Stem cells used for crucial brain chemical

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New York: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have used stem cells to create a specialised nerve cell that makes serotonin, a signalling chemical with a broad role in the brain.

Serotonin affects emotions, sleep, anxiety, depression, appetite, pulse and breathing. It also plays a role in serious psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

“Serotonin essentially modulates every aspect of brain function, including movement,” said one of the researchers Su-Chun Zhang said.

A small number of neurons localised on one structure at the back of the brain are responsible for making this chemical.

Serotonin exerts its influence because the neurons that make it project to almost every part of the brain, the researchers said.

The study began with two types of stem cells: one derived from embryos, the other from adult cells.

As serotonin neurons form before birth, the researchers had to recreate the chemical environment found in the developing brain in the uterus, Zhang said.

Because the neurons can be generated from induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be produced from a patient’s skin cells, “these could be useful for finding treatments for psychiatric disorders like depression, where we often see quite variable responses to drugs,” study first author Jianfeng Lu said.

“By identifying individual differences, this could be a step toward personalised medicine,” Lu noted.

The findings were reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology. (IANS), (image courtesy: stemology.co.uk)

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Food Options that Can Boost Serotonin Levels in Your Body

Eat your way to boost the 'Happy' hormones

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Serotonin happy
If one is in a stressed situation then, serotonin levels go down and lead to depressive behaviours that is why you should try out these superfoods to boost the 'happy' hormones. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

In modern world, it is inevitable to escape mental and emotional stress. Busy lifestyle, workload, family or financial issues, inactivity and poor eating habits induce a lot of stress which may further lead to lifestyle-related diseases. So, there is a great need to maintain mental peace and by making small changes in diet can have a huge impact on your mood. “Happy hormone” or “serotonin’ is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in many biological processes and in regulation your good mood as well.

If one is in a stressed situation then, serotonin levels go down and lead to symptoms like anxiety, aggression, impulsive behaviour, digestive issues, decreased appetite or craving to indulge into sweet or refined carbohydrate-rich foods.

Serotonin happy
Berries are rich in flavonoids that can help improve mood by supporting the production of serotonin and dopamine. Pixabay

Aman Puri, CEO and Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, suggests certain food options that can help boost serotonin levels.

Berries: Berries are rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidants, which helps improve brain activity and uplift mood.

Avocado: Being a good source of vitamin B-6, folate and magnesium and unsaturated or “good fat” that helps improve mood by supporting the production of serotonin and dopamine.

Walnuts: Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fats, one of the major nutrients required for the proper functioning of the brain. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) in walnuts helps make several types of serotonin receptors that play a key role in the serotonin pathway.

Dark Chocolate: Chocolate has a phenolic component called phenethylamine that has the potential to reduce stress, anxiety and elevate mood.

Green Tea: Green tea is a good source of catecholamines (antioxidant),that helps to elevate mood. Matcha green tea is particularly rich in amino acid L-theanine, which may also provide a soothing effect.

Serotonin happy
Chocolate has a phenolic component called phenethylamine that can help reduce stress and increase the production of serotonin in your body. Pixabay

Probiotics: Probiotics are the good gut bacteria, that are involved in the production of serotonin, dopamine and GABA involved in enhancing good mood.

Complex carbohydrates: Certain complex carbs like quinoa, oats or whole grains offer good amount of fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, and certain amino acids, particularly tryptophan which helps in ‘happy’ hormones production.

Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons have an appealing fresh fragrance and taste, which in turn might be fruitful for mood elevation.

Fatty fish or fish oil: Including fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna in diet can help improve omega 3 fatty acids or else fish oil supplements are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA particularly that help in a better release of hormones.

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In a nutshell, eating a wholesome diet and including specific foods such as omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, whole grains, citrus fruits, antioxidant-rich fruits, herbal teas may help support production and release of serotonin to make you feel happy and good.  (IANS)

 

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Going Vegan Has Various Health Benefits: Study

Vegetarians enjoy better sex lives than meat eaters

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Vegan
Going vegetarian or vegan is a new fad to lose weight and stay healthy. Pixabay

Going vegetarian or vegan is a new fad to lose weight and stay healthy but an interesting survey has revealed that vegetarians are best lovers and have more sex than meat eaters.

Not only this, the survey reported by UK-based Hucknall Dispatch said that non-vegetarians are “selfish in bed and unhappy in their sex lives compared to vegetarians”.

The majority of vegetarians (57 per cent) said they make love three-four times a week compared to most meat eaters who only enjoyed the action between the sheets one-two times a week (49 per cent).

“Nearly 84 per cent of vegetarians report that they are satisfied in their sex lives, compared to only 59 per cent of meat eaters”.

Vegan
Going vegan can also increase serotonin levels, which can both boost sex drive and increase happiness. Pixabay

Nearly 500 vegetarians — of which 38 per cent were vegans — and 500 non-vegetarian people were surveyed by UK’s largest extra-marital portal IllicitEncounters.com to reach this conclusion.

“Vegetarians eat foods that are known for their aphrodisiac properties – Maca, fenugreek leaves, ginseng, aniseed. There is a host of different veggies that are natural aphrodisiacs that promote sexual excitement,” IllicitEncounters.com’s Jessica Leoni was quoted as saying in the report.

Interestingly, 95 per cent of the vegan participants said they were satisfied with their sex lives.

Vegetarians enjoy making out (92 per cent), foreplay (88 per cent) and dirty talk (48 per cent) — way more than meat eaters (79 per cent, 68 per cent and and 35 per cent, respectively).

Least enjoyable for both vegetarians (26 per cent) and meat eaters (15 per cent) was bondage.

“I just thought it was an age-related thing. Now I’m on a plant based diet, I have more energy and I’m more open to trying out new things,” Heather, 39, and a vegan was quoted as saying.

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Plant-based foods are heavy in zinc and vitamins B, which can increase libido — bananas, chickpeas and, avocados, in particular, are good for this.

Going vegan can also increase serotonin levels, which can both boost sex drive and increase happiness. (IANS)

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Research: Japan Scientists to Use ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells to Fight Parkinson’s

The fact that the clinical trial uses iPS cells rather than human embryonic cells means the treatment would be acceptable in countries such as Ireland and much of Latin America, where embryonic cells are banned

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Japan scientists
Jun Takahashi, left, professor at Kyoto University's Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application, attends a news conference in Kyoto, Japan, July 30, 2018. (VOA)

Japanese scientists said Monday they will start clinical trials next month on a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, transplanting “reprogrammed” stem cells into brains, seeking a breakthrough in treating the neurodegenerative disorder.

Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells, and researchers have long hoped to use stem cells to restore normal production of the neurotransmitter chemical.

The clinical trials come after researchers at Japan’s Kyoto University successfully used human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to restore functioning brain cells in monkeys last year.

So-called iPS cells are made by removing mature cells from an individual — often from the skin or blood — and reprogramming them to behave like embryonic stem cells. They can then be coaxed into dopamine-producing brain cells.

Parkinsons
Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells. (IANS)

“This will be the world’s first clinical trial using iPS cells on Parkinson’s disease,” Jun Takahashi, professor at Kyoto University’s Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application, told a news conference.

The center is headed by Shinya Yamanaka, who in 2012 shared a Nobel Prize for medicine with a British scientist, John Gurdon, for the discovery that adult cells can be transformed back into embryo-like cells.

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“We intend to carry on conducting our research carefully, yet expeditiously, in coordination with Kyoto University Hospital, so that new treatment using iPS cells will be brought to patients as soon as possible,” Yamanaka said in a statement.

The fact that the clinical trial uses iPS cells rather than human embryonic cells means the treatment would be acceptable in countries such as Ireland and much of Latin America, where embryonic cells are banned. (VOA)