Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Fast Facts about Fats

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Fast Facts about Fats

Article excerpt

In 1993, a study of nearly 90,000 women found that a diet containing foods high in trans fats--such as margarine--led to a 50 percent increased risk of heart disease than that in women who rarely ate those fats.

Trans fats have also been linked to a higher coronary risk.

(Source: University of California, Berkeley, April 2002.)

It has long been the conventional view that most organs cannot regenerate tissue, but an international research team found replicating cells in an injured myocardium.

When female hearts were transplanted into males, the myocytes, arterioles, and capillaries contained 7 to 10 percent host male cells.

(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2002;346:5-15.)

There is now more evidence that Alzheimer's disease can be linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Scientists believe that health in midlife might predict the likelihood of the disease later on.

In one study that followed almost 1,500 people from middle to old age, those with higher systolic blood pressure and high cholesterol levels were far more likely to develop Alzheimer's than those with low blood pressure and cholesterol. One researcher believes that reducing the amount of cholesterol in the brain could lead to a decrease in the production of the sticky brain plaques that lead to the disease.

(Source: British Medical Journal, June 2001.)

An increased risk of suicide may be associated with low serum cholesterol, according to a Canadian study.

Almost 12,000 patients aged 15-85 years were chosen for the study. After adjusting for age and sex, the investigators found that those with the lowest serum cholesterol levels were six times as likely to commit suicide. Several other studies have also linked low cholesterol levels with suicide. It is thought that low cholesterol might be associated with low serotonin levels, leading to depression.

(Source: Epidemiology, 2001;12:168-172.)

Researchers at Tufts University have discovered distinct associations between genetics, nutrition, and health. In one study, cholesterol levels were affected by a specific variation of one gene. The investigators looked at the intestinal fatty acid-binding protein gene, the different variations of this gene, and the effects of these variations on blood cholesterol levels. They found that the genetic variation known as FABP2-T54 was associated with higher levels of some types of cholesterol in men and women.

(Source: Atherosclerosis, January 2002. …

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