In this issue:

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the August 2007 issue of True North's Tune-Up. (A nutrition focus seems appropriate given the robust harvests of fresh produce.) The studies are from peer-reviewed scientific journals.

To your health,

B. Joseph Semmes, MD
Director of Research, True North
Diplomate, American Boards of Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine (ABIM) and Emergency Medicine

Curry spice turmeric may protect from Alzheimer's dementia.

The immune cells (macrophages) that clear the sticky plaque deposits (beta-amyloid) from the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers work much better when exposed to a chemical in turmeric. While this is a high quality basic science (hard to read) study in the highly respected Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it remains to be shown dietary supplementation with turmeric (the yellow spice in curry and mustards) actually helps patients.

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Whole grains protect from cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and colorectal cancer.

A recent review of seven studies shows that whole grain consumption lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study shows it reduces stroke, and a third the risk of colorectal cancer. Numerous plant chemicals are removed with the germ and bran during the "refining" process which makes the foods easier to cook and chew but renders them far less beneficial.

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Broccoli and cauliflower may protect from prostate cancer. Lycopene-rich foods do not.

More than one serving a week of cruciferous plants, especially broccoli and cauliflower, appear to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer by 40%. In a related large "prospective" study, lycopene levels were not protective and high betacarotene levels were associated with aggressive cancers. The authors recommend against supplementation with betacarotene and suggest that lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes and watermelon are not protective.

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Mediterranean diet improves sexual function in women and men with metabolic syndrome. A similar "prudent" diet lowers the risk of emphysema.

OK, these first two small studies are from Naples, Italy in an obscure journal. Not many of us use the Female Sexual Functioning Index (FSFI). Note it's not from the UK or US. Bravo Italia!

The third link shows that the Mediterranean (aka "prudent") diet may reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by half! COPD is a common cause of death. Quitting smoking is the most important strategy:

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Information provided in the True North Tune-Up is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The information and links in this e-publication are intended to provide general education on the topics listed, but you should not use the information or links to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner. True North advises you to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioner prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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