ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
FITNESS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Barefoot Best for Running?
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Add your Article

Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants

Using the latest genetic technology, researchers have begun to discover the exact molecular reasons why foods such as turmeric -- a popular curry spice -- and ordinary orange juice are good for the health of hearts and arteries.

Two French research teams are reporting studies describing the range of genes that are affected by curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and hesperidin, an antioxidant that is a prominent component of orange juice. Their reports were delivered at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Conference 2009, held in Lake Las Vegas.

"We used a microarray approach," said Dragan Milenkovic, a research scientist at the Centre de Clermont-Ferrand/Thiex in Saint Genes Champanelle, who described the turmeric study. "We have slides with samples of all the genes and we compared the expression of each gene to see which of them had their activity modified by exposure to curcumin."

The molecular study was done with mouse genes, and was preceded by a trial in living mice. The researchers used curcumin, which is a polyphenol, a form of antioxidant. Like other antioxidants, curcumin is known to help prevent against arterial buildup of plaque, the fatty deposits that eventually can block blood vessels.

The molecular study was preceded by a trial in which mice given a daily curcumin supplement for 16 weeks were found to have a 26 percent lower level of fat deposits in the aorta, the main artery of the heart.

The researchers then isolated genetic material from the mice and exposed it to curcumin. They found altered expression of 2,252 genes, whose activity included cellular signaling and adhesion, inflammation and fat metabolism.

The orange juice study was done by a different team of researchers at the same institute, in human volunteers. Twenty-four men who were healthy overall but who had cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity took part. In three one-month periods, the men drank one of three drinks a day: 500 milliliters of orange juice (containing 292 milligrams of hesperidin), 500 milliliters of an energy drink, or 500 milliliters of the same drink enriched with 292 milligrams of hesperidin.

The study found a trend toward improved blood pressure and better function of the endothelium, the delicate inner lining of blood vessels, in the men who consumed hesperidin, either in orange juice or as a supplement. Genetic studies found that hesperidin affected activity of 1,820 genes from white blood cells.

Neither experiment is a reason to take a supplement of either curcumin or hesperidin, Milenkovic said. "Some of these at high doses can be bad," he said of supplements in general. "They can be beneficial for the health if used in nutritional doses."

Nutritional supplements are always attractive to a lot of people, said Dr. Thomas L. Force, professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

"They are of significant interest to the lay public, given the fascination with this approach to the prevention of disease," said Force, who is also clinical director of the university's Center for Translational Medicine. "People have an aversion to taking medicines."

But neither of the two studies adds definitive information about the preventive value of the nutrients, Force said. "They are add-ons to studies that have shown the possible value of antioxidants," he said. "Most of the literature is not at a very mechanistic level or picks out one specific protein that is regulated. These studies do provide a more global approach to how these compounds may function to do what they are purported to do."

And the studies are too preliminary to form the basis of dietary recommendations, Force said. "We can't make dietary recommendations until more studies are done," he said. "These may open the way to doing more studies."