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Fruit & Juice May Prevent Alzheimers/Prostate Cancer
  Note from Jules Levin: although it gets little attention people with HIV may be at greater risk for brain related diseases as they age. Elevated lipids and diabetes or insulin resistance are associated with cognitive dysfunction in HIV-negative people as they age. Add this to HIV-infection which can affect the brain.
Juices 'may cut Alzheimer's risk'
BBC News
Drinking fruit and vegetable juices frequently may significantly cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.
US & Japan researchers followed almost 2,000 people for up to 10 years - providing a powerful set of results.
They found the risk was 76% lower for those who drank juice more than three times a week, compared with those who drank it less than once a week.
The study appears in the American Journal of Medicine.
"Diet is a magnet for research because it could offer a relatively inexpensive way to fight a disease that ruins countless lives" Dr Harriet Millward
Alzheimer's is linked to the accumulation of clumps of beta-amyloid protein in the brain.
There is some evidence to suggest that this process may be controlled by the chemical hydrogen peroxide.
Various studies have suggested that polyphenols - chemicals available in many foods - might disrupt these processes and provide some protection against Alzheimer's disease by neutralising the effect of damaging compounds called free radicals.
Fruit and vegetable juices are particularly rich in polyphenols.
Lead researcher Dr Qi Dai, of Vanderbilt University, said: "We found that frequent drinking of fruit and vegetable juices was associated with a substantially decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"These findings are new and suggest that fruit and vegetable juices may play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease."
Cheap treatment
Harriet Millward, of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "Many scientists believe there is a link between the release of free radicals within the body and early changes to brain cells in people who ultimately go on to develop Alzheimer's disease.
"Since fruit and vegetable juices are rich in antioxidants which 'mop up' free radicals, this interesting piece of research adds weight to this theory."
Dr Millward said previous studies had produced mixed results, and some had suggested the benefits of fruit and vegetables were short lived.
But she said the results of the latest study were significant because it was long-term, and had followed a relatively large group of people.
"Diet almost certainly plays a part in every person's Alzheimer's risk - and diet is a magnet for research because it could offer a relatively inexpensive way to fight a disease that ruins countless lives and costs the NHS more than cancer, stroke and heart disease put together."
Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said fruit and vegetables might also help cut the risk by helping to lower blood pressure, and keep the blood vessels in good order.
Alzheimer's has been linked to poor blood supply to the brain.
Lifestyle link to Alzheimer's strengthens
By Kathy Facklemann, USA TODAY
Drinking fruit and vegetable juice, getting regular exercise, even brushing your teeth could offer protection against Alzheimer's, a much-feared brain disease that affects 4.5 million people in the USA.
Those and other findings were reported Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the first Alzheimer's Association International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia. They suggest that lifestyle is closely linked to the development of this disease, which causes confusion, memory loss and behavioral changes.
If lifestyle changes can prevent or slow the disease, people might get a diagnosis at age 75 instead of at 70, says Ronald Petersen of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Center in Rochester, Minn. In some cases, a delay could mean the disease never fully takes hold, he adds.
The race to prevent Alzheimer's has taken on an urgency as the number of Americans with the disease is expected to soar in the coming decades. If current rates hold, up to 16 million people will develop Alzheimer's by the middle of the century, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Their care could push Medicare spending for the disease from about $91 billion in 2005 to more than $1 trillion by 2050, Petersen says.
"We've got to do something about this disease or it's going to bankrupt the system," he says.
Could something as simple as drinking juice help hold off Alzheimer's? Maybe.
Amy Borenstein of the University of South Florida College of Public Health studied more than 1,800 people and found that those who drank fruit or vegetable juice three times or more a week were four times less likely to develop Alzheimer's late in life than people who rarely or never drank juice.
Borenstein and her colleagues believe the protective power of juice comes from polyphenols, powerful antioxidants found in the skin and peel of fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are concentrated in juice that is made by crushing the whole fruit, she says.
The findings must be verified by additional studies. But Borenstein says her research suggests that drinking at least three 8-ounce glasses of juice each week might be beneficial.
Another prescription for a better brain: Work out. Take a walk. Ride a bike.
"In our study, almost any report of exercise seemed to be good for the brain," says Mark Sager, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School.
Sager and his colleagues studied nearly 500 men and women with an average age of 53. None had any sign of Alzheimer's, but tests revealed that people who reported regular exercise performed slightly better on memory tests.
Sager says the results fit with other research showing that exercise can boost the number of new brain-cell connections that provide a mental edge in midlife and might offer a hedge against Alzheimer's.
Sager's study found another habit that helped boost brainpower: Men and women who reported drinking one to three alcoholic drinks a week also did slightly better on such tests.
Other studies have suggested red wine, which also is rich in protective polyphenols, reduces the risk of developing the disease, he says.
Margaret Gatz of the University of Southern California reported that people with signs of gum disease, a bacterial infection of the mouth, have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's. Her study of 109 pairs of identical twins adds to evidence that chronic inflammation caused by gum disease can lead to a number of health problems, including Alzheimer's. To sidestep this risk factor, brush and floss your teeth, Gatz advises.
Alzheimer's smolders in the brain for decades before erupting into full-fledged symptoms, usually after age 60, says William Thies of the Alzheimer's Association. Sager and others say it's best to develop brain-healthy habits as early as possible. "We're hoping that 55 is not too late," he says.
Five tips to keep your brain in shape
-- Stay mentally active by taking classes, learning new skills or even playing games like bingo or chess.
-- Maintain social ties by doing volunteer work, joining clubs, keeping up with friends and family.
-- Get out and move by taking walks, riding a bike, gardening or doing anything that involves physical activity. Even housework counts.
-- Eat a brain-healthy diet by picking low-fat foods, lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables - including juices - and don't forget fish and nuts that contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
-- Keep your body weight in check - some studies have linked obesity to the development of Alzheimer's.
Source: Elizabeth Edgerly, program director for the Alzheimer's Association Northern California/Northern Nevada chapter
Apple Juice May Boost Memory
Antioxidants in Apples May Help Memory and Fight Alzheimer's Disease

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
on Friday, August 04, 2006
Aug. 4, 2006 -- An apple (or two) a day may help keep Alzheimer's away -- and fight the effects of agingaging on the brain.
A new study shows drinking apple juice may improve memory by preventing the decline of an essential neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by nerve cells to transmit messages to other nerve cells. They are critical for good memory and brain health.
Previous studies have shown that increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain can slow the mental decline found in people with Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's disease.
"The findings of the present study show that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as apples and apple juice can help reduce problems associated with memory loss," says researcher Thomas Shea, PhD, director of the Center for Cellular Neurobiology & Neurodegeneration Research at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in a news release.
Prior research has shown that supplementing animal diets with other antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, spinach, and strawberries, can help slow age-related mental decline better than using dietary supplements containing purified forms of antioxidants.
Apples for Alzheimer's?
In the study, researchers compared normal adult mice, normal "aged" mice, and special mice that were a genetic model for human Alzheimer's.
The mice were given either a normal diet, or a diet lacking in essential nutrients, for one month. Some of the mice on the nutrient-poor diet were also given apple juice concentrate mixed in their water.
The results showed that normal adult mice and the genetically-engineered mice on normal diets had the same acetylcholine levels.
In fact, the normal adults had the same acetylcholine levels regardless of diet.
However, the genetically engineered mice on the nutrient-poor diet had lower acetylcholine levels. But this drop was prevented in those given apple juice.
In the aged mice on a normal diet, acetylcholine levels were lower than in the normal adult mice; and their levels were even lower if placed on the nutrient-poor diet. But, again, this decline was prevented by the addition of apple juice to drink.
The mice were also put through maze memory tests. "It was surprising how the animals on the apple-enhanced diets actually did a superior job on the maze tests than those not on the supplemented diet," says Shea.
The amount of apple juice the mice drank was comparable to drinking about two 8-ounce glasses of apple juice or eating two to three apples a day for humans.
Human studies looking at apple consumption are coming in the future.
The study was funded by an unrestricted grant from the U.S. Apple Association and the Apple Products Research & Education Council.
Juice May Slow Prostate Cancer Growth (with recipe)
Janet Raloff
Prostate cancer will claim the lives of an estimated 30,000 men in the United States this year. The second leading cause of cancer death in men, its incidence climbs with age. In Western countries, the disease is reaching nearly epidemic proportions among the elderly. However, the cancer can grow so slowly that many men with prostate cancer will die of something else first.
A mystery has always been what factors might improve a man's odds of having a slow-growing malignancy. A new study suggests that drinking pomegranate juice might be one of them.
Several studies have associated diets high in plant-derived
polyphenols-principally, the deeply pigmented antioxidants in many fruits and vegetables-with lower risks of malignancies including prostate cancer. Because the blood-red juice of pomegranates is especially rich in such compounds, Allan J. Pantuck of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and his colleagues decided to test it against metastatic prostate cancer. These are malignancies that have spread beyond the gland, which in these men had been removed or destroyed, along with tumors, by radiation.
Over time, the presence of these residual cancer cells was confirmed by rising concentrations of a protein in the men's blood: prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Because PSA is made by prostate cells-usually cancerous ones-and because these men no longer had intact prostates, the presence of the substance indicated that cancerous prostate cells continued to exist in the men's' bodies, Pantuck explains.
The researchers calculated that the men's average doubling time in PSA concentrations-a rough gauge of cancer growth-was 15 months. After men drank a glass of juice a day, their average doubling time more than tripled. In nearly one-third of men, Pantuck notes, PSA values actually fell-in a few cases, dramatically.
Although this is just one study and the juice showed no sign of curing the disease, Pantuck says it shows that pomegranate juice might be a beneficial adjunct to other therapies in men with this potentially lethal disease.
A glass a day
Last fall, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported related laboratory data. They incubated cells from an aggressive form of prostate cancer with pomegranate-fruit extract. The higher the concentration of the extract the greater the inhibition of the cancer cells' growth, notes team leader Hasan Mukhtar.
The team also injected human-prostate-cancer cells into lab mice. The cells grew into tumors, but the rate was reduced in animals fed pomegranate extract, his team reported in the Oct. 11 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team confirmed the juice's effect by measuring PSA concentrations in the animals' blood.
The new study extends these trials into people. Pantuck's group recruited 46 men who, despite having undergone prostate-cancer surgery, were exhibiting rising PSA values, as measured over a 6-month period. Concentrations of the protein at the start of the study ranged from 0.2 to 5 nanograms per liter of blood, indicative of small residues of cancer cells. These men had no medical sign of metastatic disease except for the PSA concentrations and were on no anticancer drugs or other therapies.
All recruits were then assigned to drink an 8-ounce bottle of pomegranate juice daily. PSA and other cancer indicators were measured every 3 months, and men were removed from the trial if they showed signs that their disease was advancing rapidly. By 33 months into the trial, PSA values had changed measurably in enough men to allow the researchers to calculate the concentration's new doubling time. On average, that figure was then about 54 months.
Overall, "more than 80 percent [of recruits] had a prolongation in their PSA doubling time," says Pantuck. "This means [that] for the majority of patients, their cancer's growth slowed."
PSA concentrations decreased in about a third of the study participants, the team reports in the July 1 Clinical Cancer Research. Most such decreases were small, but four men exhibited declines in the cancer indicator of more than 50 percent while taking the juice. One man's PSA concentration dropped a whopping 85 percent, Pantuck says. Once PSA becomes detectable, the urologist explains, it tends to rise inexorably-"you don't expect it to spontaneously decrease."
The researchers also conducted a few biochemical tests. For instance, they grew standard cultures of human-prostate cells in test tubes and fed the cells blood serum taken from the recruits at the beginning and end of the trial. The procedure was intended to reveal whether something changed in the men's blood that might affect cancer growth. Pantuck's group found that the cells' growth rate was 12 percent slower when the lab cultures were fed serum from the men after they had been drinking the juice.
The men's blood also tended to be less vulnerable to oxidation-a chemical reaction that can damage cells-once pomegranate-juice supplementation began.
What's next?
In this trial, no one was treated with a placebo instead of pomegranate juice. Such a study design is the gold standard for medical trials, because it rules out the possibility that just the idea of treatment-or some other factor-might be responsible for any effect that emerges from the study.
That's why Pantuck's group and others at institutions around the nation recently began just such a placebo-controlled, follow-up trial of pomegranate juice. The researchers' goal is to recruit some 350 patients with prostate cancer. Some men will receive pomegranate juice containing 570 milligrams of polyphenols per 8 ounces. Others will get juice with twice that quantity of polyphenols, and some men will receive a pomegranate substitute with no polyphenols.
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