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Wild almond tree oil  combats diabetes

Researchers, including one of Indian origin, have found that a future weapon in the battle against obesity and diabetes could come in the form of an oil derived from the seeds of wild almond trees.

According to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the key to the oil’s potential lies in its ability to affect certain microorganisms living in our bellies.

In the study, the researchers reported that adding sterculic oil to the diets of obese laboratory mice increased their sensitivity to insulin. This was due to the oil’s effect on three types of microorganisms that live in the guts of the mice.

As a result, the researchers saw a “statistically significant improvement in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in the obese mice,” Shreya Ghosh, a Ph.D. student in environmental engineering at Missouri S and T, said.

The sterculic oil had no adverse affects on lean mice fed the same diet.
Sterculic oil is extracted from the seeds of the wild almond tree known as Sterculia foetida.

The research by Ghosh and her advisor, Dr. Daniel Oerther, builds upon previous studies conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In those studies, sterculic oil was found to suppress the bodily enzyme stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1).

SCD1 is associated with insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to diabetes and obesity.

Other studies have shown that obese mice deficient in the hormone leptin have a different composition of “gut microbiota” than do lean mice.

Leptin helps regulate metabolism, and a deficiency of the hormone can contribute to obesity, says Oerther, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering at Missouri S and T.

Built-in dengue virus killer found in humans

Scientists may have hit gold in their fight against dengue. They have located a human antibody that can neutralise and kill its virus within two hours.

Significantly, they have also identified a way to reproduce this antibody in large quantities, potentially opening the door to a cure for dengue infected patients.
The symptoms of dengue are sudden-onset fever, headache (located behind the eyes), muscle and joint pains, and a rash. The alternative name for dengue, ‘break-bone fever,’ which comes from the associated muscle and joint pains.

This discovery was made by a combined team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Defence Medical & Environmental Research Institute, all based in Singapore.

By studying a group of cell lines from recovered dengue-infected patients over two years, the team identified the antibody, could attach itself strongly to a specific part of the dengue virus and inhibit it from attacking other cells.

The antibody eventually destroys the virus and at a much faster speed compared to existing anti-dengue compounds. It has been proven to increase the survival in a mouse model infected with the dengue virus, according to a NUS statement.

This newly discovered antibody specifically treats DENV1, one of the four dengue serotypes, which accounts for up to 50 percent of the dengue cases in Southeast Asian countries.

Fruit phenols have anti-inflammatory properties Peaches, plums and nectarines have been shown to fight obesity-related heart disease and diabetes, according to new research out of the US.

Researchers say that the phenolic or plant compounds in stone fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL, which is associated with cardiovascular disease.

"Our work shows that the four major phenolic groups -- anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins -- work on different cells -- fat cells, macrophages and vascular endothelial cells," explained lead author Luis Cisneros-Zevallos. "They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound.

Meanwhile, the same group has also shown that advanced breast cancer cells died in lab tests after treatments with peach and plum extracts, while leaving normal cells intact.
But it's not just stone fruits which are high in phenolic compounds, which can strengthen the immune system.

Cherries, red grapes, berries, artichokes and potatoes are also high in phenols. Granny Smith and Fuiji apples are also good sources.

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