What's the buzz

New supercharged broccoli to fight cancer

Brit scientists have made a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer — by unveiling a supercharged broccoli. It comes after a 26-year slog by the scientists to cultivate a special strain of the humble veg.

Their breeding programme — started in 1984 using some wild broccoli picked in Italy — has finally come up trumps with a new variety that can also combat heart disease.

The new strain boasts twice the levels of a wonder nutrient long known to make broccoli a powerful weapon in staving off cancer and other killer diseases.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia reckon the huge dose of glucoraphanin in their veg could be more effective than existing drugs.

The plants the super broccoli was bred from were personally picked by Dr Richard Mither, whose Norwich-based Institute of Food Research helped come up with the new strain. “It’s not genetically modified — it’s nothing to do with GM. It’s just a normal breeding programme,” Mither said.

“I collected wild broccoli in the 1980s and it’s derived from that,” he added.

Vegetarian diet good for kidney disease patients

A new study has suggested that sticking to a vegetarian diet can help kidney disease patients avoid accumulating toxic levels of phosphorous in their bodies.
Kidney disease patients must limit their phosphorous intake, as high levels of the mineral can lead to heart disease and death.

While medical guidelines recommend low phosphorus diets for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), phosphorus content is not listed on food labels.

Sharon Moe (Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centre) and her colleagues studied the effects of vegetarian and meat-based diets on phosphorous levels in nine patients with CKD.

Patients followed a vegetarian or meat-based diet for one week, followed by the opposite diet two to four weeks later. Blood and urine tests were performed at the end of each week on both diets.

Despite equivalent protein and phosphorus concentrations in the two diets, patients had lower blood phosphorus levels and decreased phosphorus excretion in the urine when they were on the vegetarian diet compared with the meat-based diet.

‘Anti-growth’ hormone could reverse signs of aging

Scientists have discovered that a compound that acts opposite to a growth hormone could reverse the process of aging.

Saint Louis University researcher John E Morley and his colleagues studied
the compound MZ-5-156, a “growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
antagonist.”

When tried on mice, the compound had positive effects on oxidative stress in the brain, improving cognition, telomerase activity (the actions of an enzyme which protects DNA material) and life span, while decreasing tumour activity.

It inhibited several human cancers, including prostate, breast, brain and lung cancers.

The compound also exhibited positive effects on learning, and is linked to improvements in short-term memory.

Comments (+)