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Archive - Jul 22, 2019

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Nunavik Inuit in Canada’s Arctic Are Genetically Unique & Share Variants That May Correlate with Brain Aneurysms, Among Distinct Genetic Signatures In Pathways Involving Lipid Metabolism & Cell Adhesion, Possibly Adaptive to High-Fat Diets & Extreme Cold

A new study has found that an Inuit population in Canada's Arctic are genetically distinct from any known group, and certain genetic variants in the population are correlated with brain aneurysm. Geographically isolated populations often develop unique genetic traits that result from their successful adaptation to specific environments. Unfortunately, these adaptations sometimes predispose them to certain health issues if the environment is changed. The genetic background of these populations are often poorly understood because they live far from scientific research centres. Canada's Inuit have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disorders, as well as increased incidence of brain aneurysms, relative to the the general population. To learn about the possible genetic origin of these disorders, researchers at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) of McGill University analyzed the genetic characteristics of 170 Inuit volunteers from Nunavik, a region of northern Quebec. This was done with approval from the Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. Using exome sequencing and genome-wide genotyping, the researchers found several interesting traits among the Nunavik Inuit. They are a distinct genetic population, whose closest relatives are the Paleo-Eskimos, a people that inhabited the Arctic before the Inuit. The Nunavik Inuit have distinct genetic signatures in pathways involving lipid metabolism and cell adhesion. These may be adaptations to adjust to the high-fat diet and extreme cold of the Canadian north. One of these unique genetic variants correlates with a higher risk of brain aneurysm, also known as intracranial aneurysm, a weakening in the wall of a cerebral artery that causes ballooning of the artery.

New Study Explains Molecular Mechanism for Therapeutic Anti-Convulsive Effects of Cilantro

Herbs, including cilantro, have a long history of use as folk medicine anticonvulsants. Until now, many of the underlying mechanisms of how the herbs worked remained unknown. In a new study, researchers have uncovered the molecular action that enables cilantro to effectively delay certain seizures common in epilepsy and other diseases. The study, published online on July 16, 2019 in The FASEB Journal, explains the molecular action of cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) as a highly potent KCNQ channel activator This new understanding may lead to improvements in therapeutics and the development of more efficacious drugs. The article is titled “Cilantro Leaf Harbors A Potent Potassium Channel–Activating Anticonvulsant.” "We discovered that cilantro, which has been used as a traditional anticonvulsant medicine, activates a class of potassium channels in the brain to reduce seizure activity," said Geoff Abbott, PhD, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the UC-Irvine School of Medicine and principal investigator on the study. "Specifically, we found one component of cilantro, called dodecenal, binds to a specific part of the potassium channels to open them, reducing cellular excitability. This specific discovery is important as it may lead to more effective use of cilantro as an anticonvulsant, or to modifications of dodecenal to develop safer and more effective anticonvulsant drugs." Researchers screened cilantro leaf metabolites, revealing that one - the long-chain fatty aldehyde (E)-2-dodecenal - activates multiple potassium channels including the predominant neuronal isoform and the predominant cardiac isoform, which are responsible for regulating electrical activity in the brain and heart.

Diabetes-Associated Heart Failure Risk, High in General, Is Much Higher in Women Than in Men, New Global Study Shows

A global study of 12 million people has found that diabetes increases the risk of heart failure and this increase is greater for women than men. Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health headquartered in Australia determined that this differential was greater in type 1 than type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is associated with a 47% excess risk of heart failure in women compared to men, while type 2 diabetes has a 9% higher excess risk of heart failure for women than men. The findings published on online on July 18, 2019 (see article link below) and in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) highlights the need for further sex-specific research into diabetes and how the condition can potentially contribute to heart complications. The article is titled “Diabetes As a Risk Factor for Heart Failure in Women and Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 47 Cohorts Including 12 Million Individuals.” According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), currently 415 million adults world-wide live with diabetes - with approximately 199 million of them being women. The IDF expects by the year 2040 approximately 313 million women will be suffering from the disease. Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women and claims 2.1 million female lives every year, more so than men. The number one leading cause of death for women is heart disease. "It is already known that diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing heart failure, but what our study shows, for the first time, is that women are at far greater risk - for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes," said lead author and research fellow Dr Toshiaki Ohkuma from The George Institute.