Abstract: Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), a common feature of brain aging, is characterized by lacunar infarcts, microbleeds, leukoaraiosis, and a leaky blood-brain barrier. Functionally, it is associated with cognitive decline, dementia, depression, gait abnormalities, and increased risk for stroke. Cerebral arterioles in this syndrome tend to hypertrophy and lose their capacity for adaptive vasodilation. Rodent studies strongly suggest that activation of Nox2-dependent NADPH oxidase activity is a crucial driver of these structural and functional derangements of cerebral arterioles, in part owing to impairment of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity. This oxidative stress may also contribute to the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier seen in SVD. Hypertension, aging, metabolic syndrome, smoking, hyperglycemia, and elevated homocysteine may promote activation of NADPH oxidase in cerebral arterioles. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase with phycocyanobilin from spirulina, as well as high-dose statin therapy, may have potential for prevention and control of SVD, and high-potassium diets merit study in this regard. Measures which support effective eNOS activity in other ways—exercise training, supplemental citrulline, certain dietary flavonoids (as in cocoa and green tea), and capsaicin, may also improve the function of cerebral arterioles. Asian epidemiology suggests that increased protein intakes may decrease risk for SVD; conceivably, arginine and/or cysteine—which boosts tissue glutathione synthesis, and can be administered as N-acetylcysteine—mediate this benefit. Ameliorating the risk factors for SVD—including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, hyperglycemia, smoking, and elevated homocysteine—also may help to prevent and control this syndrome, although few clinical trials have addressed this issue to date.
Abstract: Vitamin D refers to a class of fat-soluble secosteroids often associated with their role in absorption and metabolism of minerals such as calcium and phosphate. In recent years, our understanding of vitamin D has expanded to include its role in modulating the immune system. Of particular focus are the effects of vitamin D deficiency and supplementation on patients suffering from disorders due to dysregulation of the immune system. In patients with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, deficiencies in vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of disease activity. In this review, we will look at the current state of research in regards to the relationship between vitamin D and immune-dysregulation. We will focus on both the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency as well as the benefits of vitamin D supplementation.
Abstract: Unintended pregnancies are an important public health issue. Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) are reliable, safe, highly effective methods for most women; however they are underutilized in the United States. Shared decision aids were added to usual care in five public health family planning clinics in the Southeastern United States, staffed by advance practice nurses and registered nurses. All five sites showed an increase in the use of LARCs during the time period that shared decision aids were used (results statistically significant to p < 0.001). It is important for women to make informed choices about contraception, and shared decision aids can be utilized to support this decision making. This resource has been adopted for statewide use in all public health clinics, and implications for practice suggest that the use of shared decision aids is an effective method to support informed patient decision making and acceptance of LARC methods of contraception.
Abstract: Understanding the molecular impact of lifestyle factors has never been so important; a period in time where there are so many adults above retirement age has been previously unknown. As a species, our life expectancy is increasing yet the period of our lives where we enjoy good health is not expanding proportionately. Over the next 50 years we will need to almost double the percentage of GDP spent on health care, largely due to the increasing incidence of obesity related chronic diseases. A greater understanding and implementation of an integrated approach to health is required. Research exploring the impact of nutritional and exercise intervention on the epigenetically flexible genome is up front in terms of addressing healthy aging. Alongside this, we need a greater understanding of the interaction with our immune and nervous systems in preserving and maintaining health and cognition.
Abstract: Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a drought-resistant crop and an important food resource in terms of nutritional as well as social-economic values, especially in semi-arid environments. Cultivar selection and processing methods have been observed to impact on composition and functional and nutritional value of sorghum. Amino acid imbalance, cyanogenic glycosides, endogenous anti-nutrients, mycotoxins and toxic elements are among factors impairing its nutritional value. This paper reviews possible approaches (varieties selection, production practices, cooking processes) to improve the benefits-to-risks balance of sorghum meal, to mitigate the risk of deficiencies and/or imbalances and to improve effects on human nutrition. Opportunity for avoiding dietary diversification in high sorghum consumers is also discussed, e.g., tryptophan and niacin deficits potentially related to pellagra, or unavailability of proteins and divalent cations (e.g., Fe, Zn) due to the antinutrient activity of phytic acid and tannins. As potential candidate for production investments, the role of sorghum in preserving biological diversity is also considered.
Abstract: In America, mental health needs surpass the availability of specialized providers. This vulnerable population also has other obstacles for comprehensive care including gaps in medical coverage, stigma, economic barriers, and a geographical mal‑distribution of qualified mental health professionals. A wide availability of primary care providers, including primary care and family nurse practitioners, are well-positioned to deliver integrated mental and physical health care. A case study from a Southern California Coachella Valley primary care clinic with integrated services is used to demonstrate the much-needed approach of care to address health disparities that face low‑income immigrants, migrant workers, and others without access to specialized care centers and providers. It is argued that mental health care should be part of all holistic treatment provided by primary care and family nurse practitioners. This has implications for curricula and practice development.