ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Help Your Kids Stay Active
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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."