What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Eating Pistachios helps to stay slim

People who regularly consume nuts, like pistachios, may have lower body weight and reduced risk factors for certain chronic diseases, say researchers.

A study, supported by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, suggests that tree nut consumers are less likely to have certain risk factors associated with heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

The researchers examined the diets of more than 13,000 adults participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found that tree nut consumption was associated with a lower prevalence rate of four risk factors for metabolic syndrome—abdominal obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), low HDL-C (good cholesterol) and elevated fasting glucose—as well as a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome in general, as compared to non-nut consumers.

Metabolic syndrome occurs when you have a cluster of conditions that together increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Redheads less sensitive to pain

Redheads, also known as gingers, are less susceptible to skin pain and can handle hot food, a study has revealed.

However, the Danish study also found that they are more sensitive to the cold and more likely to suffer from toothaches.

“Our tests showed that redheads are less sensitive to this particular type of pain, the Daily Mail quoted one of the researchers, Professor Lars Arendt-Nielsen, of the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction at Aalborg University, as saying.

“They react less to pressure close to the injected area, or to a pinprick. They seem to be a bit better protected, and that is a really interesting finding,” he said.

In recent years, research has suggested that redheaded women experience pain in a different way to their brown and blonde counterparts.

This has led scientists to theorise that they may possess a ‘redhead’ gene that is causing the fundamental differences.

Professor Arendt-Nielsen questioned any further consequences given the gene’s close association with the central nervous system.

“It seems that MCR1 is involved in central functions in the brain, and we know that subgroups like MC2R, MC3R and MC4R, which are also linked to redheads, have considerable involvement in brain functions. “This could be the key to explaining why redheads are a little different to other people,” he said.

Vitamin D may help treat Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have identified the intracellular mechanisms regulated by vitamin D3 that may help the body clear the brain of amyloid beta, the main component of plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings revealed that vitamin D3 may activate key genes and cellular signalling networks to help stimulate the immune system to clear the amyloid-beta protein.

Previous laboratory work by the team demonstrated that specific types of immune cells in Alzheimer’s patients might respond to therapy with vitamin D3 and curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric spice, by stimulating the innate immune system to clear amyloid beta.

But the researchers didn’t know how it worked.  “This new study helped clarify the key mechanisms involved, which will help us better understand the usefulness of vitamin D3 and curcumin as possible therapies for Alzheimer’s disease,” said the study author.