Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Newly-published hypothesis on horseradish and radish peroxides being partially behind the sometimes observed association between fish consumption and delayed cognitive decline

Yesterday, my newly-published hypothesis on horseradish and radish peroxides being partially behind the sometimes observed association between fish consumption and delayed cognitive decline went live online.

Here's the link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987717301238  I believe the full article will be free online for the next 49 days.

And here's the title and abstract:

Horseradish and radish peroxidases eaten with fish could help explain observed associations between fish consumption and protection from age-related dementia

Medical HypothesesVolume 107, September 2017, Pages 5–8

A juxtaposition of regional cuisines and recent prospective studies of fish consumption in China and Japan points to fresh horseradish and/or radish (HRR) as possible contributors to delaying age-related dementia. The hypothesis is that the inverse association found sometimes between fish intake and cognitive decline is partially due to exposure of the oral cavity to active peroxidases from HRR served in conjunction with fish. This hypothesis can be tested by specifically looking at whether HRR is consumed with fish and whether such HRR is prepared in a way that preserves activity of HRR peroxidases. It is possible that by putting active HRR peroxidases in their mouths, elderly people supplement their age-diminished salivary antioxidant capacity and break down additional hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the oral cavity before it can migrate into the brain, thus decreasing the incidence of brain cell death induction by chronically-elevated H2O2. Intentional exposure of the oral cavity to active HRR peroxidases could be a prophylactic for delaying dementia. Because vegetable peroxidases are inactivated by gastric juices, it will be difficult to obtain benefit from HRR peroxidases’ antioxidant effect via ingestion in encapsulated dietary supplements.

I first noticed the possible involvement of horseradish back in September 2016, which I discussed in the post "Down the research rabbit hole and finding a root." Afterward I kept coming across more evidence that supported that idea: evidence of the importance of hydrogen peroxide in oxidative stress, the often nonlinear nature of oxidative stress damage, plausible anatomical pathways for hydrogen peroxide in the mouth to affect the brain (especially via the cribriform foramina) in ways connected to age-related neurodegeneration, and differences in cooking methods and diet from country to country. So I decided to put it together into a medical hypothesis and submit it for publication in hopes that researchers would test the hypothesis.

The journal Medical Hypotheses is peer-reviewed, and one of the peer reviewers clearly hated my hypothesis initially. However, I revised it to include new evidence and explanations, and the reviewer grudgingly accepted that the hypothesis was adequately supported by reported evidence and approved it for publication. That's why it took over six months from submission to publication. However, I'm glad for the criticisms in the peer review process, for they made me address and resolve key issues in the hypothesis.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Photos of China in early 1900s - post 2

Here is a second batch of photos from China in the early 1900s.

Shanghai Street

Street Scene
Temple Entrance

Summer Palace

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Learning about Washington DC

The District of Columbia received insufficient attention from our family due to a family trip and a camp for one of our children, but at least we were learning about Washington DC on July 4!

For music, we listened to John Philips Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," Duke Ellington's "Soda Fountain Rag," John Denver's "Country Roads, Take Me Home" (his breakout song was mostly composed by DC-based collaborators, who hadn't actually been to West Virginia beforehand and were describing a Maryland road near Washington DC), Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten's "Freight Train," and Sweet Honey in the Rock's "Run, Mourner, Run."

We also went to a baseball game, ate crab cakes and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, ate pork with Chesapeake Bay seasoning (that was more a political joke than a nod to actual DC cuisine), and watched fireworks. We read books about the Smithsonian museums and watched videos showing DC monuments; our children now want to visit the DC museums, and the girls loved Season 1 of "Wonder Woman" with Lynda Carter, which is mostly set in DC.

Our nation's capital definitely deserves a family trip in a few years when all the children will be old enough to remember it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Photos of China in early 1900s - post 1

My great-grandparents were missionaries in southern China around the turn of the past century, and I was recently able to scan in some of their old photos and postcards. I'm going to post a few on this blog because I think they're interesting. I haven't done a lot with photo editing software, so please bear with the slight rotations.

Bridge in City, somewhere in China around 1910

Street, somewhere in China around 1910

Tibetan Buddhist pagoda, somewhere in China around 1910

Teahouse, somewhere in China around 1910

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Another reason to decrease ethanol consumption: transgenerational fetal alcohol syndrome might be occurring

One of the saddest moments of my young adult life was picking up a heavily pregnant friend from a bar one evening. She knew she wasn't supposed to be drinking, and she was embarrassed to be found imbibing solo and on the sly. My friend had her own mental deficiencies, and her baby ended up being taken away from her by the state child protective services after its birth. But much harm to the baby had already probably been done during the pregnancy. And if the recent findings in mice--fetal alcohol syndrome symptoms were found in the children and grandchildren of mice exposed to ethanol while in the uterus, even though those children and the grandchildren hadn't been exposed to ethanol in the uterus--hold true in humans, my friend harmed her potential grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.

How heartbreaking and unnecessary are the results of alcohol abuse in modern times. Ethanol--the kind of alcohol that gets us drunk without immediately poisoning us--has only two non-recreational benefits that I can see: 1) killing bacteria that can cause illness, and 2) dissolving compounds, both harmful and healthful, out of plant matter. The first benefit is now unneeded because humanity has learned the importance of drinking clean water. The second benefit is still a good one, but after the compounds have been dissolved, the ethanol is no longer necessary and can be removed. Studies on the health benefits of wine usually conclude that it's the polyphenols and other antioxidant molecules, not the ethanol, that are helpful. One study has even found that de-alcoholized red wine was of more benefit than regular red wine. (http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/09/06/CIRCRESAHA.112.275636)

I know it's not especially popular to say "greatly diminish alcohol consumption." I live in Colorado, and many people here are in denial about what they are doing to their bodies and brains with legal marijuana because they like the recreational aspect of it. But I'll say it anyway: ethanol is unnecessary, unhelpful, and best avoided.