Wouldn’t You Like to Know!

If you had a family history of developing Alzheimer’s disease, would you take a genetic test that would give you more information about your chances?

Increasingly it seems, people are saying ‘yes’. The controversial genetic test is based on Apolipoprotein E (APOE).  Having certain variants of the APOE gene has been found to significantly increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

However, possession of the APOE variant is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause Alzheimer’s disease. This limitation, along with a general lack of treatment options for Alzheimer’s, has raised concerns that the genetic information could burden rather than benefit patients. Consequently, there are a lot of consensus statements and articles against the use of APOE genotyping for predicting Alzheimer’s risk.

Nevertheless, a recent study has shown that patients want to learn about their APOE test results and are not overtly distressed by them.  The Risk Evaluation and Education for Alzheimer’s disease Study (REVEAL), showed that even if the test does not have clinical utility it has personal utility.  Study participants who discovered they have an elevated risk, not only accepted the news but were more likely to initiative preventative life-style measures and more likely to consider retirement planning and purchase long term care insurance.  Knowing their risk also helped patients to have informed discussions with their partners and families.

SRxA’s Word on Health would like to know:

Green Eggs & Ham? No – Green Tea & Fava Beans!

Mothers around the world can collectively breathe a big, “I told you so.”

Vegetables are good for you…and that’s a fact!

A research review just published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics shows that vegetables, particularly broccoli and cabbage, are filled with compounds that can help prevent or reverse cancers and other aging-related diseases.

Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and she was right,” says co-author Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., D.O., a biology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But now we understand why she was right. Compounds in many of these foods suppress gene aberrations that over time cause fatal diseases.”

Epigenetics is the study of the changes in human gene expressions with time. Changes that can cause both cancer and Alzheimer’s. In recent years, research has identified specific food compounds that inhibit negative epigenetic effects.

Those foods include soybeans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, green tea, fava beans, kale, grapes and turmeric.

The epigenetics diet can be adopted easily because the concentrations of the compounds needed for a positive effect are readily achievable,” says lead author Syed Meeran, Ph.D.

Simply sipping three cups of green tea has been shown to reverse breast cancer in laboratory mice by suppressing the gene that triggers the disease. Similarly, a daily cup of broccoli sprouts, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing many cancers.

Our review article has drawn everything together from global studies, and the common theme is that compounds in the epigenetics diet foods can, at the very least, help us lead healthier lives and help our bodies prevent potentially debilitating diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s,” says Tollefsbol.

Your Word on Health bloggers are now leaving for lunch.  On the menu – berries for our breathing and beans for our brains!