senior author of the paper. “In case reports, individuals with joint pain and inflammation who used copaiba reported favorable results, however, this hypothesis is promising but as of yet unproven.”

Copaiba is a stimulant oleoresin obtained from the trunk of several pinnate-leaved South American leguminous trees found in the Amazon. Its medicinal usage dates back to the 16th century when natives of Brazil used it as folk medicine. Today, Brazil produces approximately 95 percent of this oil-resin, exporting more than 500 tons each year. “Basic research has suggested mechanisms of benefit of this essential oil in treating inflammatory arthritis,” says Hennekens. “Nonetheless, the only published data on copaiba on humans includes one case series and one small randomized trial of another inflammatory condition and not arthritis.”

The researchers conclude that the totality of the currently available evidence for copaiba essential oil is wholly insufficient to judge either its benefits or risks for the relief of pain and inflammation in arthritis. They emphasize that despite the absence of reliable evidence from large-scale randomized clinical trials, sales of copaiba continue to increase, presenting clinical and public health challenges. “To complete the totality of evidence, copaiba should be first tested in a randomized trial against a placebo in patients with inflammatory arthritis,” said Hennekens. “If such a trial shows a net benefit, then the next step would be direct randomized comparisons against NSAIDs and COXIBs.”

Orange Essential Oil Benefits

About eight percent of people will develop post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, yet treatments for this debilitating condition remain limited. In a recent study, mice exposed to orange essential oil after a stressful situation showed improvements in markers of stress and fear, suggesting essential oil may offer a nonpharmaceutical option to help alleviate PTSD.

“Relative to pharmaceuticals, essential oils are much more economical and do not have adverse side effects,” says Cassandra Moshfegh, research assistant in Paul Marvar’s laboratory at the George Washington University. “The orange essential plant oil showed a significant effect on the behavioral response in our study mice. This is promising because it shows that passively inhaling this essential oil could potentially assuage PTSD symptoms in humans.” Orange essential oil is typically extracted from the peel of the orange fruit. People use essential oils for therapeutic purposes by diffusing them into the air, applying them to the skin or ingesting them in foods or beverages.

The researchers tested the effects of orange essential oil using Pavlovian Fear conditioning, a behavioral mouse model used to study the formation, storage and expression of fear memories as a model for PTSD. Mice were exposed to the orange essential oil by passive inhalation 40 minutes before and after fear conditioning. Typically mice freeze in fear when they hear a certain audial tone later, a response that diminishes gradually over time.

Twelve mice received the tone by itself, 12 mice received water and fear conditioning, and 12 mice received an orange essential oil and fear conditioning. Mice exposed to orange essential oil by passive inhalation showed a significant reduction in freezing behavior and stopped freezing earlier than the water-exposed, fear-conditioned mice. They also showed significant differences in the types of immune cells present after fear conditioning. The immune system contributes to the inflammation associated with chronic stress and fear, so immune cells are a marker of the biochemical pathways involved in PTSD.

Preliminary results point to differences in the gene expression in the brain between the mice that were exposed to essential oil and those that were not, hinting at a potential mechanism to explain the behavioral results. Moshfegh said further studies would be needed to understand the specific effects of orange essential oil in the brain and nervous system and shed light on how these effects might help to reduce fear and stress in people with PTSD

Passiflora Edulis Or Passion Fruit: Its Impressive Qualities

Many people typically understand the importance of a healthy diet. For those who are trying to improve their lifestyle via their diet, they often hear that incorporating fruits and vegetables into their eating plan, and specific forms of clean eating, are the most advantageous for their health. This is no surprise as things that come from the earth often have enormous health-transforming qualities. This is definitely the case with passion fruit, otherwise known as passiflora edulis. Passion fruit is incredibly nutritious and contains a high source of needed minerals and vitamins. Here are some of its best benefits.

Antioxidant Cancer Fighter

The antioxidants that come from the vitamins present in fruit are serious cancer fighters. Free radicals are considered damaged cells that may form in our body. Their abnormal growth is what we know as cancer. Antioxidants are certified free-radical destroyers. If you are looking for something that can increase the internal vitality of your cells while protecting you from abnormal growths, you might want to start consuming more passion fruit.

Digestive Health

One of the most common occurrences of discomfort is that of stomach issues. Because we have to eat to live, our systems can sometimes fight against the things we put in our bodies. This is why diet is so important and why certain fruits and veggies are pristine for your insides. Passion fruit contains a good amount of soluble fiber which means it helps to clean out the toxins and leftover food that accumulates inside your colon. This helps to keep your bowel movements regular and ensures your intestinal health is in tip-top shape. When your gastrointestinal tract is compromised, you likely deal with things like gas, bloating, upset stomach, or even nausea. Fiber helps to absorb water, which makes it easier for you to pass your bowel movements.

Helps Eye Health

Vision tends to deteriorate as you get older. Glasses don’t have to be the reality to every single person nearing a certain age. When you take care of your eyes and provide them with necessary nutrients that help them stay sharp and healthy, you will be rewarded with good eyesight – especially in the technological age where so many of us spend a significant amount of time in front of screens. The flavonoids that are present in passion fruit help to ensure the mucous membranes that protect the eye are plentiful. There is also beta carotene present in passion fruit which helps to sharpen and improve vision.

Mood Enhancer

So many of us are bogged down with the everyday responsibilities and stresses in life. This can do a real number on our nervous system and can even cause certain common issues like anxiety, insomnia and depression. Luckily, passion fruit contains a medicinal and light alkaloid which has a mild sedative property. This means it can help relax you and take the edge off some natural nervousness that you may experience. Nerve-calming foods can actually provide much help to many anxious people.

You can purchase passion fruit online from several companies at


Can Gum Disease Treatment Improve Symptoms In Cirrhosis Patients?

A new study in the American Journal of Physiology—Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology suggests that routine oral care to treat gum disease may play a role in reducing inflammation and toxins in the blood and improving cognitive function in people with liver cirrhosis.

Previous research has shown that people with cirrhosis have changes in gut and salivary microbiota – bacteria that populate the gastrointestinal tract and mouth – which can lead to gum disease and a higher risk of cirrhosis-related complications. In addition, studies have found that people with cirrhosis have increased levels of inflammation throughout the body, which is associated with hepatic encephalopathy.

Researchers studied two groups of volunteers that had cirrhosis and mild-to-moderate periodontitis. One group received periodontal care including teeth cleaning and removal of bacteria toxins from the teeth and gums. The other group was not treated for gum disease. The research team collected blood, saliva and stool samples before and 30 days after treatment. Each volunteer took standardized tests to measure cognitive function before and after treatment.

Oral Inflammation Reduction

The treated group – especially those with hepatic encephalopathy – had increased levels of beneficial gut bacteria that could reduce inflammation, as well as lower levels of endotoxin-producing bacteria in the saliva when compared to the untreated group. The untreated group demonstrated an increase in endotoxin levels in the blood over the same time period. The improvement in the treated group “could be related to a reduction in oral inflammation leading to lower systemic inflammation, or due to [less harmful bacteria] being swallowed and affecting the gut microbiota,” the research team wrote.

Cognitive function also improved in the treated group, suggesting that the reduced inflammation levels in the body may minimize some of the symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy in people who are already receiving  standard-of-care therapies for the condition. This finding is relevant because there are no further therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to alleviate cognition problems in this population, the researchers said. “The oral cavity could represent a treatment target to reduce inflammation and endotoxemia in patients with cirrhosis to improve clinical outcomes.”

Cirrhosis, which is a growing epidemic in the U.S., is the presence of scar tissue on the liver. When severe, it can lead to liver failure. Complications of cirrhosis can include infections throughout the body and hepatic encephalopathy, a buildup of toxins in the brain caused by advanced liver disease. Symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy include confusion, mood changes and impaired cognitive function.

Can New Biomaterial Re-Define Root Canal Procedure?

Scientists recently announced the development of a peptide hydrogel designed to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and dental pulp within a tooth after a root canal procedure. “What you end up with after a root canal is a dead tooth,” says Vivek Kumar, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “It’s no longer responsive. There are no nerve endings or vascular supply. So the tooth is very susceptible to subsequent infection and, ultimately, falling out.”

A root canal results in a dead tooth with no living soft tissue, or dental pulp, inside although the lengthy and sometimes painful surgery relieves the agony of an infection. During a root canal, the dentist drills off the top of an infected tooth to access the soft tissue inside. The dentist then removes the infected dental pulp and fills the space with tiny rubber rods called gutta percha and caps the repaired tooth with a crown.

Kumar, along with Peter Nguyen, Ph.D., who presented the work, wanted to develop a material that could be injected in place of the gutta percha. The material would stimulate both angiogenesis – new blood vessel growth – and dentinogenesis, or proliferation of dental pulp stem cells, within the tooth. Kumar drew on his previous experience developing a hydrogel that stimulates angiogenesis when injected under the skin of rats and mice. The hydrogel, which is liquid during injection, contains peptides that self-assemble into a gel at the injection site. The peptides contain a snippet of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor, which stimulates the growth of new blood vessels.

Kumar, then a postdoctoral researcher at Rice University, and his coworkers showed that the self-assembling peptide hydrogel stimulated angiogenesis and persisted under the rodents’ skin for as long as three months. “We asked the question, if we can stimulate angiogenesis in a limb, can we stimulate angiogenesis in other regions that have low blood flow?” Kumar says. “One of the regions we were really interested in was an organ in and of itself, the tooth.” So Kumar and Nguyen added another domain to the self-assembling angiogenic peptide: a piece of a protein that makes dental pulp stem cells proliferate.

When the team added the new peptide to cultured dental pulp stem cells, they found that the peptide not only caused the cells to proliferate, but also activated them to deposit calcium phosphate crystals —  the mineral that makes up tooth enamel. However, when injected under the skin of rats, the peptide degraded within one to three weeks. “This was shorter than we expected, so we went back and redesigned the peptide backbone so that we currently have a much more stable version,” says Kumar. Now, the team is injecting the peptide hydrogel into the teeth of dogs that have undergone root canals to see if it can stimulate dental pulp regeneration in a living animal. If these studies go well, the researchers plan to move the hydrogel into human clinical studies, and have filed a patent for the redesigned peptide.

The hydrogel in its current form likely won’t reduce the invasiveness or pain of a root canal, but Kumar and Nguyen are planning future versions of the peptide that contain antimicrobial domains. “Instead of having to rip out everything inside the tooth, the dentist could go in with a smaller drill bit, remove a little bit of the pulp and inject our hydrogel,” Kumar says. The antimicrobial portion of the peptide would kill the infection, preserving more of the existing dental pulp, while helping grow new tissue. And the root canal may no longer be such a dreaded procedure.

The researchers’ results were presented recently at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). A new video on the research is available at