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healthbriefs


Acupuncture’s Growing Acceptance O


ne in 10 American adults has received acupuncture at least once and nearly half of them say they are “extremely” or “very” satis- fied with their treatment, according to a survey


sponsored by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Ori- ental Medicine. Sixty percent of survey respondents readily accepted the idea of acupuncture as a treatment option, and 20 percent have used other forms of Oriental medicine, including herbs and Chinese bodywork.


Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is observed on Oct. 24. For more information, visit aomday.org.


MORE PLASTICS, MORE OBESE KIDS A


causal link between the worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity and phthalates commonly used in soft plastics, packaging and many personal care prod- ucts is becoming more evident. A Korean study from Sanggye Paik Hospital at the Inje


University College of Medicine, in Seoul, shows that the risk of childhood obesity increases with the level of DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) in the bloodstream. The study indicates that phthalates may change gene expression associated with fat metabolism. DEHP in particular is a suspected endocrine disruptor, or hormone-altering agent. Children with the highest DEHP levels were nearly five times more likely of being obese than children with the lowest levels. The scien- tists studied 204 children ages 6 to 13, of whom 105 were obese. A chemical commonly used to soften plastics, DEHP is found in some chil- dren’s toys, as well as myriad household items. Phthalates can be found in paci- fiers, plastic food packaging, medical equipment and building materials like vinyl flooring. Personal care products such as soap, shampoo and nail polish may also contain phthalates.


Dulse Seaweed a Heart Health Powerhouse D


Grapes Grapple with Metabolic Syndrome


I


t’s high season for grapes, and consuming any variety of this sweet fruit—red, green or black— may help protect against organ damage associ- ated with the progression of metabolic syndrome, according to new research presented at the 2013 Experimental Biology Conference, in Boston. Natural components in grapes, known as poly- phenols, are thought to be responsible for this benefit.


Metabolic syndrome comprises a cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnor- mal cholesterol levels—that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Working with lab animals, re-


ulse (palmaria palmata), a protein-rich red sea- weed, could become a new protein source to compete with current protein crops like soybeans, according to scientists at Ireland’s Teagasc Food Research Centre. Dulse harvested from October to January usually has the highest protein content.


This functional food also contributes levels of essential amino acids such as leucine, valine and methionine, similar to those contained in legumes like peas or beans. It may even help protect against cardiovascular disease. The Agriculture and Food Development Authority reports that for the first time, researchers have identi- fied a renin-inhibitory peptide in dulse that helps to reduce high blood pressure, like ACE-1 inhibitors commonly used in drug therapy.


8 Hudson County NAHudson.com


searchers found that three months of a grape-enriched diet significantly re- duced inflammatory markers through- out the body, most significantly in the liver and abdominal fat tissue. The diet also reduced the fat weight of the animals’ liver, kidneys and abdomen compared with those that were on a control diet. The grape intake also in- creased markers of antioxidant defense, particularly in the liver and kidneys. “Our study suggests that a grape- enriched diet may play a critical role in protecting against metabolic syndrome and the toll it takes on the body and its organs,” says lead investigator E. Mitchell Seymour, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Health Sys- tem. “Both inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in cardiovascular disease progression and organ dysfunc- tion in Type 2 diabetes.”


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