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Garlic could help treat hypertension

Garlic may be useful in addition to medication to treat high blood pressure.
As part of the research, Australian doctors enrolled 50 patients in a trial to see if garlic supplements could help those whose blood pressure was high, despite medication.
Garlic supplements have previously been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure in those with untreated hypertension.

In the latest study, researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, looked at the effects of four capsules a day of a supplement known as aged garlic for 12 weeks.
They found systolic blood pressure was around 10mmHg lower in the group given garlic compared with those given a placebo.

“Garlic supplements have been associated with a blood pressure lowering effect of clinical significance in patients with untreated hypertension,” said researcher Karin Ried.
Experts say garlic supplements should only be used after seeking medical advice, as garlic can thin the blood or interact with some medicines.

Strawberries show promise against Huntington’s disease

In a new study, scientists found that strawberries and other fruits and vegetables slows the onset of motor problems and delays death in three models of Huntington’s disease.
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies studied Fisetin, a naturally occurring compound found in many fruits and vegetables, and its role in treating Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited disorder that destroys neurons in certain parts of the brain and slowly erodes victims’ ability to walk, talk and reason.

It is caused by a kind of genetic stutter, which leads to the expansion of a trinucleotide repeat in the huntington protein. When the length of the repeated section reaches a certain threshold, the bearer develops Huntington’s disease.

Pamela Maher and her team began their study by looking at a nerve cell line that could be made to express a mutant form of the Huntington protein. Without treatment, about 50 per cent of these cells will die within a few days. Adding fisetin, however, prevented cell death.

Faster-growing E-coli strain may benefit human health

A University of Illinois researcher has improved a strain of E coli, making it grow faster.
“The average person hears E coli and thinks of E-coli 0157:H7, a microorganism that causes horrific food poisoning, but we’ve developed a strain of E-coli that is suitable for mass production of high-quality DNA that could be used in vaccines or gene therapy,” said Yong-Su Jin.

According to Jin, industrial strains of E-coli have already been used to produce such diverse products as insulin for diabetics; enzymes used in laundry detergent, and polymer substitutes in carpets and plastic.

“E-coli bacteria have contributed vastly to our scientific understanding of genes, proteins, and the genome as a model system of biology research,” says Jin.

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