Thursday, May 27, 2010

Study: Moderate drinking may protect brain from Alzheimer’s

This is just an epidemiological correlation. Drinking may be causal or it may not. Maybe moderate drinking is more middle class in Spain

Moderate drinking may help protect against the onset of Alzheimer's disease among otherwise healthy people, a new Spanish study suggests.

Women who don't smoke appear to gain the most benefit from alcohol consumption, according to the research team, from the University of Valencia, the Valencia government and the Municipal Institute of Medical Investigation in Barcelona.

"Our results suggest a protective effect of alcohol consumption, mostly in non-smokers, and the need to consider interactions between tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as interactions with gender, when assessing the effects of smoking and/or drinking on the risk of Alzheimer's disease," the study's lead author, Ana M. Garcia, from the University of Valencia's department of preventive medicine and public health, said in a news release.

"Interactive effects of smoking and drinking are supported by the fact that both alcohol and tobacco affect brain neuronal receptors," Garcia explained.

The findings, published in the May issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, are gleaned from a comparative analysis of both the medical background and the smoking and drinking habits among people with Alzheimer's disease stacked up against a group of healthy individuals.

Both groups were similar in age and in gender breakdown.

Smoking appeared to have no impact on Alzheimer's risk, the authors found. However, moderate drinking did seem to reduce risk for the disease, particularly among non-smoking women.


Babies are 'helped by delay in clamping umbilical cord'

Clamping the umbilical cord in newborns should be delayed for a few minutes to allow more vital stem cells to flow from mother to baby, researchers said yesterday. This would allow more blood to be transferred to the child, meaning physiological 'gifts' are handed over in 'nature's first stem cell transplant', it was claimed.

During childbirth, the placenta and umbilical cord start contracting and pumping blood to the newborn. Once the blood has reached an equilibrium, the cord's pulses cease and the blood flow stops.

A research team from the University of South Florida said that in western culture the umbilical cord may be clamped too soon --typically between 30 seconds and a minute after birth.

Dr Paul Sanberg, of the university's Centre of Excellence for Ageing and Brain Repair, said: 'Several clinical studies have shown that delaying clamping the umbilical cord not only allows more blood to be transferred but helps prevent anaemia as well.

'Cord blood also contains many valuable stem cells, making this transfer of stem cells a process that might be considered the original stem cell transplant.'

His co-author, Dr Dong-Hyuk Park, said a review of previous research found that 'in pre-term infants, delaying clamping the cord for at least 30 seconds reduced incidences of haemorrhage, anaemia and decreased the need for blood transfusions.'

The study is published in Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.


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