The brain circuit of the couple’s relationship

The brain circuit of the couple’s relationship

In an article published on “Nature“, a group of researchers of the Emory University in Atlanta has discovered brain circuits that preside over the couple’s relationship. It is called “corticostriatal” and connects the prefrontal cortex, an area involved in decision-making process, with the nucleus accumbens, the brainstem of the reward system, exercising a control action on the neuronal activation rhythms within the latter. The study was conducted on prairie voles, small monogamous rodents that establish permanent bonds with partners, a feature that makes them an excellent model of couple’s bond. Elizabeth Amadei, co-author of the research, said: “Prairie voles have been crucial for our group’s discoveries, because it has always been very difficult to study from a neurobiological point of view the couple’s relationship between humans. As humans, we know the feelings we experience when we see the images of our partners, but so far we do not know as deeply as the brain brings us to those feelings and how it brings the vole to the couple’s...

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Almonds and dark chocolate heart friend

Almonds and dark chocolate heart friend

In a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association it was shown that the complete introduction into a normal healthy diet of almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa can help reduce the risk factors for coronary heart disease. The researchers found that taking almost a third of a cup of almonds a day – alone or in combination with almost a quarter cup of dark chocolate and just over 2 tablespoons of cocoa a day – improves the rate of lipids / lipoproteins, compared to the average American diet without almonds and chocolate. This diet led to a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol. It is important that the population is allowed to have about 270 discretional calories a day along with foods such as almonds, dark chocolate and cocoa in such a way as to confer health benefits unlike other discretionary foods such as foods rich in saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols and flavonoids. The study involved 31 adults who took combined or isolated dark chocolate, cocoa and almonds with final evaluation of lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations: patients were overweight or obese and with total cholesterol and high LDL (TC , 210.0 mg / dL) (138.3 mg / dL) but with good general health conditions. In this study, the participants consumed each of the four weight maintenance diets: No “treatment” food (average American diet). Almonds 42.5 g / day (almond based diet). 18 g / day of cocoa powder and 43 g / day of dark chocolate (chocolate diet). Almonds, cocoa powder and dark chocolate (chocolate / almond diet). The diets were similar, except for the presence or absence of these treatment foods, which explained the main differences in the nutritional profile. Each diet period lasted for 4 weeks, followed by a 2-week compliance break. Compared to the average American diet, after the almond diet the values ​​of CT, HDL, and LDL were reduced by 4%, 5% and 7%, respectively. The double chocolate and almond diet has reduced apolipoprotein B by 5% compared to the average American diet. The values ​​of LDL were more influenced by the introduction of the combination of almonds and dark chocolate in the diet. The researchers point out that these results are specific to the population of overweight, overweight and obese overweight adult patients with high levels of CT and LDL. According to the researchers, this very well controlled study showed that the substitution of saturated fats from animal fats (such as butter and cheese) with unsaturated fats from nuts (such as almonds) had a positive effect on the plasma concentrations of...

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The genes for sweets

The genes for sweets

A Danish genetic study edited on Cell Metabolism about heart disease has shown that those who possessed one of the two variants of the FGF21 gene, had 20 percent more likely to prefer and look for sugary substances. In the study, involving 6500 Danish citizens, this gene has provided instructions for the synthesis of a hormone secreted by the liver that controls insulin resistance and sends information directly to the brain. An area of the brain called nucleus accumbens is considered the epicenter of reward, desire and dependency mechanisms. “It is possible that the desire for sugar and other substances may converge in this region” says David Ludwig, professor at Boston Children’s Hospital, specialized in nutrition and obesity, not involved in the new study. It is therefore assumed that FGF21, such as leptin, are both hormones that regulate appetite. “We are still investigating why the liver develops this type of mechanism, but we hypothesize that it might be to limit excessive sugar consumption or preventing deleterious effects or promoting diet diversification” says Matthew Gillum, a researcher at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen and co-author of the study. In addition, Gillum hopes to undertake further genetic studies about the effect of these variants on body weight and type 2 diabetes, among other issues. “We’ve seen mice without FGF21 consume twice as much sucrose as those who own it,” he says. “We want to study subjects who are completely devoid of FGF21 and answer the question: will they be super greedy for alcohol or...

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The genes for sweets

The genes for sweets

A Danish genetic study edited on Cell Metabolism about heart disease has shown that those who possessed one of the two variants of the FGF21 gene, had 20 percent more likely to prefer and look for sugary substances. In the study, involving 6500 Danish citizens, this gene has provided instructions for the synthesis of a hormone secreted by the liver that controls insulin resistance and sends information directly to the brain. An area of ​​the brain called nucleus accumbens is considered the epicenter of reward, desire and dependency mechanisms. “It is possible that the desire for sugar and other substances may converge in this region” says David Ludwig, professor at Boston Children’s Hospital, specialized in nutrition and obesity, not involved in the new study. It is therefore assumed that FGF21, such as leptin, are both hormones that regulate appetite. “We are still investigating why the liver develops this type of mechanism, but we hypothesize that it might be to limit excessive sugar consumption or preventing deleterious effects or promoting diet diversification” says Matthew Gillum, a researcher at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen and co-author of the study. In addition, Gillum hopes to undertake further genetic studies about the effect of these variants on body weight and type 2 diabetes, among other issues. “We’ve seen mice without FGF21 consume twice as much sucrose as those who own it,” he says. “We want to study subjects who are completely devoid of FGF21 and answer the question: will they be super greedy for alcohol or...

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Inflammatory foods and dementia

Inflammatory foods and dementia

American researchers at Columbia University believe they have discovered a key part in understanding the link between diet and dementia. A specific dietary model was attached to the markers of blood inflammation. Moreover, in elderly adults who followed such a dietary pattern, the volume of cerebral gray matter was lower and had worst visuospasic cognitive functions. People who consume less omega 3, less calcium, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin B5 and B2 have more inflammatory biomarkers. The study suggests that dietary factors such as fish, nuts, polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3, folate and Mediterranean diets are associated with lower risks for Alzheimer’s (AD) disease and better brain health in older people. Other evidence shows that many foods and nutrients modulate inflammatory processes. This study showed an association between increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL6) and worse brain cognitions and volumes. In the study of 330 elderly adults in the Washington Heights-Inwood Community Aging project, researchers conducted structural scans with MRI and measured the levels of inflammatory biomarkers, both CRP and IL6. Study participants completed a 61-point food frequency questionnaire that asked for nutrient intake over the last year. From this information, researchers used a statistical model to create the nutrition-related inflammation pattern (INP). “INP is basically a linear combination of 24 nutrients, each with a different weight on INP.” Participants in the study were also subjected to neuropsychological tests that evaluated memory, language, execution speed, and visuospatial function. From these test scores, the researchers calculated a mean composite cognitive score for each participant. Those with less years of education have had a relatively high INP. Researchers have determined that having a smaller gray matter cerebral volume could help explain why those who use more inflammatory substances have worse visuospacial cognitions. These new findings suggest that interventions that reduce inflammatory markers may be helpful. Once this is known, it may be possible to intervene, not only through a healthier diet, but perhaps also with a micronutrient...

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