Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bucky Balls Could Double Your Lifespan

Generalizing about lifespans from a short-lived species (rats)to a long lived species (humans) is intrinsically dubious.  We  may already have some equivalent of whatever helped the rats below

Buckminster fullerene molecules, the naturally occurring spheres made up of 60 carbon atoms, have long been suspected to have biological benefits. Now, a study that set out to establish if they were toxic when administered orally has proven quite the opposite-they almost doubled the lifespan of the rats that they were fed to.

The experiments, which were carried out at the Universite Paris Sud, France, set out to assess what adverse reactions might be caused by ingesting Bucky balls orally. To do that, they fed three groups of rats differently. Along with their normal diet, one group was held as a control; a second was fed olive oil; and a third group was fed olive oil doped with a 0.8 mg/ml concentration of Buckminster fullerene.

The results, which appear in Biomaterials, took the researchers by surprise. The control group had a median lifespan of 22 months, and the olive oil group one of 26 months. But the Bucky ball group? They stuck it out for 42 months. That's almost double the control group.

The researchers have established that the effect is mediated by a reduction in oxidative stress-an imbalance in living cells that contributes to ageing. To say these results are important is an understatement: the desire to live longer runs strong in many of us, and it's a feat scientists have been hoping to achieve for centuries.

But while it's a remarkable finding, it's worth remembering that it's just a single study. It's going to take a hell of a lot more work before the scientific community is completely convinced that we should all be splashing Bucky-enriched olive oil on our salads, that's for sure.


Prenatal exposure to inner-city air pollution among NYC minorities  is linked to childhood obesity, claims study

Silly me!  I would have thought that air pollution would be rather bad anywhere in Northern Manhattan or the South Bronx but apparently there are variations.

Generally speaking poorer people live in more polluted areas and poor people are more likely to be obese but the authors  are obviously so used to that criticism that they have in this study attempted to correct for that by controlling for maternal receipt of public assistance

So maybe the air in some parts of NYC really is polluted enough to be bad for you

A study of pregnant women and their children in New York City has provided clinical evidence that links environmental pollution with childhood obesity.

The most up-to-date statistics show that 17 per cent of children in the U.S. are obese, and that figure rises to 25 per cent in built-up, inner-city neighborhoods.

While poor diet and lack of exercise are still the major contributors to the national epidemic, this new evidence suggest that air pollution can play a role.

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health conducted the study of expecting mothers in New York, and found that those exposed to higher concentrations of airborne chemicals were more than twice as likely to have children who were obese by the age of seven.

The burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas - as well as other substances, such as tobacco - produce chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

The school's report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and its lead author - Dr Andrew Rundle - said: 'Obesity is a complex disease with multiple risk factors. It isn't just the result of individual choices like diet and exercise.'

Dr Rundle, a professor of epidemiology, added: 'For many people - who don't have the resources to buy healthy food or don't have the time to exercise - prenatal exposure to air pollution may tip the scales, making them even more susceptible to obesity.'

Researchers recruited 702 non-smoking pregnant women through prenatal clinics at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Harlem Hospital.

The women were selected between the ages of 18 and 35, and identified themselves as either African-American or Dominican. They lived in areas in Northern Manhattan or the South Bronx, which are predominantly low-income areas.

Children of women exposed to high levels of PAH during pregnancy were nearly twice as likely (1.79 times) to be obese at age five, and more than twice as likely (2.26 times) to be obese at age seven, compared with children of mothers with lower levels of exposure.

The seven-year-olds whose mothers were in the highest exposure group had, on average, 2.4lb more fat mass than children of mothers with the least exposure.

Previous research from Columbia University found that prenatal exposure to PAH can negatively affect childhood IQs and is linked to anxiety, depression and attention problems in young children.

PAH also disrupt the body's endocrine system and are known carcinogens.  But Dr Rundle said there are ways to reduce PAH exposure.  Certain fuels release more of the chemicals than others, and efforts in New York City to take diesel buses off the streets and retrofit oil furnaces so they burn cleaner fuel was already starting to help.


Association of Childhood Obesity With Maternal Exposure to Ambient Air Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons During Pregnancy

By Andrew Rundle et al.


There are concerns that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals increases children’s risk of obesity. African-American and Hispanic children born in the Bronx or Northern Manhattan, New York (1998–2006), whose mothers underwent personal air monitoring for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure during pregnancy, were followed up to ages 5 (n = 422) and 7 (n = 341) years. At age 5 years, 21% of the children were obese, as were 25% of those followed to age 7 years.

After adjustment for child’s sex, age at measurement, ethnicity, and birth weight and maternal receipt of public assistance and prepregnancy obesity, higher prenatal PAH exposures were significantly associated with higher childhood body size.

In adjusted analyses, compared with children of mothers in the lowest tertile of PAH exposure, children of mothers in the highest exposure tertile had a 0.39-unit higher body mass index z score (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.08, 0.70) and a relative risk of 1.79 (95% CI: 1.09, 2.96) for obesity at age 5 years, and they had a 0.30-unit higher body mass index z score (95% CI: 0.01, 0.59), a 1.93-unit higher percentage of body fat (95% CI: 0.33, 3.54), and a relative risk of 2.26 (95% CI: 1.28, 4.00) for obesity at age 7 years. The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.


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