Coronavirus Outbreak: Timeline and Updates on What’s Happening

It started in the most populous city in central China, Wuhan, where 300 people were first reported to be infected with a new coronavirus. Now, it has spread throughout China and several other countries in Asia and has even dipped into Europe, North America, and Australia. What will happen next?

Scroll down if you want to get straight to the current coronavirus timeline (updated daily).

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses. Common types of these viruses mimic the common cold while also causing various respiratory issues. Other forms of coronavirus can be much more severe, and may even lead to death. Here are some of the possible symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • In more extreme cases, leading to pneumonia or bronchitis

Interestingly, most people have been infected at least once in their lives, as reported by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The viruses cause illness in both people and animals, but typically only spread either from person-to-person or animal-to-animal – rarely would an animal coronavirus evolve or mutate to the extent of infecting people. But China may be experiencing one of those rare cases, as Chinese authorities report most patients in the Wuhan City outbreak have been linked to a large seafood and animal market.

Now, here is a rough timeline of everything that has happened concerning the coronavirus. We’ll continue to report on new outbreaks or quarantines, while keeping this piece updates as well.

A Rough Timeline of Current Coronavirus News

  • On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) is alerted by Chinese authorities that pneumonia-like sickness cases are circulating in the city of Wuhan – the largest city in Hubei, a province in Central China. People are quarantined and investigations ensue.
  • The CDC pinpoint a large seafood and animal market where the cases may have originated, leading the market to be closed on January 1st, 2020.
  • Comes January 9th, when the WHO reveals that the coronavirus currently circulating is not a known type, which is causing elevated concern. By this time, 59 people have been reportedly affected by the virus, with 7 of them being in serious condition.
  • The first person dies in China on January 11th, while the number of people sickened gets reduced overall.
  • On January 13th, the virus travels outside of China’s borders, hitting Thailand.
  • Two days later, on January 15th, China’s health commission says that the virus hasn’t definitively been transmitted from human-to-human, though it can’t be ruled out.
  • A case of the virus hits Japan on January 16th.
  • A second person dies in Wuhan on January 17th. The CDC announces tighter protocols for screening individuals at 3 airports: San Francisco, New York’s JFK, and Los Angeles.
  • By January 21st, 6 people have died and the sick-count rises to 200+ in China as it spreads throughout the country. By this time, it has made an appearance in China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
  • Also by January 21st, the first case of coronavirus was discovered in the United States in the state of Washington. The man landed in the states from Wuhan on January 15th. Following the news, the Washington State Department of Health made a decision to monitor 43 people who had close contact with the man. This is in Snohomish County.
  • Around this time, it was reported that the Chinese government quarantined the city of Wuhan and voiced plans to shut down the airport and public transportation. Approximately 17 people have died and another 500+ sickened.
  • The virus is known as 2019-nCoV.
  • Citing how the Chinese government covered up information regarding the SARS outbreak from 2002-2004 (the government hid initial SARS cases for 4 months), Chinese citizens fear the government is currently hiding some information about the coronavirus. According to the New York Times, the first case of the virus was actually reported on December 8th – not December 31st. Wuhan officials “insisted that it was controlled and treatable.” China censors are said to be scrubbing the internet. What’s more, police said that 8 people who posted on social media about the virus were ‘spreading rumors.’ More on that in the link – you should check it out.
  • Health authorities in Texas start to investigate a suspected coronavirus case on January 23rd, according to the local health department.
  • Numerous reports come out on January 24th regarding updates on the virus and how China and other countries are reacting. On or around January 24th, 14 people were tested for the virus in the United Kingdom. By now a reported 26 people in China have died from the virus, though the WHO says that most of those who have died from coronavirus “had underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.”
  • Japan buckles down in preparation for people to travel into the country in celebration of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rat. Airports have more intense screenings, airlines are urged to distribute health declarations, and businesses warn employees of the oncoming visits. Also by this time, the health ministry in Tokyo revealed the 2nd case of the virus in the country.
  • Reports come in about a 2nd coronavirus case in Chicago. The CDC also start investigating another 61 potential cases from 22 states.
  • Also on the 24th, China goes into lock-down by shutting tourist attractions and public transportation systems. Part of the Great Wall of China as well as Disneyland in Shanghai close. Fourteen cities housing a total of 40 million people also go into some form of lock-down. Further, China announces that it will be building a 1,000-bed hospital (in just 10 days) dedicated to those struck with the virus.
  • Australian authorities announce the first case to reach Australia’s second smallest state, Victoria.
  • An infection-count estimate becomes voiced by health experts, suggesting that as many as 9,700 people could be infected, which is ‘far more than the 600-count stated by other officials.’
  • A Chinese doctor named Wang Guangfa fears that the virus spread to him through the eyes. Experts confirm that this is indeed possible if you touch your eyes with contaminated hands.
  • By January 25th, 2 more cases have been confirmed in France. As well, the virus has taken 41 lives and infected more than 900 people worldwide, China restricts travel for 35 million people, and other areas go on lock-down as concerns and mistrust grow among the public.
  • A doctor is reported dead from the virus. As of 1200 GMT on the 25th, the death toll in China reaches 42, with another estimated 1,372 being infected. The Chinese president Xi Jinping warns of ‘grave situation,’ while the U.S. evacuates its citizens from Wuhan.
  • Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam declares a virus emergency, extending school cancellations until February 17 and canceling all official visits to mainland China.
  • Canada reports that a “presumptive” case of the virus has been discovered in Ontario, which would mark the first instance of the virus in Canada. Not long after, a case of coronavirus is indeed confirmed in the country.
  • Now, it’s said that the virus killed 56 people and sickened at least 1,975, most of which have taken place in China.
  • China’s National Health Commission (NHC) announces that the virus is contagious even in its incubation period – referring to the time which passes between first exposure and when symptoms first appear. What’s more, the coronavirus is growing stronger with its ability to spread, leading scientist to keep a close eye on possible mutations.
  • On the 26th, Reuters reports on a group of masked protesters in Hong Kong who set fire to a newly-built building which was to be used for quarantine.

EWG Report: Your Tap Water is Contaminated with Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

Here’s something you may not know: tens of millions of people in the United States have been drinking toxic tap water contaminated with unregulated fluoridated chemicals – chemicals which have been linked to cancer, liver and kidney toxicity, hormone disruption, and more.

In early 2018, the Environmental Working Group released a report revealing that up to 16 million Americans could be exposed to water contaminated with perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a class of toxic chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The report showed that there is known PFAS pollution from ’94 sites in 22 states, including industrial plants and dumps, military air bases, civilian airports and fire training sites’ – including the tap water pollution for 16 million people across 33 states and Puerto Rico.

 

Interestingly, that report was just the start of it. Soon, that 16 million figured got bumped up to 110 million! That’s right, 110 million people could be exposed via more than 1,500 drinking water systems throughout the United States.

Now, a new extensive report from the EWG goes into depth on the true nature of this widespread water contamination.

Current data suggests that PFAS are present in tap water in 44 locations spanning 31 states and Washington D.C. These stats are miles ahead of previous findings, showing that any reporting of PFAS contamination has been drastically underestimated, both by the Environmental Working Group’s previous reports and even reports generated by official government bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Actually, the EWG’s research surpasses that of the EPA, finding more widespread contamination that even exceeds ‘safe’ levels set by the EPA. In 2016, the EPA released a non-enforceable ‘lifetime health advisory’ in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion (PPT), indicating that levels below 70 PPT were safe. However, by both EWG and other independent study standards, ‘safe’ levels for PFAS in drinking water should be more like 1 PPT – markedly lower than 70 PPT.

This soft, non-enforced rule has caused some states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, and New Jersey to set their own standards. This is what states have to do when the EPA, knowing about this contamination issue since 2001, takes little action on addressing it.

Why You Should Avoid These Chemicals Whenever Possible

Unlike other chemicals PFAS never actually break down once released into the environment, leading them to be dubbed ‘forever chemicals.’ As mentioned earlier, exposure to these chemicals may cause a host of health issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Cancer
  • Immune system suppression
  • Thyroid issues and other hormone disruptions
  • Infant developmental issues
  • Liver damage

What Products Contain PFAS?

Many products are made with these compounds. They are most known for being used in the product of non-stick cookware (yikes), but are also used to make stain-resistant sofas and carpets, waterproof clothing and mattresses, and could even be in food packaging. What’s more, due to their ability to help reduce friction, other industries including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics use these chemicals.

Here is a quick list of where you might find PFAS:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers
  • Stain resistant carpets and furniture
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Waterproof mattresses
  • Outdoor gear with a “durable water repellent” coating

How to Reduce Exposure to PFAS

While others may say differently and it’s great to avoid toxins whenever possible, I wouldn’t go as far to live in a bubble or overly stress about this. If you did, you might literally go insane. With that said, here are some steps to take if you want to reduce exposure to PFAS:

  • Most clear and simple in my book – don’t use non-stick cookware. If you choose to continue using non-stick cookware, be careful not to let it heat to above 450ºF
  • Stay away from fast food packaging (a good all-around tip) and microwaved popcorn
  • Avoid stain-resistance carpets or furniture – and don’t use anything yourself that would make it stain resistant!
  • Avoid other stain-resistant products such as treated shoes, luggage, and camping and sporting equipment
  • Avoid personal-care products made with Teflon™ or containing ingredients that include the words “fluoro” or “perfluoro.” You might find this in floss or cosmetics

EWG Report: Your Tap Water is Contaminated with Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

Here’s something you may not know: tens of millions of people in the United States have been drinking toxic tap water contaminated with unregulated fluoridated chemicals – chemicals which have been linked to cancer, liver and kidney toxicity, hormone disruption, and more.

In early 2018, the Environmental Working Group released a report revealing that up to 16 million Americans could be exposed to water contaminated with perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a class of toxic chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The report showed that there is known PFAS pollution from ’94 sites in 22 states, including industrial plants and dumps, military air bases, civilian airports and fire training sites’ – including the tap water pollution for 16 million people across 33 states and Puerto Rico.

 

Interestingly, that report was just the start of it. Soon, that 16 million figured got bumped up to 110 million! That’s right, 110 million people could be exposed via more than 1,500 drinking water systems throughout the United States.

Now, a new extensive report from the EWG goes into depth on the true nature of this widespread water contamination.

Current data suggests that PFAS are present in tap water in 44 locations spanning 31 states and Washington D.C. These stats are miles ahead of previous findings, showing that any reporting of PFAS contamination has been drastically underestimated, both by the Environmental Working Group’s previous reports and even reports generated by official government bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Actually, the EWG’s research surpasses that of the EPA, finding more widespread contamination that even exceeds ‘safe’ levels set by the EPA. In 2016, the EPA released a non-enforceable ‘lifetime health advisory’ in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion (PPT), indicating that levels below 70 PPT were safe. However, by both EWG and other independent study standards, ‘safe’ levels for PFAS in drinking water should be more like 1 PPT – markedly lower than 70 PPT.

This soft, non-enforced rule has caused some states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, and New Jersey to set their own standards. This is what states have to do when the EPA, knowing about this contamination issue since 2001, takes little action on addressing it.

Why You Should Avoid These Chemicals Whenever Possible

Unlike other chemicals PFAS never actually break down once released into the environment, leading them to be dubbed ‘forever chemicals.’ As mentioned earlier, exposure to these chemicals may cause a host of health issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Cancer
  • Immune system suppression
  • Thyroid issues and other hormone disruptions
  • Infant developmental issues
  • Liver damage

What Products Contain PFAS?

Many products are made with these compounds. They are most known for being used in the product of non-stick cookware (yikes), but are also used to make stain-resistant sofas and carpets, waterproof clothing and mattresses, and could even be in food packaging. What’s more, due to their ability to help reduce friction, other industries including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics use these chemicals.

Here is a quick list of where you might find PFAS:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers
  • Stain resistant carpets and furniture
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Waterproof mattresses
  • Outdoor gear with a “durable water repellent” coating

How to Reduce Exposure to PFAS

While others may say differently and it’s great to avoid toxins whenever possible, I wouldn’t go as far to live in a bubble or overly stress about this. If you did, you might literally go insane. With that said, here are some steps to take if you want to reduce exposure to PFAS:

  • Most clear and simple in my book – don’t use non-stick cookware. If you choose to continue using non-stick cookware, be careful not to let it heat to above 450ºF
  • Stay away from fast food packaging (a good all-around tip) and microwaved popcorn
  • Avoid stain-resistance carpets or furniture – and don’t use anything yourself that would make it stain resistant!
  • Avoid other stain-resistant products such as treated shoes, luggage, and camping and sporting equipment
  • Avoid personal-care products made with Teflon™ or containing ingredients that include the words “fluoro” or “perfluoro.” You might find this in floss or cosmetics

Is “Non-Toxic” Nail Polish Really Non-Toxic? Maybe Not, Study Shows

Nail polishes have been linked to birth defects, thyroid problems, obesity, cancer, and allergic reactions. That’s why many people specifically shop for polishes labeled “non-toxic.” But as past research shows, even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. [1]

Study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University, said: [2]

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where 1 toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in.”

It’s not just the nail polish industry that does this; it’s also commonplace in the pesticide and plastics industry.

Supposedly non-toxic nail polishes appeared on the market in the early 2000’s, when many companies began labeling products “3-free.” The phrase signifies that the product is free of:

  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to enhance a polish’s texture and function. It has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Toluene, a known nervous system disruptor.
  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

Some nail polish companies took things several steps further by removing even more chemicals, labeling their products “5-free,” “10-free,” and even “13-free.” This, however, does little to educate buyers about which chemicals have been removed and which chemicals have replaced them. That is what Young and her colleagues set out to find.

40 Nail Polishes Tested

For the study, the team purchased and tested the contents of 40 nail polishes from 12 different brands, labeled 3-free all the way up to 13-free.

The study didn’t name the brands, but 2 of the tested brands made up a combined 15% of the nail polish market.

Young said:

“We found that the meaning of these claims isn’t standardized across brands, and there’s no clear information on whether these nail polishes are actually less toxic. Sometimes, when 1 known harmful chemical was removed, the polish instead contained another similar chemical that may be just as toxic.”

Most of the 5-free polishes lacked the same handful of ingredients; however, Young and her team found far less consistency among polishes labeled 10-free and above. The brands varied in how they adhered to the claims on their labels.

None of the samples were found to contain dibutyl phthalate. But polishes with a range of labels tested positive for at least 1 of 2 other plasticizers linked with health problems. One polish was found to contain one of the chemicals its label claimed to exclude.

(Click for larger version.) Figure 1. Product label definitions for investigated nail polish product lines. Note: The blue color represents the ingredients that are removed from the product line, according to the label. Potential plasticizer ingredients are underlined. Nonplasticizer ingredients are not underlined. No. of nail polish brands refers to the number of brands that had a nail polish product line with that particular product label. *These two ingredients were reported to count as one exclusion. **Fragrances can contain plasticizer chemicals.

Just because a nail polish claims to exclude multiple substances, that doesn’t mean it’s safer than one that makes no such claims.

The findings applied to some of the most popular nail polish brands in the industry. Though the samples weren’t representative of the entire nail polish market, Young said the findings are relevant to anyone who likes to add a colorful hue to their nails.

Amusingly, some of the nail polishes the Harvard researchers analyzed excluded ingredients that pose no health risks at all, such as gluten, wheat, fat, and “animal-derived ingredients.” You only have to worry about those if you plan on drinking your nail polish. [1]

(Click for larger version.) Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of concentrations (?g/g) of TPHP (top) vs DEHP (bottom) for 40 nail polish samples.

It’s not clear how much exposure it takes to affect a person’s health, but nail salon employees, in particular, should be concerned about the potential health risks of their job. [2]

Young said:

“This is especially important for the over 400,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. who could be exposed on a daily basis, for many years, to chemicals that have been linked to health effects on fertility, the reproductive system, fetal development, thyroid function, and possibly even obesity or cancer.”

Young and her fellow authors said that nail polish makers should focus more on excluding entire classes of ingredients – including phthalates and organophosphates – rather than individual compounds. [1]

They wrote:

“Then, certified labels could be useful tools for educating nail polish users, nail salon owners, and nail salon workers about toxic chemicals and how to make best purchasing decisions.”

The study was published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology – so hopefully things have changed since then. Either way, be reminded that product labels and claims aren’t always so truthful or accurate.

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] Time

Is “Non-Toxic” Nail Polish Really Non-Toxic? Maybe Not, Study Shows

Nail polishes have been linked to birth defects, thyroid problems, obesity, cancer, and allergic reactions. That’s why many people specifically shop for polishes labeled “non-toxic.” But as past research shows, even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. [1]

Study co-author Anna Young, a doctoral student at Harvard University, said: [2]

“It’s sort of like playing a game of chemical Whac-A-Mole, where 1 toxic chemical is removed and you end up chasing down the next potentially harmful chemical substituted in.”

It’s not just the nail polish industry that does this; it’s also commonplace in the pesticide and plastics industry.

Supposedly non-toxic nail polishes appeared on the market in the early 2000’s, when many companies began labeling products “3-free.” The phrase signifies that the product is free of:

  • Dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer used to enhance a polish’s texture and function. It has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Toluene, a known nervous system disruptor.
  • Formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

Some nail polish companies took things several steps further by removing even more chemicals, labeling their products “5-free,” “10-free,” and even “13-free.” This, however, does little to educate buyers about which chemicals have been removed and which chemicals have replaced them. That is what Young and her colleagues set out to find.

40 Nail Polishes Tested

For the study, the team purchased and tested the contents of 40 nail polishes from 12 different brands, labeled 3-free all the way up to 13-free.

The study didn’t name the brands, but 2 of the tested brands made up a combined 15% of the nail polish market.

Young said:

“We found that the meaning of these claims isn’t standardized across brands, and there’s no clear information on whether these nail polishes are actually less toxic. Sometimes, when 1 known harmful chemical was removed, the polish instead contained another similar chemical that may be just as toxic.”

Most of the 5-free polishes lacked the same handful of ingredients; however, Young and her team found far less consistency among polishes labeled 10-free and above. The brands varied in how they adhered to the claims on their labels.

None of the samples were found to contain dibutyl phthalate. But polishes with a range of labels tested positive for at least 1 of 2 other plasticizers linked with health problems. One polish was found to contain one of the chemicals its label claimed to exclude.

(Click for larger version.) Figure 1. Product label definitions for investigated nail polish product lines. Note: The blue color represents the ingredients that are removed from the product line, according to the label. Potential plasticizer ingredients are underlined. Nonplasticizer ingredients are not underlined. No. of nail polish brands refers to the number of brands that had a nail polish product line with that particular product label. *These two ingredients were reported to count as one exclusion. **Fragrances can contain plasticizer chemicals.

Just because a nail polish claims to exclude multiple substances, that doesn’t mean it’s safer than one that makes no such claims.

The findings applied to some of the most popular nail polish brands in the industry. Though the samples weren’t representative of the entire nail polish market, Young said the findings are relevant to anyone who likes to add a colorful hue to their nails.

Amusingly, some of the nail polishes the Harvard researchers analyzed excluded ingredients that pose no health risks at all, such as gluten, wheat, fat, and “animal-derived ingredients.” You only have to worry about those if you plan on drinking your nail polish. [1]

(Click for larger version.) Figure 2. Side-by-side comparison of concentrations (?g/g) of TPHP (top) vs DEHP (bottom) for 40 nail polish samples.

It’s not clear how much exposure it takes to affect a person’s health, but nail salon employees, in particular, should be concerned about the potential health risks of their job. [2]

Young said:

“This is especially important for the over 400,000 nail salon workers in the U.S. who could be exposed on a daily basis, for many years, to chemicals that have been linked to health effects on fertility, the reproductive system, fetal development, thyroid function, and possibly even obesity or cancer.”

Young and her fellow authors said that nail polish makers should focus more on excluding entire classes of ingredients – including phthalates and organophosphates – rather than individual compounds. [1]

They wrote:

“Then, certified labels could be useful tools for educating nail polish users, nail salon owners, and nail salon workers about toxic chemicals and how to make best purchasing decisions.”

The study was published in 2018 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology – so hopefully things have changed since then. Either way, be reminded that product labels and claims aren’t always so truthful or accurate.

Sources:

[1] Health

[2] Time

A Broccoli Anti-Aging Enzyme may Hold the Fountain of Youth

If you’re looking to turn back the hands of time, look no further than broccoli. Love it or hate it, this common cruciferous veggie contains a natural compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide, which has been shown to have a potent anti-aging effect on mice that “could be translated to humans.” [1]

A team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis write in Cell Metabolism that nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) made the cells of lab mice act younger than they were when it was added to the rodents’ drinking water. NMN is an enzyme that plays a key role in energy metabolism, and it’s found in broccoli.

NMN boosted the mice’s metabolism. They gained less age-related weight, improved their eyesight, and improved their blood sugar levels. The mice even avoided some of the genetic changes associated with aging.

The study didn’t track how long the furry little critters survived, but at least they lived their lives healthily. One can only assume they outlived mice that weren’t given NMN.

If your knee-jerk reaction to broccoli is to dry-heave, fear not: NMN is also found in other vegetables, including cucumbers, cabbage, and edamame.

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Could Benefit Humans Too

What’s more, the benefits associated with the enzyme likely apply to humans, according to Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and medicine at Washington University and senior author of the paper.

In fact, Imai is so encouraged by the results that he’s launching an early study on people, using NMN supplements in pill form.

He explained:

“If you do the math, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible entirely but probably very difficult to get the whole amount [you need] simply from natural foods.

It’s clear that in humans and in rodents, we lose energy with age. We are losing the enzyme NMN. But if we can bypass that process by adding NMN, we can make energy again. These results provide a very important foundation for the human studies.” [2]

Related: Could Broccoli Protect Against Radiation Sickness?

Other Reasons to Make Friends with Broccoli

If you’re not overly concerned about drinking from (or nibbling on) the fountain of youth, there are plenty of other reasons to chow down on broccoli. For example, broccoli’s ability to lower blood sugar makes it a great food option for people who have diabetes.

Broccoli has also been shown to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote heart health by preventing inflammation and atherosclerosis in the arteries. Additionally, research has found that broccoli has the ability to help to prevent cancer, including leukemia.

It’s worth throwing a handful of broccoli (and therefore nicotinamide mononucleotide) on your salad, or, if that idea turns you off, pulverize some into a hearty soup!

Additional Sources:

[1] New York Daily News

[2] Time

ScienceDaily

A Broccoli Anti-Aging Enzyme may Hold the Fountain of Youth

If you’re looking to turn back the hands of time, look no further than broccoli. Love it or hate it, this common cruciferous veggie contains a natural compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide, which has been shown to have a potent anti-aging effect on mice that “could be translated to humans.” [1]

A team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis write in Cell Metabolism that nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) made the cells of lab mice act younger than they were when it was added to the rodents’ drinking water. NMN is an enzyme that plays a key role in energy metabolism, and it’s found in broccoli.

NMN boosted the mice’s metabolism. They gained less age-related weight, improved their eyesight, and improved their blood sugar levels. The mice even avoided some of the genetic changes associated with aging.

The study didn’t track how long the furry little critters survived, but at least they lived their lives healthily. One can only assume they outlived mice that weren’t given NMN.

If your knee-jerk reaction to broccoli is to dry-heave, fear not: NMN is also found in other vegetables, including cucumbers, cabbage, and edamame.

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Could Benefit Humans Too

What’s more, the benefits associated with the enzyme likely apply to humans, according to Dr. Shin-Ichiro Imai, professor of developmental biology and medicine at Washington University and senior author of the paper.

In fact, Imai is so encouraged by the results that he’s launching an early study on people, using NMN supplements in pill form.

He explained:

“If you do the math, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible entirely but probably very difficult to get the whole amount [you need] simply from natural foods.

It’s clear that in humans and in rodents, we lose energy with age. We are losing the enzyme NMN. But if we can bypass that process by adding NMN, we can make energy again. These results provide a very important foundation for the human studies.” [2]

Related: Could Broccoli Protect Against Radiation Sickness?

Other Reasons to Make Friends with Broccoli

If you’re not overly concerned about drinking from (or nibbling on) the fountain of youth, there are plenty of other reasons to chow down on broccoli. For example, broccoli’s ability to lower blood sugar makes it a great food option for people who have diabetes.

Broccoli has also been shown to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote heart health by preventing inflammation and atherosclerosis in the arteries. Additionally, research has found that broccoli has the ability to help to prevent cancer, including leukemia.

It’s worth throwing a handful of broccoli (and therefore nicotinamide mononucleotide) on your salad, or, if that idea turns you off, pulverize some into a hearty soup!

Additional Sources:

[1] New York Daily News

[2] Time

ScienceDaily

Acetaminophen may Increase Stroke Risk in People with Diabetes

Many people reach for a couple of acetaminophen tablets (acetaminophen is the main active ingredient in Tylenol) for a headache and other minor aches and pains. It’s easy to think that you’re safe taking a drug that is so readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, but for people with diabetes, taking acetaminophen may increase the risk of having a stroke.

According to a recent study, approximately 5% of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes, compared to 4% who didn’t take acetaminophen but had strokes. However, people in the study who had diabetes suffered even more strokes.

Study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said:

“My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter.”

Researchers conducted the study to explore the link between acetaminophen and cardiac events in older people living in nursing homes in France. In the end, no connection was uncovered.

Overall, the researchers found that acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for older adults, but people with diabetes should be more wary of taking the medicines containing the drug.

The study concluded with:

“Despite old age, polypharmacy, and polymorbidity, acetaminophen was found safe for most, but not all, of our NH study population. Pain management in NHs is a health priority, and acetaminophen remains a good therapeutic choice as a first?line analgesic. More studies are needed on older diabetic patients.”

It should also be noted that it is remarkably easy to overdose on acetaminophen, and the drug is associated with kidney damage and acute liver failure.

Read: Over-the-Counter Painkillers can Increase Risk of 2nd Heart Attack, Death

Gerard said:

“It is always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you’re taking the dose that’s right for you.”

The study was published March 26 in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source:

[1] UPI

Acetaminophen may Increase Stroke Risk in People with Diabetes

Many people reach for a couple of acetaminophen tablets (acetaminophen is the main active ingredient in Tylenol) for a headache and other minor aches and pains. It’s easy to think that you’re safe taking a drug that is so readily available in pharmacies and supermarkets, but for people with diabetes, taking acetaminophen may increase the risk of having a stroke.

According to a recent study, approximately 5% of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes, compared to 4% who didn’t take acetaminophen but had strokes. However, people in the study who had diabetes suffered even more strokes.

Study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said:

“My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter.”

Researchers conducted the study to explore the link between acetaminophen and cardiac events in older people living in nursing homes in France. In the end, no connection was uncovered.

Overall, the researchers found that acetaminophen is a safe pain reliever for older adults, but people with diabetes should be more wary of taking the medicines containing the drug.

The study concluded with:

“Despite old age, polypharmacy, and polymorbidity, acetaminophen was found safe for most, but not all, of our NH study population. Pain management in NHs is a health priority, and acetaminophen remains a good therapeutic choice as a first?line analgesic. More studies are needed on older diabetic patients.”

It should also be noted that it is remarkably easy to overdose on acetaminophen, and the drug is associated with kidney damage and acute liver failure.

Read: Over-the-Counter Painkillers can Increase Risk of 2nd Heart Attack, Death

Gerard said:

“It is always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you’re taking the dose that’s right for you.”

The study was published March 26 in the online version of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source:

[1] UPI