Thursday, March 27, 2014

Drink tequila, lose weight? How sugars found in the Mexican spirit have 'tremendous' potential to fight obesity

If you are a mouse

The sugar that gives tequila its kick could also help us stay slim.  Researchers say the plant sugars that are fermented to create the Mexican spirit hold ‘tremendous’ potential in the battle of the bulge.

Tests show the sugars from the cactus-like agave plant (which are not the same as in the more commonly known agave syrup) raise levels of a gut hormone that tells the brain it is time to stop eating.  The hormone also keeps food the stomach for longer, enhancing the feeling of fullness.

If that wasn’t enough, the slightly-sweet tasting sugars known as agavins aren't processed by the body – meaning they can’t make us fat.

The lack of absorption by the body also means they should be free of headaches and other side-effects that artificial sweeteners can cause.

Mice given water laced with agavins ate less and lost more weight than animals given water containing artificial sweeteners.

Their blood glucose levels also fell, suggesting that the sweetener could also be useful for diabetics, said researchers at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas.

Mexican researcher Mercedes L√≥pez said agavins are in a ‘tremendous position for consumption by diabetics and the obese’.   He added: 'We believe agavins have a great potential as a light sweetener.'

Previous research suggests they also strengthen the bones.

Unfortunately, agavins lose their health-boosting properties when processed – meaning drinking tequila won’t have the same effect


'Astonishing' new cancer drug could extend the lives of terminally-ill patients and eliminate their symptoms overnight....with virtually no side effects

A new version of an old strategy.  Looks promising

A new ‘miracle’ pill which could extend the lives of terminally-ill cancer patients and eliminate their symptoms overnight is being trialled by British researchers.

The medicine, which is said to have virtually no side effects, is taken in a single dose every morning and effectively switches off the mechanisms of leukaemia and lymphoma.

Unlike traditional forms of treatment like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it has none of the debilitating side effects such as hair loss, tiredness and sickness.

Cancer patients at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Devon, were the first in the world to trial the new drug, which is a new class of Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) inhibiting drugs.

They said the breakthrough treatment left them feeling better immediately and has had no side effects to date.

One terminally ill man given just months to live before the trials says he's ‘fighting fit’ - more than a year-and-a-half later.

The world-first project is being led by Professor Simon Rule, a globally-renowned expert in haematology and researcher at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

He says the new pill has the potential to transform the lives of desperately ill patients and eliminate the need for costly, gruelling bouts of chemotherapy.

Professor Rule said: ‘The astonishing thing about these drugs is that they have virtually no side effects, which is unprecedented from my experience. In some patients the effects are immediate.

‘Patients with lots of symptoms, particularly those with lymphoma, will feel better the next day after taking the medication.’

Current cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy, intensive chemo-immunotherapy, or stem cell transplants are effective but patients frequently relapse and eventually run out of further options.

The new oral pill works by blocking a protein which causes growth in cancerous cells which in turn caused the infected cells to die and leaves healthy cells unaffected.

The drug was first trialled on David Hodge, 74, from Plymouth, Devon, who has battled chronic lymphocytic leukaemia for 17 years.

Mr Hodge was given months to live because his immune system was so badly damaged and had become resistant to all other treatments.

He spent the first night of the trial in hospital before returning for regular check-ups over the subsequent 20 months.

He said: ‘I think with any new trial or drug, or with chemotherapy there's a little bit of trepidation but I'm a Christian and I prayed about this and I got great peace about it.

‘Even if it proves at this moment to be of little use to me, I trust that with fine tuning it will prove to be significant to those taking the drug later on.

‘It's just like, well it's better than taking paracetamol. I take the medication first thing in the morning at 6 o'clock and then go back to bed for an hour.

‘Afterwards I get up and get on with my day; I'm fighting fit. I've had no problems, no side effects, nothing.’

The next phase of Professor Rule's study will see BTK trialled against standard chemotherapy to see if it can become a viable long-term replacement.

He said: ‘This will completely change the way we manage these diseases. We have access to the next generation of the drug to be part of the next trial phases.

‘This is not a cure for cancer but it will mean we are significantly improving our patients' life expectancy and quality of life; similar to managing a chronic condition.

‘I have yet to come across another class of drugs in my career that has been so successful for leukaemia or lymphoma.

‘I have done a lot of drug trials in my career, this drug and its predecessor, which I was fortunate to be the first person in Europe to use - they are transformational as far as I am concerned.

‘Normally, what you expect with trials like this is that you treat a patient for a period of time and often what happens is the drug doesn't work.

‘The side effects make you stop the trial or the disease doesn't respond for very long. What is very exciting about this drug is the effects are continuing and there are no emerging side effects.

‘The next stage will be chemo-free treatment. We've been talking about it for years and now it might be a reality.

‘This has the very real prospect of changing the management of these difficult forms of cancer.'


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