Weight Loss: 5 High Protein Vegan Foods To Cut Belly Fat

Weight Loss: 5 High Protein Vegan Foods To Cut Belly Fat�

Veganism has found plenty of fans across the world. Some of our most loved celebrities like Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao and Anushka Manchanda too have turned vegans in the recent past. Veganism as a philosophy abstains use of all kinds of animal-based products, be it in their diet, clothing or cosmetics. While a large part of India does not consume a meat-based diet, we are still heavily reliant on dairy products, be it milk, paneer or ghee. In veganism, you refrain even from using dairy. Under such restrictions, vegans may find it hard to fulfill their protein requirement. Whether you want to gain muscles or are looking for sustainable weight loss, you need to include ample protein in your diet. Protein induces satiety. It also increases levels of appetite-reducing hormones and hunger hormone ghrelin, making you crave less, thereby promoting weight loss.



Here are some vegan protein-rich foods that you can stock up on: 


1. Tofu And Similar Soy Products

Tofu is made of soy milk, which is an excellent alternative to regular milk sourced from animals. You can cook tofu the way you cook paneer. Toss it in salads, use it as fillings in sandwiches, or have it as tikkas. This will not only help you feel full for longer but will also help you manage your weight.


Protein-rich foods:Tofu is made of soy milk, which is an excellent alternative to regular milk sourced from animals​.

2. Beans

Be it kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas, all are an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids. You can experiment with them in form of salads, sprouts and curries. Better still; pair beans with whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. This will supplement your intake of proteins and fibre.


Protein-rich foods: Beans are an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.

3. Legumes

The range of dals that we Indians use in our desi preparations is worth a chronicle of its own. Legumes are a rich source of digestible fibre. Fibre takes long to break down, which keeps you full for longer and further prevents cravings. This will further support your weight loss diet and help you lose a few kilos.


4. Chia Seeds

An ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains about 4 grams of high-quality protein. Chia seeds are also a good source of fibre, which makes it an ideal superfood to cut that bulge. You can toss them in your low fat and low-cal smoothies or drinks to accelerate your weight loss programme.

chia seeds are nutritious

Protein-rich foods: Chia seeds are also a good source of fibre, which makes it an ideal superfood to cut that bulge.

5. Green Peas

Green peas, or matar, also make for an excellent plant-based source of protein. They are also high in various vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as thiamine and manganese, which makes it a healthy addition to weight loss diet. You can also try pea milk. It is rich in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids along with iron and vitamin D that are good for our health.


Protein-rich foods: Green peas or matar also make for an excellent plant-based source of protein.

Try including these foods in your diet and see the effect on your waistline. Make sure you supplement your diet with a disciplined fitness regimen too.


Hardik Pandya asked to prove fitness by National Cricket Academy

Hardik Pandya is not part of the Indian squad for the Test series in Australia (Reuters Photo)

Hardik Pandya is not part of the Indian squad for the Test series in Australia (Reuters Photo)

Hardik Pandya is yet to fully recover from a back injury he suffered during the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates in September.

It seems the BCCI selection committee does not want to rush Pandya’s comeback as he been asked to rest and work on improving fitness by the medical staff at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, according to a report in the ESPNCricinfo.

Pandya, who was part of the India A squad for the third and final four-day unofficial Test against New Zealand A and also three one-dayers, will now miss the competitive matches.

But Pandya is likely to be seen back in action in Baroda’s Ranji Trophy match against Mumbai from December 14.

Pandya had suffered a lower-back injury during India’s match against Pakistan at the Asia Cup. Pandya had to be carried off on a stretcher after he landed awkwardly in his delivery stride following the fifth ball of his fourth over.

The injury ruled him out of the tournament that India went on to win for the seventh time.

The 25-year-old was recently seen smoking at Sakshi Dhoni’s birthday bash. However, the all-rounder was a couple of days later seen sweating at nets.

Pandya is a key member of the Indian side and the team management would hope for him to recover in time for the ODIs in Australia in January. India will play a three-match ODI series from January 12-18.

In Hardik’s absence, his elder brother Krunal Pandya is making the most of the opportunities in the national side.

After a good debut against the Windies in the T20Is, Krunal was also picked for the T20 series in Australia. Krunal became the third most expensive Indian bowler in a Twenty20 International when he conceded 55 runs without picking a wicket in the first T20 against Australia in Brisbane last week.

However, the all-rounder produced a better performance in the second game before his match-winning show in the third T20 that helped India level the series against Australia.

Krunal set a new record in the third and final match against Australia on Sunday as he registered the best bowling figures by an Indian in the format on Australian soil.

Krunal picked up a four-wicket haul and gave away just 36 runs from his four overs to help India restrict Australia to 164 for 6. India then rode on Virat Kohli’s unbeaten fifty to chase down the target with 6 wickets in hand.


HEATH NOTES: The fitness tracker that can tell if you’re getting depressed

An electronic body tracker could help doctors diagnose depression and anxiety disorders.

The device is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils. The data is collected and analysed by computers.

It is estimated one Briton in six suffers from anxiety or depressive disorder at some point. Some remain undiagnosed due to patients’ failure to recognise and report symptoms. However, physical symptoms can be used to indicate potential problems early.

The device (pictured) is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils

The device (pictured) is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils


More resources needed to improve ‘grossly inadequate’ health services for skin disorders in Hong Kong, dermatologist warns

Image result for More resources needed to improve ‘grossly inadequate’ health services for skin disorders in Hong Kong, dermatologist warns

To veteran dermatologist Tommy Luk Nai-ming, a 23-year-old Hong Kong woman’s suicide note last month saying her eczema left her feeling she would be better “dead than alive” underscored how distressing skin disorders could be.

“Skin diseases can lead to many psychological problems,” said Luk, who retired in 2015 after spending more than 20 years treating skin conditions in Hong Kong’s government hospitals and clinics.

It was not known if the woman – whose parents were also found dead with stab wounds in their home – received treatment from the public sector.

But to Luk, it was a stark reminder of the need for more resources to develop public dermatology services, which he described as “grossly inadequate”.

To give the poor and elderly a “helping hand”, the 64-year-old provides free consultations and runs the non-profit Hong Kong Dermatology Foundation to raise awareness of skin conditions.

Luk, a former senior medical officer with the Department of Health, proposed restructuring the department’s Social Hygiene Service, under which dermatology services and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases are lumped together.

This is common in some countries but other developed economies, such as Britain, have made dermatology a separate medical service.

Doing the same in Hong Kong would mean the specialty received targeted resources and this would improve treatment options for disorders, Luk said.

“The department has placed a higher priority on sexually transmitted diseases … as they are infectious diseases,” he said, agreeing that curbing the spread of such diseases was critical.

But he stressed that proper treatment of skin diseases, which might be misunderstood by some people as being for cosmetic purposes only, was equally important for patients’ well-being.

Twice a week the foundation’s clinic in Yau Ma Tei, Luk offers free skin consultations to underprivileged patients referred from partnering non-governmental organisations, including those serving the elderly or people with intellectual disabilities.

More than 440 patients have benefited since the free service started in 2016.

Luk said there had not been much progress in treating skin diseases in the public sector; for instance, the options were roughly the same now as about 20 years ago. Yet there are more than 2,000 skin diseases and, globally, there have been advances in how they are understood and treated, he added.

Last year, more than 236,000 patient attendances were recorded at clinics under the Social Hygiene Service unit for skin problems while the number was over 86,000 for sexually transmitted diseases.

Only about 30 doctors work in the unit but they do not treat HIV/Aids patients who are handled by the department’s Special Preventive Programme.

A patient could wait more than three years to see a doctor.

Meanwhile, only two public hospitals – Prince of Wales and Queen Mary – have their own dermatologists working there.

Dr Leung Sze-kee, president of the Hong Kong College of Dermatologists, said ideally the two services should be separated in the long run, but the unit needed more doctors first.

“There would be even less manpower for dermatology if the current two services were separated in the public sector,” Leung said.

Private dermatologist Dr Kingsley Chan Hau-ngai said a public-private partnership scheme could be introduced to provide public patients with better access to skin services.

The department said it planned to increase the number of doctors in the Social Hygiene Service unit this year to improve treatment for those with severe psoriasis and other serious skin diseases. However, it had no plans to split the dermatology and sexually transmitted disease services.

The Food and Health Bureau said it would continue to monitor the service’s manpower and enhance its provision as appropriate. The Hospital Authority said it would work closely with the department to explore the strengthening of specialist training in dermatology and service provision in public hospitals.


Weight loss diet plan, these 9 superfoods will keep your gut healthy

Weight loss diet plan: Research has found links between people with certain types of bacteria in the gut and diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.

Health experts say that the key to your fitness and health depends on your gut. More specifically, it depends on the gut bacteria that helps digest and absorb the food in your diet. Every individual’s gut is home to a mix of gut bacteria, and diet and lifestyle plays a significant role in determining the mix. It also impacts your weight loss efforts. “Gut healthis indicative of overall health. Research has found links between people with certain types of bacteria in the gut and diseases such as obesitytype 2 diabetes and colon cancer. A healthy gut acts as a barrier against toxins. Therefore, it is important to build the right kind of ecosystem within the bowels to process food and stave off illness,” says Dr Vaishali Lokhande, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

The most plentiful and important bacteria in the small intestine is the Lactobacillus species (a gut-friendly microbe). “Lactobacillus ferments indigestible carbohydrates and supports the breakdown of sugar in dairy products, which are a common source of food sensitivities. Intestinal microbiota also help in proper development of the immune system,” says Bhakti Samant, Chief Dietician Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

Junk food items like pizzas and burgers harm the intestinal microbiota leading to gastric discomfort. (Shutterstock)

While some foods can help to boost your gut health, junk food items like pizzas and burgers harm the intestinal microbiota leading to gastric discomfort.

“Fast food is empty of fibre and has high amounts of refined sugar, salt, fats and oils, which are difficult for the gut to break down. They also delay gut movement exposing the bowels to toxins and carcinogens. Too much junk food can irritate the lining of bowels and slow down digestion making you feel bloated. A high-fat diet also triggers an immune response leading to inflammation and tissue damage. Chronic inflammation can make one prone to cancer,” says Dr Lokhande.

Dairy products like curd, yoghurt, buttermilk, lassi and smoothies are gut-friendly. (Shutterstock)

So, what should you eat for good gut health? Here’s what the experts advise:

Dairy products

Foods packed with probiotics are good for the gut. “Food items like curd, yoghurt, buttermilk, lassi and smoothies are gut-friendly. Fortified drinks like yakult or chewable tablets are a good source of Lactobacillus as well,” says Samant. During stomach infections, a diet of curd rice can promote lactobacillus bacteria in the gut.


Flaxseeds are rich in antioxidants and soluble fibres, which promote gut flora. “Ground flaxseeds can be added to any dish to improve fibrous content,” says Dr Lokhande.

Apple cider vinegar is a source of pectin, which is beneficial for removing toxins from the body. (Shutterstock)


Bananas are rich in fibre, potassium and magnesium. “It can fight inflammation and aid digestion,” says Dr Lokhande.

Apple and apple cider vinegar

Apple is a source of pectin, which is beneficial for removing toxins from the body. It also restores the balance of bacteria in the gut and reduces inflammation, says Dr Lokhande.

High-fibre foods

Eating whole grain and high-fibre foods like oats, nuts and seeds boosts the digestion process; nuts are also rich in antioxidants.


Why multiple pregnancies can make your cells age faster


Multiple pregnancy makes women’s cells age more quickly, according to a study that may explains why women with many children tend to show signs of accelerated ageing. The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, were reached by looking at two separate markers of cellular ageing — telomere length and epigenetic age — in hundreds of young women with different reproductive histories in the Philippines.

“Telomere length and epigenetic age are cellular markers that independently predict mortality, and both appeared ‘older’ in women who had more pregnancies in their reproductive histories,” said Calen Ryan, a doctoral student at University of Washington in the US. “Even after accounting for other factors that affect cellular ageing, the number of pregnancies still came out on top,” said Ryan.

Cellular ageing was accelerated by between 0.5 and 2 years for each additional pregnancy, a surprisingly large effect according to the researchers. Another finding they did not expect was the fact that women who were currently pregnant had cells that looked younger — not older — than predicted.

“Paradoxically, even though a woman’s biological age was higher with each child that she had, if a woman was pregnant when the measurements were taken, her epigenetic age, and to a lesser extent her telomeres, looked ‘younger’ than predicted for her chronological age,” said Christopher Kuzawa of Northwestern University in the US.

“It’s an interesting situation in which pregnancy makes someone look temporarily ‘young’, but there appears to be some lasting, cumulative relationship between the number of pregnancies and more accelerated biological age,” said Kuzawa.

Researchers have known from historical records and epidemiological studies that women who have many children tend to have slightly shorter lives and succumb to different diseases than those who do not. “What we didn’t know was whether we could detect these kind of effects using measures of cellular ageing,” Ryan said.

Although there is good evidence that having more children, especially more than four or five, can increase the risk of certain diseases and shorten lifespan, researchers still do not really know why. “Our study points to cellular changes during pregnancy, possibly related to adaptive changes in the mother’s immune system as a possible explanation,” said Kuzawa.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know. For instance, it’s not clear whether these relationships will persist into later life as these women age. We also do not know whether these changes will actually lead to less favourable long-term health outcomes,” he said.

To answer these questions, a follow-up study on the same women 13 years after the first measurements, taken in 2005, is already underway.


Don’t take insomnia lightly, here are 5 health conditions caused by sleep disorders


While all of us have, at some point, had some trouble sleeping, insomnia is not to be taken lightly. In fact, it is linked to several diseases as well, be it Type 2 diabetesweight lossproblems, heart disease, and pregnancy complications. There are several factors that can cause insomnia, be it stress, eating the wrong diet, excess exercise or a mental disorder. And just by having sound sleep, you can reduce your risk of chronic illness, keep your brain and digestion healthy, and boost your immune system as well.

Some of the best ways to get good sleep is to avoid eating or drinking just before bed, making the sleep environment comfortable, decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake, thinking happy thoughts and sticking to a sleep schedule.

Here are 5 effects of insomnia on your health:

Research shows a genetic link between insomnia and psychiatric diseases like depression. (Shutterstock)

A 2018 study shows a genetic link between insomnia and psychiatric disorders and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The researchers also identified specific genes that cause sleep problems and concluded that depression is “partially heritable”. The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this week.

Sleep deprivation can causes βeta-cell dysfunction and increase inflammation and oxidative stress, which leads to worsening glycaemic control in people with diabetes, according to the International Textbook of Diabetes Mellitus.

Insomnia was also linked with a higher risk of developing heart disease over 10 years among 86,329 postmenopausal women, according to the US National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative.

Insomnia can hamper your weight loss plans by affecting digestion, detoxification and hunger mechanism. (Shutterstock)

Insomnia can also make it tougher to lose weight. as one of the health benefits of sleep is detoxification. When you sleep, your organs undergo detoxification. Sleep also improves digestion, and helps you maintain equilibrium in the body, and a healthy body weight. The hormones that are responsible for making you fall asleep are the same ones that control appetite. So, a sleep disorder can lead to greater appetite and eventually weight gain.

Insomnia can also impact women during pregnancy and is a risk factor for high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, depression, premature birth and unplanned caesarean sections.


Infants Should Be Breastfed In The First Hour Of Birth: Benefits

Infants Should Be Breastfed In The First Hour Of Birth: Benefits

According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO), around 78 million babies or three in every five are not breastfed within the first hour of the birth, putting them at a higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding. Most of these babies are born in low- and middle-income countries. According to the report, newborns who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive. Even a delay of a few hours after birth could pose life-threatening consequences.

It should be noted that skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulates the mother’s production of breast milk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine’, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said, “When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything. In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death,” adding, “Yet each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons – all too often – are things we can change. Mothers simply don’t receive enough support to breastfeed within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical personnel at health facilities.”

Breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa (65%) and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific (32%), the report says.

Nearly nine in 10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu are breastfed within the first hour.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life,” adding, “We must urgently scale up support to mothers – be it from family members, health care workers, employers and governments, so they can give their children the start they deserve.”

Capture the Moment, which analyzed data from 76 countries, found that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many newborns are left waiting too long for different reasons, including:

Feeding newborns food or drinks, including formula: Common practices, such as discarding colostrum, an elder feeding the baby honey or health professionals giving the newborn a specific liquid, such as sugar water or infant formula, delay a newborn’s first critical contact with his or her mother.

The rise in elective C-sections: In Egypt, caesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20% to 52%. During the same period, rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40% to 27%. A study across 51 countries notes that early initiation rates are significantly lower among newborns delivered by caesarean section. In Egypt, only 19% of babies born by C-section were breastfed in the first hour after birth, compared to 39% of babies born by natural delivery.

Gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns: The presence of a skilled birth attendant does not seem to affect rates of early breastfeeding, according to the report. Across 58 countries between 2005 and 2017, deliveries at health institutions grew by 18 percentage points, while early initiation rates increased by 6percentage points. In many cases, babies are separated from their mothers immediately after birth and guidance from health workers is limited.

Earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns that began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of dying compared with those who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

Among newborns that started breastfeeding a day or more after birth, the risk was more than twice as high.

The report urges governments, donors and other decision-makers to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes.

The WHO and UNICEF-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, which tracks progress for breastfeeding policies and programmes also released the 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard.

In it, they encourage countries to advance policies and programmes that help all mothers to start breastfeeding in the first hour of their child’s life and to continue as long as they want.


Chronotherapy Could Make Cancer Treatments More Effective, Here’s How

Chronotherapy Could Make Cancer Treatments More Effective, Here

Chi Van Dang generally declines to discuss the science that made him famous. A leading authority on cancer metabolism, he routinely is asked to speak about how tumors reprogram biochemical pathways to help them slurp up nutrients and how disrupting these noxious adaptations could be a powerful approach to treating cancer. Instead of doing so, Dang uses his soapbox at every research meeting, lecture and blue-ribbon panel to advocate for something else: a simple yet radical tweak to how oncologists administer cancer drugs.

The approach, known as chronotherapy, involves timing delivery of drugs to minimize side effects while maximizing effectiveness. The idea is to synchronize therapy with the body’s natural 24-hour rhythms — the circadian clock — and striking when cancer cells are most vulnerable or when healthy cells are least sensitive to toxicity (or, ideally, both).

Dang didn’t set out to become an ambassador for this field. But as scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, a nonprofit that funds cancer labs worldwide, and chair of the board of scientific advisers at the National Cancer Institute, he finds himself in a powerful position to reshape the research agenda — and he believes chronotherapy’s time has come.

It is not an entirely new concept. Some trials in the 1980s and 1990s showed dramatic reductions in toxicities and extended survival times among cancer patients who were treated in a clock-optimized fashion. But mostly “it’s just always been on the fringe,” says Dang. “There weren’t that many card-carrying cancer biologists like me getting into it.”

Until now.

Researchers are finding new ways to administer old drugs and they are devising clever tactics for rewiring aberrant clocks. They are transforming a strategy long dismissed as complementary or alternative medicine into rigorous science. Last year, the NCI — the largest funder of cancer research in the world — put out a call for grant applications from scientists seeking to understand how circadian processes affect tumor development and the responses of patients to therapy.

“It’s capturing people’s interest,” Dang says.

A slender and bespectacled 63-year-old with the confident and unhurried voice of a seasoned physician, Dang cites his father — Chieu Van Dang, Vietnam’s first neurosurgeon and a former dean of the University of Saigon School of Medicine — as a role model. His father’s death from liver cancer in 2004 remains an inspiration to develop better treatments.

Family also was a driving factor behind a career move that prompted Dang’s embrace of circadian biology. He had spent nearly 25 years at Johns Hopkins University, rising to vice dean for research of the medical school; he figured he’d never leave. But in 2011, after his older brother Bob died of cancer, Dang said he thought, “I need to do more.”

So when the University of Pennsylvania approached him that year with an offer to become director of its cancer center, he jumped.

Penn also is home to one of the nation’s largest groups of chronobiology researchers, and Dang found himself chatting and collaborating with clock researchers across the campus. It prompted an epiphany: If cancer is a disease of runaway cell growth and if circadian rhythms keep cell cycles in check, then disrupting the internal clock must be, as Dang puts it, a “missing link” of tumor development and growth.

The circadian clock is a complex biological circuit that controls daily rhythms of sleep, eating, body temperature and more. There is a master clock that sits in the brain, secondary clocks in other organs and clocks in each cell, controlled by a network of genes and proteins that oscillate their activity levels in periodic cycles.

When these clocks are in sync, the body operates properly. But when clock genes are mutated or thrown off by jet lag, these systems can get out of whack, which can create conditions for tumors to grow and spread.

Early hints that disrupted clocks could lead to cancer came in 2001, when two teams of epidemiologists concluded that women who regularly worked night shifts had increased chances of developing breast cancer. Later studies established links between graveyard shifts and cancers of the colon, prostate and endometrium — which prompted the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2007 to designate night-shift work involving circadian disruption as a probable carcinogen.

Researchers now generally believe that nocturnal light, which decreases the body’s natural production of the clock-regulating hormone melatonin, explains such a link. This suggests that melatonin pills or modulating ambient lighting could help mitigate risk among shift workers.

But, says Steven Hill, a circadian cancer researcher at Tulane University, “there are no published studies or active interventional studies” to back that up.

In part, that’s because prevention trials of this kind would be hugely expensive and lengthy — and also because many researchers are instead focused on treatment strategies for people who already have a cancer diagnosis. Earlier this year, for example, a team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, described two novel drugs that target key clock components and kill several types of cancer cells in a laboratory dish while also slowing the growth of brain tumors in mice.

By reawakening circadian clocks in cancer cells, the drugs seemed to block biological functions that tumors rely upon.

Dang’s own research has focused mainly on showing how a notorious cancer gene named MYC suppresses genes at the core of the mammalian clock. This suppression pushes cells into aberrant, perpetual activity that drives tumor progression. Last year, researchers at Texas Children’s Cancer Center reported that a drug that indirectly stimulates one of these clock genes, BMAL1, could help blunt the growth of neuroblastoma, a cancer of nerve tissue, in cell cultures and mice.

Dang also has recently studied a class of anti-tumor drugs that failed in clinical testing 10 to 20 years ago. They all caused such low platelet counts that they never progressed past early trials.

Now, in mouse experiments, Dang’s team has found that timing is key. Drugs given at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. both caused tumor regression, but only the 6 p.m. treatment caused low platelet counts. Perhaps, he says, patients in those early trials were given the drugs at the wrong time.

Another drug that doctors may be administering suboptimally is streptozocin, used to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer. A 2017 mouse study showed that timing streptozocin administration minimized drug toxicity. And although research results in mice often don’t translate to people, the scientists behind this finding hope to test this schedule in patients.

Other data suggest that resetting clocks in tumors could mitigate cancer side effects such as low blood-cell counts and perhaps cachexia, a devastating loss of body weight and strength that often afflicts people in the final stages of cancer.

At the moment, only one chronotherapy clinical trial is running in the United States. It’s happening at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where neuro-oncologist Jian Campian and colleagues over the past two years have treated 30 brain cancer patients with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m.

So far, Campian said, it looks as if the drug’s side effects are far worse when people take it in the morning, though it’s too early to say anything conclusive.

A sticking point for timed treatment is that people differ. We all have “chronotypes” that determine whether we are morning or evening people, and that will probably affect responses to cancer drugs, notes Campian’s collaborator Erik Herzog. Ideally, treatment timings would be finely tuned to patients — “the ultimate personalized medicine,” Herzog says.

But precisely and noninvasively measuring people’s clocks, or the clock of their tumors, is no small task. “We still need to identify better biomarkers to personalize chronotherapy,” says Francis Lévi, a chronotherapy researcher at the University of Warwick in Britain.

For now, most human data comes from anecdotal reports such as those of Joe Kuna, who was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in 2014 and given two to five years to live. Four years on, the 61-year-old has survived a tennis-ball-size tumor in his colon and 15 lesions in his liver. Kuna, who runs a bowling alley in Johnsburg, Illinois, opted to undergo chronotherapy at the nearby Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie.

For almost two years, Kuna would arrive at the center every other Tuesday, usually between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., for his dose of oxaliplatin. Oncologist Keith Block, medical director of the clinic, said oxaliplatin seems to work best in the afternoon.

Kuna would sit in a cubicle and eat his tuna fish sandwich while the intravenous medication dripped into his veins through a port.

Another drug in Kuna’s chemotherapeutic cocktail, fluorouracil, is considered more of a nighttime agent — so Kuna took home a pump that was programmed to kick in at 10 p.m.

“I truly believe it’s why I’m still here,” Kuna said of this treatment and the diet and supplement regimen he followed. Although a scan in January revealed two new cancerous spots in his liver, Kuna is confident that, with surgery and more chronotherapy, he could be cancer-free once more. Doctors removed the new tumors on April 26.

Still, there’s no proof that Kuna’s treatment made a difference. The other patients he befriended at the Block Center are not alive today.

Most chronotherapy strategies are based on a limited understanding of clock biology — which frustrates Dang, who has yet to test any of his ideas surrounding drug timing in patients.

“We really want to provide the mechanistic basis of why you treat at a certain time of day, and not just rely on trial and error,” he said.

But perhaps, just as a small career move reshaped his own research, “it could be,” he said, “that simple adjustments make a big difference for patients.”


Another Reason To Control Your Blood Pressure Levels: Keeps Dementia Away

Another Reason To Control Your Blood Pressure Levels: Keeps Dementia Away

For the first time in history, researchers have found medicine that can reduce the risk of memory loss and dementia in your golden years. Even better, most forms of the treatment are available in safe, inexpensive generic formulations.The twist? These drugs have been around for decades, since they’re widely used to lower blood pressure and ward off heart disease.

As the population ages, the incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia has surged. One in six women over the age of 55 and 10 percent of men are expected to develop dementia before they die. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type, affects more than 5 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. And while the drug industry has spent billions of dollars trying to slow down memory loss once it begins, the efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Until now.

The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or Sprint, was begun in 2010 to see if aggressively lowering blood pressure would reduce a range of health complications, including heart disease and dementia. The heart disease portion was halted five years later because the benefits were overwhelming. Researchers continued to track the cognitive function of 9,361 participants in a separate analysis called Sprint Mind through June.

The results, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago, found that those who initially received intensive blood pressure control were 19 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who had more relaxed hypertension goals. The risk of developing either cognitive impairment or dementia was 15 percent lower, while dementia rates alone weren’t significantly different in the study.

“What is good for your heart is not only good for your heart, but also good for your brain,'” said Jeff Williamson, the lead researcher and chief of gerontology and geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

The researchers weren’t particular about what drug regimen the patients used, as long as they got to their goals. Those in the intensive treatment arm were expected to get below 120 mmHg, the upper number in a blood pressure reading, while those in the standard treatment group aimed for 140 mmHg.

Williamson compared the findings to car tires: “You want to have the right pressure,” he said. “If it’s too high or too low, the tires can wear out quickly. With blood pressure, if it’s too high, the walls of the arteries can endure damage.”

The findings will allow people to take action in their own lives to lower their risk, with specific goals to aim for, said James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association. Many people aren’t at recommended blood pressure levels, he said, and evidence that better control helps the heart and the brain may push them into action.

“People may do all the right things and still develop dementia, but this may give them more time,” he said. “It may give another five or 10 years with a healthy brain.”