Monday, November 22, 2010

Moles are good for you

THE secret of supermodel Cindy Crawford's ageless allure may be out as British scientists have discovered that people with lots of moles are genetically protected from many of the ravages of time. New research suggests they may not only develop fewer wrinkles in old age, but also have stronger bones and tauter muscles.

Moles or beauty spots - for which Crawford is famous - are formed by rapidly dividing cells that start producing dots of dark pigment on children as young as four, but which usually vanish from about the age of 40. In some people, however, they continue to spread as they grow older, producing a smooth and wrinkle-free complexion that can make a woman look at least seven years younger than her real age.

A study of 1200 identical and non-identical female twins, aged 18-79, showed that those with more than 100 moles on their bodies also have tougher bones and are therefore 50 percent less likely to develop osteoporosis than women with fewer than 25 moles.

The findings by a team at King’s College London, were presented at a meeting of the Royal Society of Medicine last week. Researchers are now examining whether people with many moles are also protected against other symptoms of aging, including failing eyesight, and even heart disease.

The new evidence contrasts with previous warnings about moles being linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.

People with lots of moles have been found to carry white blood cells with extra long "telomeres" - the spare ends of chromosomes in each cell that carry the genetic material allowing it to replicate. The more spare DNA, the greater the potential number of replications before the cell dies.

While the average person has 30-40 tiny moles dotted over their bodies, some have as many as 400. Those with at least 100 moles make up 10-15 per cent of the white population.


Glass of red wine a day 'treats diabetes by helping body regulate blood sugar levels'

This is a highly speculative conclusion based on observations in laboratory glassware only

A small glass of red wine every day could keep adult diabetes under control, scientists claimed last night. A new study found that the drink contains high concentrations of chemicals that help the body regulate levels of sugar in the blood. Just a small glass of red contained as many of these active ingredients as a daily dose of an anti-diabetic drug, the researchers found.

Although the study didn't look at the effects of wine on people, its authors believe moderate drinking as part of a calorie controlled diet could protect against type 2 diabetes. However, their conclusions angered Diabetes UK who accused the researchers of making 'astonishingly bold suggestions' based on 'limited research'. The charity warned that wine was so high in calories it could lead to weight gain - outweighing any benefit.

Around 2.6million people suffer from type 2 diabetes in Britain. The disease occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar - or when its insulin does not work properly. High levels of sugar in the blood can cause tiredness, heart disease, strokes, blindness, nerve damage and kidney disease.

Past studies have shown that natural chemicals found grape skin and wine called polyphenols can help the body control glucose levels, and prevent potentially dangerous spikes or dips in blood sugar. The new study compared the polyphenol content of 12 different wine varieties. The team, from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, found that levels were higher in red wines.

The scientists then studied how these polyphenols interact with cells in the human body, focussing on a particular 'receptor - or molecule that sits on the surface of cells - called PPAR-gamma - involved in the development of fat cells, energy storage and the regulation of blood sugar.

The authors showed that polyphenols in wine bind to the receptor and that a small glass of wine contains enough to rival the activity of the potent diabetes drug Avandia.

The researchers who report the findings in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Food and Function believe moderate red wine consumption could have benefits for diabetics. 'You could derive a natural extract from grape skins for the treatment of diabetes,' Professor Alois Jungbauer said. 'Also, this is further scientific evidence that a small amount of wine really is beneficial for health.'

Previous research involving thousands of people has shown that moderate drinking of alcohol can reduce the risk of diabetes type 2, he said. 'Moderate is the equivalent of a small glass each day for women, and two for men,' he added. 'Our big problem is to convey the message of a healthy lifestyle because too much wine will cause diabetes and obesity. 'If you have wine then you must reduce your intake of calories from food by the same amount.'

But Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK was critical of Prof Jungbauer's conclusions. 'It is very difficult to see how this limited research will have any benefit to people with Type 2 diabetes. It is a basic study into the chemistry of red wine and has no clinical relevance at this stage,' he said.

'The researchers have made an astonishingly bold suggestion based on the results of their research suggesting that a very small glass of red wine may be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. This assumption is fundamentally wrong based on the evidence presented from this research.

'Previous studies have demonstrated potential health benefits from chemicals isolated from red wine. However the alcohol in wine is high in calories and can lead to weight gain, which can outweigh the benefits of these chemicals.'


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