What's the buzz....

What's the buzz....

Salmon is healthy for pregnant women

Intake of salmon increases omega-3 fatty acid levels and improves antioxidant defences in pregnant women and their babies, researchers have found.

In addition, salmon does not alter oxidative stress levels, inflammatory response and vascular homeostasis.

To carry out this study, University of Granada researchers selected a randomised sample of pregnant women with low fish intake.

The sample was divided into two groups: the control group –which continued with their regular diet– and the Salmon group –which incorporated two servings of “treated” salmon from 20 weeks of gestation until term.

The salmon had been reared in a fish farm under a controlled diet including special ingredients ; through this diet, salmon became rich in omega-3 fatty acids and presented high concentrations of antioxidant vitamins. Blood and urine samples were taken from the two groups, who were also asked to complete a questionnaire of food habits at weeks 20 and 34 of gestation –which would provide information about food intake during the previous 12 weeks.

Subsequently, blood and urine samples were taken again at week 38 of gestation and at labour –where also cord blood samples were taken.

The researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid concentrations improved when pregnant women who did not frequently eat fish ate two servings of salmon weekly; the same results were obtained for the newborns.

Two servings of salmon per week help the mother and her child reach the minimum recommended omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes may be related

Alzheimer’s disease may be associated with insulin resistance, constituting a third type of diabetes, according to two new studies.

This model is based on several observations including an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease for diabetic patients, and reduced insulin levels in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Though intriguing, the existing evidence does not reveal if defective insulin signalling is causative of Alzheimer’s or how insulin resistance impacts cognitive function.

Two back-to-back research articles led by Konrad Talbot, Steve Arnold and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and by Fernanda De Felice, Sergio Ferreria and colleagues at the University of Rio de Janeiro, address the connection between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease.

The University of Pennsylvania team examined insulin signalling in human brain tissue postmortem, and concluded that the activation state of many insulin signalling molecules were highly related to memory and cognitive function.  They further suggested that insulin resistance is a common and early feature of Alzheimer’s disease.

Low-calorie diets ups death risk in bowel disease patients

In a surprising result, researchers have found that a low-calorie diet increases mortality rate in bowel disease models.

While research suggests inflammation associated with obesity may contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis, the study results revealed a low-calorie diet may actually impair the immune system’s ability to respond to infection, said Jenifer Fenton, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Additionally, the study found no connection that moderate obesity increased the severity of colitis in the mouse model.

“The results are similar to the research from our department that shows consuming fewer calories make it harder to fight off the flu virus,” said Fenton, referring to recent work by colleague Elizabeth Gardner.

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