Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Avocado diet 'triples chance of success' for couples undergoing IVF

Just another class effect.  The "good" diet described below would have little following among the workers

Eating avocados and dressing salads with olive oil could help women trying to have a baby through IVF, researchers claim.  Foods typically eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet may triple the chances of success for women having the fertility treatment.

A study found monounsaturated fat – found in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds – was better than any other kind of dietary fat for would-be mothers. Those who ate the highest amounts were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts.

In contrast, women who ate mostly saturated fat, found in butter and red meat, produced fewer good eggs for use in fertility treatment.

US experts behind the study believe monounsaturated fats – which are already known to protect the heart – could improve fertility by lowering inflammation in the body.

The study was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul.  It was carried out at Harvard School of Public Health, funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

Study leader Professor Jorge Chavarro said: ‘The best kinds of food to eat are avocados, which have a lot of monounsaturated fat and low levels of other sorts of fat, and olive oil.’

He said the study was small, but the findings merited further investigation. ‘While these results are interesting, this is the first time to our knowledge that dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF,’ he said.

Prof Chavarro said higher levels of monounsaturated fat were linked to higher live birth rates, which ‘ultimately people are looking for’.

The study took place among 147 women having IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.  Their intake of different dietary fats was recorded and the outcome of fertility treatment compared between the highest and lowest third of intake in each category.  Women eating the highest levels of all types of fat had fewer good eggs available for use in treatment.

Prof Chavarro said the link was driven by saturated fat intake, while high levels of polyunsaturated fat consumption produced poorer quality embryos.

Higher intakes of monounsaturated fat were linked to a 3.4 times higher live birth rate than those with the lowest intake.

For those eating least, monounsaturated fat made up nine per cent of calories in their diet while it comprised a quarter for those eating the most.

Prof Chavarro said ‘Different types of fat are known to have different effects on biological processes which may influence the outcome of assisted reproduction - such as underlying levels of inflammation or insulin sensitivity.  ‘However, it is not clear at this moment which biological mechanisms underlie the associations we found.’

He said fish remained a source of ‘good’ omega 3 fatty acids, although the study was not able to pin down its contribution.


Bacteria found in soil near Easter Island statues could offer treatment for Alzheimer's

Sounds hopeful>/i>

A natural drug discovered in the soil of Easter Island could improve the memory of older people - and even treat Alzheimer's, researchers say.

In tests in mice, the drug halted the decline in brain function as they got older, and offered hope that it could also treat depression.

The drug - rapamycin - is a bacterial by-product discovered in the shadows of the island's famous statues.  It is already used in transplant patients to prevent organ rejection and now scientists in journal Neuroscience say it can improve learning and help treat cognitive decline.  It could even treat conditions like Alzheimer's, they believe.

A team from the University of Texas added the drug to the diet of healthy mice and discovered it improved learning and memory in young mice and memory in elder rodents.

Professor Veronica Galvan said: ‘We made the young ones learn, and remember what they learned, better than what is normal.  ‘Among the older mice, the ones fed with a diet including rapamycin actually showed an improvement, negating the normal decline that you see in these functions with age.’

The team also found three ‘happy, feel-good’ neurotransmitters - serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine - were higher in the mice treated with rapamycin.

This could help explain the effects on memory, she said, and helped back up previous research which showed Alzheimer's like syndromes were lowered in mice treated with the drug.

‘This is super-interesting and something we are going to pursue in the lab,’ she said.  It also lowered anxiety and depressive-like behaviour in the mice, she said.

Her colleague Dr Jonathan Halloran used a series of elevated tunnels that led to a catwalk to examine the behaviour of the rodents.  Mice prefer tunnels to open spaces and were watched on the catwalk.

Dr Halloran said: ‘All of a sudden the mice are in open space.
‘It's pretty far from the floor for their size, sort of like if a person is hiking and suddenly the trail gets steep. It's pretty far down and not so comfortable.’Mice with less anxiety were more curious to explore the catwalk, he said.

He explained: ‘We observed that the mice fed with a diet containing rapamycin spent significantly more time out in the open arms of the catwalk than the animals fed with a regular diet.’

Similarly, when mice were handled by their tails they would struggle, but depressed mice would struggle less.

‘So we can measure how much and how often they struggle as a measure of the motivation they have to get out of an uncomfortable situation,’ said Dr Galvan.

‘We found rapamycin acts like an antidepressant - it increases the time the mice are trying to get out of the situation. ‘They don't give up; they struggle more.’


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