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Nutrient found in beef and dairy improves immune response to cancer

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Newswise — Trans-vaccenic acid (TVA), a long-chain fatty acid found in meat and dairy products from grazing animals such as cows and sheep, improves the ability of CD8+ T cells to infiltrate tumors and kill cancer cells, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Chicago.

The research, published this week in Nature, also shows that patients with higher levels of TVA circulating in the blood responded better to immunotherapy, suggesting that it could have potential as a nutritional supplement to complement clinical treatments for cancer.

“There are many studies trying to decipher the link between diet and human health, and it’s very difficult to understand the underlying mechanisms because of the wide variety of foods people eat. But if we focus on just the nutrients and metabolites derived from food, we begin to see how they influence physiology and pathology,” said Jing Chen, PhD, the Janet Davison Rowley Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine at UChicago and one of the senior authors of the new study. “By focusing on nutrients that can activate T cell responses, we found one that actually enhances anti-tumor immunity by activating an important immune pathway.”

Finding nutrients that activate immune cells

Chen’s lab focuses on understanding how metabolites, nutrients and other molecules circulating in the blood influence the development of cancer and response to cancer treatments. For the new study, two postdoctoral fellows, Hao Fan, PhD and Siyuan Xia, PhD, both co-first authors, started with a database of around 700 known metabolites that come from food and assembled a “blood nutrient” compound library consisting of 235 bioactive molecules derived from nutrients. They screened the compounds in this new library for their ability to influence anti-tumor immunity by activating CD8+ T cells, a group of immune cells critical for killing cancerous or virally infected cells.

After the scientists evaluated the top six candidates in both human and mouse cells, they saw that TVA performed the best. TVA is the most abundant trans fatty acid present in human milk, but the body cannot produce it on its own. Only about 20% of TVA is broken down into other byproducts, leaving 80% circulating in the blood. “That means there must be something else it does, so we started working on it more,” Chen said.

The researchers then conducted a series of experiments with cells and mouse models of diverse tumor types. Feeding mice a diet enriched with TVA significantly reduced the tumor growth potential of melanoma and colon cancer cells compared to mice fed a control diet. The TVA diet also enhanced the ability of CD8+ T cells to infiltrate tumors.

The team also performed a series of molecular and genetic analyses to understand how TVA was affecting the T cells. These included a new technique for monitoring transcription of single-stranded DNA called kethoxal-assisted single-stranded DNA sequencing, or KAS-seq, developed by Chuan He, PhD, the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry at UChicago and another senior author of the study. These additional assays, done by both the Chen and He labs, showed that TVA inactivates a receptor on the cell surface called GPR43 which is usually activated by short-chain fatty acids often produced by gut microbiota. TVA overpowers these short-chain fatty acids and activates a cellular signaling process known as the CREB pathway, which is involved in a variety of functions including cellular growth, survival, and differentiation. The team also showed that mouse models where the GPR43 receptor was exclusively removed from CD8+ T cells also lacked their improved tumor fighting ability.

Finally, the team also worked with Justin Kline, MD, Professor of Medicine at UChicago, to analyze blood samples taken from patients undergoing CAR-T cell immunotherapy treatment for lymphoma. They saw that patients with higher levels of TVA tended to respond to treatment better than those with lower levels. They also tested cell lines from leukemia by working with Wendy Stock, MD, the Anjuli Seth Nayak Professor of Medicine, and saw that TVA enhanced the ability of an immunotherapy drug to kill leukemia cells.

Focus on the nutrients, not the food

The study suggests that TVA could be used as a dietary supplement to help various T cell-based cancer treatments, although Chen points out that it is important to determine the optimized amount of the nutrient itself, not the food source. There is a growing body of evidence about the detrimental health effects of consuming too much red meat and dairy, so this study shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to eat more cheeseburgers and pizza; rather, it indicates that nutrient supplements such as TVA could be used to promote T cell activity. Chen thinks there may be other nutrients that can do the same.

“There is early data showing that other fatty acids from plants signal through a similar receptor, so we believe there is a high possibility that nutrients from plants can do the same thing by activating the CREB pathway as well,” he said.

The new research also highlights the promise of this “metabolomic” approach to understanding how the building blocks of diet affect our health. Chen said his team hopes to build a comprehensive library of nutrients circulating in the blood to understand their impact on immunity and other biological processes like aging.

“After millions of years of evolution, there are only a couple hundred metabolites derived from food that end up circulating in the blood, so that means they could have some importance in our biology,” Chen said. “To see that a single nutrient like TVA has a very targeted mechanism on a targeted immune cell type, with a very profound physiological response at the whole organism level—I find that really amazing and intriguing.”

The study, “Trans-vaccenic acid reprograms CD8+ T cells and anti-tumor immunity,” was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants CA140515, CA174786, CA276568, 1375 HG006827, K99ES034084), a UChicago Biological Sciences Division Pilot Project Award, the Ludwig Center at UChicago, the Sigal Fellowship in Immuno-oncology, the Margaret E. Early Medical Research Trust, the AASLD Foundation a Harborview Foundation Gift Fund, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Journal Link: Nature

Source: University of Chicago Medical Center

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Exploring the Healthiest Communities in the United States: California Counties Shine Bright

Discover how California’s Marin County leads the healthiest U.S. communities, boasting high life expectancy and low obesity rates in a recent study.

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A recent study by MarketWatch has unveiled a list of the healthiest communities in the United States, with California counties claiming top spots. Marin County, nestled across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, emerged as the healthiest county, boasting a remarkable life expectancy of 85, a lower-than-average adult obesity rate, and a mere 5 percent of residents without health insurance.

The study evaluated 576 U.S. counties using 14 key metrics, including food insecurity, healthcare access, life expectancy, health insurance coverage, and environmental factors like water and air quality. Western states dominated the top 10 list, with Colorado, Hawaii, and Montana also showcasing exemplary county health profiles.

The findings emphasized a correlation between community health and wealth, with affluent areas exhibiting lower rates of food insecurity and higher levels of health insurance coverage. The presence of nature parks in many of the healthiest counties underscored the positive impact of green spaces on well-being, aligning with scientific research on the subject.

However, the study also shed light on disparities, highlighting that residents in the unhealthiest counties face challenges such as limited access to grocery stores, higher rates of food insecurity, and inadequate primary care services. Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, was identified as the least healthy county due to high uninsured rates and poor environmental quality.

In California, 37 out of 58 counties were ranked, with Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties clinching top positions. The data revealed a stark contrast in median incomes between the healthiest and unhealthiest counties, with Marin County boasting a median income well above the national average.

This comprehensive analysis serves as a valuable resource for policymakers and healthcare professionals striving to address disparities and promote well-being across communities. It underscores the importance of factors such as access to healthcare, environmental quality, and socioeconomic status in shaping overall community health outcomes.

https://patch.com/california/sanrafael/ca-has-3-10-healthiest-counties-u-s-new-study-says

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Empoderar a los afroamericanos con el aprendizaje de habilidades que salvan vidas

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(Family Features) En el espíritu del Mes de la Historia Afroamericana, usted puede empoderarse, educar a otros y mejorar la salud cardíaca de su comunidad convirtiéndose en un defensor de la RCP (reanimación cardiopulmonar) y del DEA (desfibrilador externo automático). Compartir la importancia de estas habilidades que salvan vidas puede ayudar a crear un futuro más saludable para las generaciones futuras.

Según la American Heart Association, los afroamericanos tienen la mayor incidencia de paro cardíaco fuera del hospital y tienen muchas menos probabilidades de sobrevivir. El paro cardíaco en las colonias negros se asocia con bajas tasas de tratamiento y supervivencia; los estudios han demostrado tasas más bajas tanto de RCP como de uso de DEA por parte de transeúntes en estas colonias.

En Estados Unidos, las desigualdades en salud son diferencias sistemáticas en el estado sanitario de diferentes grupos demográficos y, a menudo, son el resultado de barreras como el racismo, la pobreza, la discriminación, la falta de vivienda asequible, educación de calidad y acceso a la atención médica.

El Mes de la Historia Afroamericana sirve como telón de fondo relevante para la campaña Nation of Lifesavers de la American Heart Association, cuyo objetivo es alinear los principios de empoderamiento, participación comunitaria y equidad en salud. Al celebrar la abundante herencia y la resiliencia de la comunidad afroamericana, también se puede reconocer la importancia de fomentar la educación sobre la salud cardíaca y construir un legado de salud.

Puede defender la importancia de la capacitación en RCP y DEA compartiendo esta importante información en su comunidad.

RCP
Debido a que alrededor del 70% de los paros cardíacos fuera del entorno hospitalario ocurren en el hogar, aprender RCP puede salvar la vida de alguien que conoce y ama. De hecho, si bien el 90% de las personas que sufren un paro cardíaco fuera de un entorno hospitalario no sobreviven, se pueden duplicar o triplicar las posibilidades de supervivencia de una víctima realizando RCP de inmediato. Consta de dos sencillos pasos:

  1. Llamar al 9-1-1 (o enviar a alguien para que lo haga).
  2. Presionar fuerte y rápido en el centro del pecho.

DEA
Un DEA es un dispositivo portátil y liviano que administra una descarga eléctrica a través del pecho hasta el corazón cuando detecta un ritmo anormal y luego cambia el ritmo a la normalidad. Más del 15% de los paros cardíacos fuera de un entorno hospitalario ocurren en lugares públicos, lo que significa que los DEA de acceso público y la capacitación comunitaria desempeñan un papel importante en la desfibrilación temprana. La RCP combinada con el uso de un DEA ofrece las mejores posibilidades de salvar una vida.

Las ambulancias, los vehículos policiales, muchos camiones de bomberos y otros vehículos de primera respuesta contienen DEA. Además, se pueden encontrar en áreas públicas, como recintos deportivos, centros comerciales, aeropuertos y aviones, empresas, centros de convenciones, hoteles, escuelas, piscinas y consultorios médicos. Por lo general, puede buscar cerca de ascensores, cafeterías, áreas de recepción y en las paredes de los pasillos principales donde se reúne un gran número de personas.

Siga estos pasos para utilizar un DEA:

  1. Encienda el DEA y siga las indicaciones de voz.
  2. Retire toda la ropa que cubra el pecho. Si es necesario, seque el pecho.
  3. Retire el protector de las almohadillas y colóquelas en el pecho desnudo de la persona siguiendo la ilustración de las almohadillas.
  4. Enchufe el conector de las almohadillas al DEA, si es necesario.
  5. El DEA verificará si la persona necesita una descarga y le indicará cuándo administrarla. Mientras el DEA analiza, asegúrese de que nadie toque a la persona.
  6. Reanude la RCP si no es necesaria ninguna descarga. Si es necesaria una descarga, asegúrese de que nadie toque a la persona y presione el botón de “descarga” y luego reanude inmediatamente la RCP.
  7. Continúe la RCP hasta que llegue el personal de emergencia.

Obtenga más información y descubra cómo empoderarse a sí mismo y a su comunidad en heart.org/blackhistorymonth.

Foto cortesía de Shutterstock


SOURCE:
American Heart Association

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4 Tips to Get High Cholesterol Under Control

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(Family Features) Heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but many people aren’t aware they may be at elevated risk. More than 71 million adults in the United States have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and nearly 50 million don’t have it under control, which puts them at higher risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.

What’s more, nearly one-third (31%) of U.S. adults are not aware that having high cholesterol puts them at greater risk for heart attack and stroke, according to the findings of a recent study conducted by The Harris Poll commissioned by Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. The poll also revealed some inconsistent understanding about treatment options available for those with uncontrolled cholesterol. Fully 3 in 10 (30%) of those taking statins believe statins are the only LDL lowering treatment available for those with high LDL cholesterol.

“In auto racing, the red flag means danger on the track, stopping the race immediately,” said Dr. JoAnne Foody, chief medical officer at Esperion. “We are launching a patient education program, ‘Wave the Red Flag,’ to encourage people with uncontrolled high cholesterol to have their levels checked right away and discuss appropriate treatment options with their health care provider.”

If your high cholesterol is uncontrolled, understanding how you can achieve greater control can reduce your risk for serious health conditions, including potentially life-threatening cardiovascular events.

Consider these tips to get high cholesterol under control.

Talk with your doctor. Speaking with your physician is an important first step to managing any health condition. Your doctor can help you understand the severity of your condition and whether a treatment plan should be moderate or aggressive.

Check your progress. Keeping tabs on your cholesterol can help you and your health care team gauge whether your treatment plan is working. If you don’t have heart disease, you may not need to check as frequently, but your doctor can recommend the appropriate intervals to help manage your cholesterol most effectively.

Take medications as prescribed. Statins are the medications most often recommended by treatment guidelines for the management of blood cholesterol, and nearly one-third (30%) of those taking statins believe they are the only cholesterol-lowering treatment available, according to the survey. However, even with maximal statin therapy, some patients with chronic disease do not meet recommended LDL cholesterol levels. Taking your medications regularly and as instructed helps your doctor determine whether additional therapies – including non-statin treatments – could be useful to help manage your blood cholesterol.

Make lifestyle adjustments. Your diet plays a major role in lowering LDL cholesterol. Limiting fatty foods, especially those that are high in saturated and trans fats, is key. Monitoring your overall diet and exercising can also help reduce your risk of high cholesterol. Even if you don’t have high cholesterol, adopting more cholesterol-friendly habits can help prevent your levels from rising to unhealthy levels in the future.

To find additional information about managing your high cholesterol, talk to your health care provider and visit WaveTheRedFlag.info.

Fast Facts About Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?
The liver creates a fat-like waxy substance called cholesterol. It serves useful purposes for the body, including producing hormones and helping digest food.

How do you get high cholesterol?
The human body makes all the cholesterol it needs naturally, so any cholesterol you eat is cholesterol you don’t need. However, it can be difficult to avoid because you can find dietary cholesterol in many common foods, including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy. Other non-dietary contributing factors include health conditions like obesity and diabetes, as well as family history and advancing age.

What is a normal cholesterol level?
An average optimal level of LDL cholesterol is about 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
An average optimal level of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol is at least 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women. HDL cholesterol can actually lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Are there symptoms of high cholesterol?
Unlike many health conditions, there are rarely any symptoms that your cholesterol is high. That’s what makes regular screening so important.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


SOURCE:
Esperion

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