Men are spending thousands on beard transplants.

Men are spending thousands of pounds to fill in their patchy beards, as the number of beard transplant procedures increases dramatically.

Men surveyed by The New York Times said they spent up to £14,500 on beard transplants to achieve a fully groomed look.

A man, referring to himself only as Ray, said he had undergone three rounds of transplants between 2011 and 2013, costing £14,500 in total.

“I don’t really even care that much if people know that I’ve had the transplants,” Ray, 53, told The New York Times.

“I just don’t want them to know how much I’ve spent on it, because then they’ll think I’m crazy.”

Other men reportedly spent £2,600 and £6,600 on transplants at surgeries across the US.

Joe Armos, a 28-year-old paramedic living in Miami, said he had spent £4,600 on a full beard transplant from side burns to chin as he believed his patients would trust him more if he had a “stronger, manlier look”.

The number of beard transplants performed has risen from being just 1.5 per cent of all hair restoration procedures undertaken internationally in 2012 to 3.7 per cent in 2014, according to the nonprofit medical association,International Society of Hair Restoration.

Dr Jeffery S. Epstein, a hair restoration surgeon with offices in Florida and New York, told theNew York Times that he now performs around three transplants a week, compared to five 10 years ago.

During a beard hair transplant procedure, tiny hair follicles are harvested one-by-one from a donor area of the body and then transplanted to the chin. The transplanted hair typically starts growing in immediately and usually patients can shave two weeks following the procedure.

Vincenzo Gambino, president of the ISHRS said: “While a clean-shaven appearance is still popular, beards are now very trendy among more males than ever before thanks to their resurgence in Hollywood and among professional athletes.”

“For those who prefer a fuller beard or more facial hair, beard hair transplants offer excellent results.”

Beards are becoming so popular that scientists at the University of New South Wales have warned we have hit “peak beard”, with facial fuzz being so widespread that it is no longer unusual enough to be attractive.

Brain network for observed social threat interactions revealed.

Observing one person threatening another is a commonplace event. Now, in new research, scientists have used large-scale neural recording and big data analysis in monkeys to enable a first glimpse of the brain remembering and recalling the memory of such negative social interactions.
The results of this study open a window into the structure of brain networks for cognitive processes such as observing the behavior of others.

Observing one person threatening another is a commonplace event. Now, in research published ineLife, scientists have used large-scale neural recording and big data analysis in monkeys to enable a first glimpse of the brain remembering and recalling the memory of such negative social interactions. The research reveals the complex structure of a neural network for the observation of a negative social interaction and its retrieval from memory.

The research, conducted by Naotaka Fujii and colleagues at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, answers the long-standing question of whether the memory of an observed social encounter can be formed and recalled via the same neural pathway. To test this idea, the authors overlaid a 128-channel large-scale recording array on a monkey cortex to record electrical activity while the subject watched videos of one monkey threatening another. In control studies, the videos showed non-threatening interactions.

The researchers recorded the brain activity data to a server and used Big Data analytical techniques to calculate a multidimensional value called ERC (Event Related Causality) that indexed the continuous evolution of brain activity in time, space, and the direction of communication between brain areas during the task. The ERC in turn was decomposed to identify hotspots of network activity the team called “modules” that pinpointed specific epochs in the observed social threat interactions.

The modules revealed a rich dynamic flow of information in the brain network at unprecedented resolution. One module encoded the formation of a memory of the observed social interaction revealing a flow of information from sensory perception areas to higher brain structures. Conversely, animals presented with the cues that were observed in the initial threat encounters, while the threatening monkey was hidden from view, showed the same network with reversed communication flow, suggesting that the same network was used for perceiving and recalling the event.

The results open a window into the structure of brain networks for cognitive processes such as observing the behavior of others. The methods used in the study are generalizable to other situations requiring mental processing. The findings also have implications for the mapping of brain activity by large federal brain projects including the US BRAIN initiative and EU Human Brain Project indicating that technologies that measure brain activity should aim to monitor not only large populations of neurons but also their network communication structures.

Discovery of ‘Alien’ DNA in Human Genome Challenges Darwin’s Theory

How will the scientific community deal with these new anomalies?

Scientists are now finding clues as to the beginning of the creation of Earth. Research from the University of Cambridge has discovered what appears to be ‘foreign’ DNA – 145 genes that may threaten one of modern orthodoxy’s sacred cows: Darwin’s theory of evolution.

This latest discovery has invigorated the curiosity of those seeking answers to the question which was brought into mainstream discourse following the release of the blockbuster filmPrometheus – which references Greek mythology and the epic story of how Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods in order to give it to man. The film outlines a narrative of how the human race was engineered, and our DNA was “seeded”  hundreds of thousands of years ago by advanced ‘Ancient Astronaut’ extra-terrestrial visitors.

Director Ridley Scott, told Hollywood Reporter:

“NASA and the Vatican agree that it is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today without there being a little help along the way … That’s what we’re looking at (in the film), at some of Eric Von Daniken’s ideas of how did we humans come about.”

The Abydos carvings showing a helicopter and other futuristic Vehicles Located in the Temple of Seti The First – Abydos, Egypt

Esoteric website Vigilant Citizen explains the historic religious context of the ‘Ancient Astronaut’ theory:

Proponents of the Ancient Astronauts theory claim that many ancient religious texts contain references to visitors from outer space. Two of the main works often cited are the Book of Genesis and the Book of Enoch, which both mention the existence on Earth of enigmatic giant beings named the Nephilim.

The Book of Genesis mentions the presence on Earth of beings named Nephilim (the King James version uses the term Giants). These beings are described as hybrids that are the result of procreation between human females and “sons of Gods”.

“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (…) The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them.”
– Genesis 6:1–4 (New International Version)

How little we really know about the beginnings of human life on Earth.

Is this proof of ‘The Engineer’s experiment’?

What we are seeing in the beginning is the creation of Earth. The giant ship (which is different from the ring-shaped one we see later in the film, weirdly) has landed on Earth to drop off the Engineer so that he can terraform the planet and make it sustainable for life. We think he drinks the black goo to break down his own structure and spread life on Earth through his own DNA, but that doesn’t really explain his surprise while he’s disintegrating (and if the Engineers do have the same DNA as us, it’s hard to say why the Engineers had to be broken down in order to create humanity) – See more at:
What we are seeing in the beginning is the creation of Earth. The giant ship (which is different from the ring-shaped one we see later in the film, weirdly) has landed on Earth to drop off the Engineer so that he can terraform the planet and make it sustainable for life. We think he drinks the black goo to break down his own structure and spread life on Earth through his own DNA, but that doesn’t really explain his surprise while he’s disintegrating (and if the Engineers do have the same DNA as us, it’s hard to say why the Engineers had to be broken down in order to create humanity) –


Mystery of our 145 ‘alien’ genes: Scientists discover some DNA is NOT from our ancestors – and say it could change how we think about evolution

• Study challenges views that evolution relies solely on genes passed down
• Instead says we acquired essential ‘foreign’ genes from microorganisms

Mark Prigg
Daily Mail

Humans contain ‘alien’ genes not passed on from our ancestors, researchers have discovered.

They say we acquired essential ‘foreign’ genes from micro organisms co-habiting their environment in ancient times.

The study challenges conventional views that animal evolution relies solely on genes passed down through ancestral lines – and says the process could still be going on.

The research published in the open access journal Genome Biology focuses on the use of horizontal gene transfer, the transfer of genes between organisms living in the same environment.

‘This is the first study to show how widely horizontal gene transfer (HGT) occurs in animals, including humans, giving rise to tens or hundreds of active ‘foreign’ genes,’ said lead author Alastair Crisp from the University of Cambridge.

‘Surprisingly, far from being a rare occurrence, it appears that HGT has contributed to the evolution of many, perhaps all, animals and that the process is ongoing, meaning that we may need to re-evaluate how we think about evolution.’…

Women don’t actually need to have their periods .

Women don’t actually need to have their periods

High fives!

For many women, period elimination is a welcome side effect of various hormonal contraceptives on the market, but there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation about whether skipping your period can have negative health consequences. According to health experts, though, there’s actually nothing wrong with not having periods, and here’s why.

A typical combined oral contraceptive pill that contains oestrogen and progestogen works primarily by stopping ovulation, which subsequently prevents the uterus lining from thickening the way it would if the body was prepping for a potential baby. However, a typical pill cycle also includes seven days of hormone-free tablets. When a woman takes these, the drop in hormone levels causes the uterus lining to shed, prompting what’s known as a ‘withdrawal bleed’ – although it’s usually still referred to as a period. So it’s no wonder that many women prefer to skip the week of inactive tablets, thus avoiding this whole ‘fake period’ altogether.

Reproductive science expert James Segars from Johns Hopkins University told Alana Massey at The Atlantic that the only reason women bleed while on the pill is by design, not by necessity: “When people were designing the pill, they asked women what they wanted, and women said they wanted to have a period to confirm they’re not pregnant.”

If you want to, there’s no medical reason not to skip, except for peace of mind. “Having a monthly period is reassuring but it is certainly not necessary,” says Segars.

Let’s face it, periods are downright awful and happen way too often. By evolutionary standards, human females are hard done by, because most other mammals don’t menstruate, and even if they do, it’s less frequent. The reason a woman’s uterus sheds its whole lining month after month is to do with competing interests between a potentially implanting embryo that comes with a blood-sucking placenta, and a womb trying to prevent this from happening.

“Far from offering a nurturing embrace, the endometrium is a lethal testing-ground, which only the toughest embryos survive,” writes evolutionary biologist Suzanne Sadedin at Quora. But these competing interests mean the body needs a way to get rid of any embryos that die or get stuck half-alive. “The solution, for higher primates, was to slough off the whole superficial endometrium – dying embryos and all – after every ovulation that didn’t result in a healthy pregnancy,” writes Sadedin.

As with any messy evolutionary hack, it comes with a host of problems – for some women, periods come with debilitating cramps and migraines, endometriosis, or perhaps they have a condition that makes it difficult to deal with period hygiene. For all these reasons – as well as simple convenience – period skipping is great. Even though there’s suspicion that skipping could cause build-up in the uterus, that’s simply not the case, because hormones prevent the lining from thickening in the first place.

“There is no medical reason why a woman has to menstruate every month,” women’s health expert Alyssa Dweck told The Atlantic. “And there is nothing wrong with tweaking the system if bleeding is difficult for women.”

So if you choose hormonal solutions to avoid that bloody, repetitive, cramping mess, from a scientific perspective, you’re probably going to be just fine.

US Defence scientists have invented a brain implant that boosts memory.

The more forgetful among us might soon have access to brain implants that can help jog our memories, if new technology developed by the US Defence Force becomes more widely adopted. New electric array brain implants are reportedly “showing promise” in assisting people who are trying to dig up memories from the farthest reaches of their minds.

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) team is primarily concerned with assisting those who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries, rather than people who tend to leave the house without picking up their house keys, but the process could be applied across the board, they say. “Everyone has had the experience of struggling to remember long lists of items or complicated directions to get somewhere,” explains program manager Justin Sanchez, in a press release. “Today we are discovering how implantable neurotechnologies can facilitate the brain’s performance of these functions.”

What makes the new process so innovative is the way it ‘reads’ the neural processes of the brain – it can see how our minds form and retrieve memories, and is even able to predict when our powers of recall are about to let us down. Sanchez says his team is looking at when the optimum moment for electrical stimuli really is: when the memories are formed, when the memories are recalled, or somewhere in between.

The team placed small electrode arrays in the areas of the brain known to be responsible for the formation of declarative memory – used for short and simple memories like lists – spatial memory, and navigation. The volunteers enlisted in the study were not suffering from memory problems in particular, but had been scheduled to undergo brain surgery for other neurological issues. When tested, their powers of recall were improved.

Full details of the study are being withheld pending a peer review and publication in a scientific journal, but some results have already been presented at a technology forum hosted by DARPA itself, as Troy Oakes from The Vision Times reports. “We still have a lot to learn about how the human brain encodes declarative memory, but these early experiments are clarifying issues such as these and suggest there is great potential to help people with certain kinds of memory deficits,” Sanchez told him.

DARPA scientists are also looking at ways the brain can be stimulated to aid learning as well as improve memory recall. We already know that ‘replaying’ a particular skill in our mind’s eye can help us to learn it, and later this year the agency is going to begin trying to map out these replay processes as they happen in the brain.

Researchers create self-propelled powder to stop bleeding

UBC researchers create self-propelled powder to stop bleeding
UBC researchers have created the first self-propelled particles capable of delivering coagulants against the flow of blood to treat severe bleeding. 

UBC researchers have created the first self-propelled particles capable of delivering coagulants against the flow of blood to treat severe bleeding, a potentially huge advancement in trauma care.

“Bleeding is the number one killer of young people, and from postpartum hemorrhage can be as high as one in 50 births in low resource settings so these are extreme problems,” explains Christian Kastrup, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia.

Traditional methods of halting severe bleeding are not very effective when the blood loss originates inside the body like the uterus, sinus or abdomen.

“People have developed hundreds of agents that can clot blood but the issue is that it’s hard to push these therapies against severe blood flow, especially far enough upstream to reach the leaking vessels. Here, for the first time, we’ve come up with an agent that can do that,” Kastrup said.

Kastrup teamed up with a group of researchers, biochemical engineers and emergency physicians to develop simple, gas-generating calcium carbonate micro- that can be applied in powder form to stop critical bleeding.

The particles work by releasing , like antacid tablets, to propel them toward the source of bleeding.

The carbonate forms porous micro particles that can bind with a clotting agent known as tranexamic acid, and transport it through wounds and deep into the damaged tissue.

After studying and modeling the movement of the particles in vitro, the researchers confirmed their results using two animal models. Even in a scenario that mimicked a catastrophic event like a gunshot wound to a femoral artery, the particles proved highly effective in stopping the bleeding.

While much more rigorous testing and development is needed to bring the agent to market, the particles could have a wide range of uses, from sinus operations to treating combat wounds.

“The area we’re really focusing on is : in the uterus, after childbirth where you can’t see the damaged vessels but you can put the powder into that area and the particles can propel and find those damaged vessels,” said Kastrup.

Which species will survive Earth’s sixth mass extinction?

The odds are not in our favour.

Scientists recently suggested that the Earth’s sixth mass extinction has begun. As terrifying as that sounds, surely humans are too smart and too important to get wiped out? Palaeontologists have long tried to shed light on this question by looking for general rules that might predict the survival of a species. While this is not exactly a straightforward exercise, research so far indicates that the odds are not in our favour.

Life on Earth can be traced back to a single unicellular species, perhaps some 3.5 billion years ago. Since then, diversity and maximum complexity has increased and millions of species have evolved. But how did we go from one species to millions of species? Let’s do a simple thought experiment. Lineages can split in two so that one species yields two, two yield four, four yield eight, and so forth. If plotting this process as a curve, the number of species would grow exponentially over time. Of course, species will also go extinct, but provided this happens less often than new ones arise, you will still end up with an exponentially increasing curve.

But can diversity go on increasing forever? Charles Darwin certainly thought not, and believed that the Earth probably had a carrying capacity. He likened species to wedges driven into a log, each occupying their own niche or patch of ecospace. As the number of wedges approaches the carrying capacity, it becomes more difficult to insert new ones, until adding new wedges forces older ones out.

The idea that the Earth can only accommodate a finite number of species modifies our simple model somewhat. Early on in the process, numbers are far from carrying capacity, and growth is exponential. Later on, progressively harder brakes are put on, and the rate of growth slows down, so that diversity reaches a plateau. Together, these forces yield an S-shaped or sigmoidal curve.

So what do we see when we look at the real history of life in the fossil record? Fortunately, palaeontologists have systematically compiled catalogues of fossil genera, making it possible to compare. What they show, however, is a much more complex picture.

Mass extinctions as game changers

Some of the earliest diversity curves were produced for marine organisms. These revealed five mass extinction events over the last half billion years, in which diversity markedly and rapidly reduced. The first two of these – the end of the Ordovician, about 444 million years ago, and and the end of the Devonian, about 359 million years ago, occurred at a time when diversity appeared to have reached a plateau. Diversity simply bounced back to previous levels after they struck.

The third mass extinction, dubbed the ‘Great Dying‘, some 252 million years ago at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods, was much bigger. It eclipsed both of its predecessors, as well as that which later killed off the dinosaurs – wiping out perhaps 96 percent of all marine species.

Its after-effects were also much more radical: far from just recovering to former levels, numbers of genera and families eventually grew through the apparent ceiling of the Ordovician to Permian, and continued to do so until the present biodiversity crisis.

How was such a gear change possible? Mass extinctions almost certainly result from catastrophic physical changes to the environment, with a speed that makes it difficult or impossible for animals to adapt and evolve to accommodate. Some groups are depleted much more than others, and in ways that are difficult to predict.

The idea is best illustrated by two groups of clam-like, filter-feeding marine organisms with similar ecologies and life habits: the brachiopods (Phylum Brachiopoda) and the bivalves (Phylum Mollusca). Prior to the end of the Permian, 252 million years ago, brachiopods were much more diverse than bivalves. However, the Great Dying hit the brachiopods much harder than the bivalves, and bivalves also recovered much faster. Not only did the bivalves rise to dominance in the wake of the mass extinction – they went on to become much more diverse than the brachiopods had ever been.

Such a turning of the tables may be possible when one group has already filled an ecospace, making it difficult for other groups to get a foothold. Only rapid change in the physical environment can dislodge them, offering ecological competitors the opportunity they previously lacked. These ascendant groups may also subdivide ecospace more finely (smaller wedges in Darwin’s analogy), allowing a stalled diversity curve to take off again. New species may also change the environment in ways that provide niches for others, thereby creating new ecospace (or enlarging Darwin’s log).

Something of this sort happened on land with the extinction of the dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event some 66 million years ago, which saw mammals comparatively mildly affected. Ironically, the Great Dying event had previously knocked the then hugely successful ancestors of the modern mammals – the therapsids – into the background some 186 million years earlier, allowing thearchosaurs and ultimately the dinosaurs to flourish in the first place. What goes around comes around.

With such major shifts in the Earth’s biodiversity seemingly hostage to the whims of fortune, palaeontologists have looked for any general rules that might predict survival. On land, large size seems to be disadvantageous. Alarmingly, few animals larger than a dog survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene event. Other disadvantages include ecological specialisation and having a restricted geographical distribution.

In between extinction events, a wide geographic distribution appears to offer considerable insurance. However we have recently shown that geographical rangehad no effect on the number of surviving terrestrial vertebrate species at the end of the Triassic mass extinction some 201 million years ago. The physical events causing mass extinctions, whether asteroids, mass volcanism or other physical factors, are so disruptive and have such global consequences that even the most widespread and numerous species can be wiped out.

It is, therefore, very difficult to make generalisations and predictions. But we do know that nothing is ever really safe. As we face the prospect of the sixth mass extinction, albeit caused by human activity this time, it is well to remember that extinctions can quickly escalate in unpredictable ways.

The loss of one species can have unforeseen consequences for many others, since ecosystems are connected by a complex web of interactions that we do not always fully understand. We must hope that such an ecosystem collapse is far enough down the road for us to forestall it. Unfortunately, early signs – such as habitat fragmentation and species loss in rainforests and reefs – are not good.

Beetroot Juice Can Benefit Your Muscles

beetroot juice

Story at-a-glance

  • Beets are a good source of naturally occurring nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in your body
  • People with heart failure who consumed nitrates-rich beet juice had a 13 percent increase in muscle power
  • Previous research showed people who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer

Beetroots, also known simply as beets or table beets in the US, are a sweet, surprisingly concentrated source of nutrition. The first clue they’re loaded with nutrition is their bright red color, which indicates the presence of powerful phytonutrients called betalains.

Betalains include reddish-purple betacyanin pigments and yellowish betaxanthin pigments. Many of the betalain pigments in beets have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying effects.

Newer research suggests that, in addition, compounds in beets may improve muscle performance, offering allure not only for athletes but also for maintaining muscle function as you age.

Naturally Occurring Nitrates in Beets May Boost Muscle Health

Beets are a good source of naturally occurring nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide (NO) in your body. Nitric oxide is perhaps most well-known for its benefits to heart health. As noted by cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra:1

“Adequate NO production is the first step in a chain reaction that promotes healthy cardiovascular function, while insufficient NO triggers a cascade of destruction that eventually results in heart disease…

NO promotes healthy dilation of the veins and arteries so blood can move throughout your body. Plus, it prevents red blood cells from sticking together to create dangerous clots and blockages.”

Your heart, of course, is a muscle, so it makes sense that boosting NO production would also lead to improvements in other muscles in your body.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri have previously found dietary nitrates improve muscle performance in elite athletes, and they wanted to determine if such nitrates would also benefit patients with heart failure, whose weakened hearts make them prone to fatigue and shortness of breath with everyday activities.

Senior study author Dr. Linda R. Peterson, associate professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, told Medical News Today:2

“A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based – getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, or climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life… We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer, or other conditions.”

Beet Juice May Increase Muscle Power By 13 Percent

For the latest study, participants with heart failure drank beet juice, either with the naturally occurring nitrates or with the nitrate content removed. Two hours after consuming the juice, those who consumed the nitrates-containing beverage had a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee.3

Andrew R. Coggan, PhD, assistant professor of Radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, told Medical News Today:4

“I have compared the beet-juice effect to Popeye eating his spinach. The magnitude of this improvement is comparable to that seen in heart failure patients who have done 2 to 3 months of resistance training.”

Past research has also found that beet juice may boost your stamina, as those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.5

This benefit is also thought to be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

A separate study similarly revealed that consuming a concentrated beet juice supplement increases whole-body NO production as well as muscle speed and power in healthy men and women.6

Beet Juice May Lower Your Blood Pressure and Benefit Brain Health

Your blood pressure may also benefit from the nitrates in beet juice, with benefits occurring within in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 points.7

A separate study found consuming beet juice daily for four weeks lead to reductions in blood pressure, improvements in endothelial function, and reduced arterial stiffness. The researchers concluded:8

“This is the first evidence of durable BP [blood pressure] reduction with dietary nitrate supplementation in a relevant patient group. These findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readily-available, and adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension.”

Aside from the blood pressure benefits, drinking beet juice may also be good for your brain. The nitrates, and resulting NO, help increase blood flow to the brain in elderly people. As you age, blood flow to certain areas of your brain decreases, which is associated with dementia and poor cognitive function.

When adults aged 70 and over ate a high-nitrate breakfast including beet juice, they had increased blood flow to their brain’s white matter, which is an area associated with dementia.9

Beets Are Antioxidant-Rich, Inflammation-Fighting Superstars

If you enjoy beets, there’s good reason to add them to your meals regularly. You can grate them raw over salads, marinate them with lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil as a side dish, or steam them, whichever you prefer.

Nutritionally, beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B-vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

The betalain pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Research has even shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, while beetroot extract is being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.10

Beets are also a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.11 As reported by the World’s Healthiest Foods:12

“[Betaine’s]… presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Beets Are a High-Sugar Veggie

Although the benefits of beet juice appear well established, keep in mind that beets are a very high-sugar vegetable. In fact, beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, although they also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals, andantioxidants.

For this reason, I recommend adding beets (in whole, non-juiced form) to your diet a few times a week to benefit from their nutrition without overdosing on their high amounts of sugar. The sugar will be even more concentrated in beet juice, without any of the fiber to somewhat moderate its effects, so you have to be cautious when consuming beets in juiced form.

If you struggle with high blood pressure or heart failure, you may want to experiment with beet juice and see how it impacts you. If you notice improvements in your blood pressure or stamina after drinking the juice, it may be a good fit for you. If you have diabetes or are insulin resistant, carefully monitor how beet juice affects your overall health and factor that in to how often you choose to consume it. Typically, moderation is best.

Keep in mind that this article is referring to the red beets most people add to salads and side dishes; they are not the same variety as sugar beets, which are actually white, commonly genetically modified, and used in the production of sugar. Also, if you’re solely interested in the benefits of nitrates in beet juice, you might also try consuming other nitrate-rich (but lower-sugar) vegetables (or juicing them), such as celery, lettuce, parsley, and spinach.

Beet greens are also a good source and contain additional important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. For reference, here are some examples of vegetables you can juice, along with the level of nitrates they contain.13

Vegetable (100 grams) Nitrates (milligrams, mg)
Arugula 480
Cilantro 247
Butter leaf lettuce 200
Spring greens 188
Beet greens 177
Swiss chard 151
Beets 100

Visit Our Food Facts Library for Empowering Nutrition Information

If you want to learn even more about what’s in the food you’re eating, visit our Food Facts library. Most people are not aware of the wealth of nutrients available in healthy foods, particularly organic fruits and vegetables. By getting to know your food, you can make informed decisions about how to eat healthier and thereby boost your brain function, lower your risk of chronic disease, lose weight, and much more.

Food Facts is a directory of the most highly recommended health foods to add to your wholesome diet. Its purpose is to provide you with valuable information about various types of foods including recipes to help you maximize these benefits. You’ll learn about nutrition facts, scientific studies, and even interesting trivia about each food in the Food Facts library. Remember, knowing what’s in your food is the first step to choosing and preparing nutritious meals each and every day. So visit Mercola Food Facts today to get started.

WHO Calls for Major Shift in View Toward Older People

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for a dramatic shift in the way governments, societies, and health systems think about and approach a rapidly growing older population.

Timed to coincide with the WHO International Day of Older Persons on October 1, the organization’s World Report on Ageing and Health was released September 30, 2015, at a briefing held at the United Nations Foundation headquarters.

By 2050, the number of people who will be older than 60 years is set to double. “Today, for the first time in history, most people can expect to live into their 60s and beyond. The consequences for health, health systems, for the work force, and for the budgets of countries are profound,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, MD, said at the briefing.

The new report, she said, “summarizes the opportunities that accompany population aging, and also the many barriers and knowledge gaps that block these opportunities. It is in our collective interest to work together to unblock these barriers.”

Among the current impediments are a one-size-fits-all approach to older people despite their great diversity and the notion that older age always implies dependence and increased cost. “There’s a lot of misconception [that] chronological age is linked to functional disability. That’s not the case,” Dr Chan said.

John Beard, MD, director of the WHO’s Department of Ageing and Life Course and a lead author of the report, told Medscape Medical News that one of the report’s implications for healthcare professionals is “to step beyond the idea that healthy aging is the absence of disease and to realize that what’s more important for an older person is their functional ability that comprises both themselves and the environment they live in.”

Older people should be viewed holistically, Dr Beard said. “Try and do some form of assessment as to how they’re functioning and how all their different problems and challenges add up, and use that as a guide to [future action],” he advised, adding, “Unfortunately, systems at the moment often tend to react to seeing older people as a bucket of individual diseases and respond to each disease as the presentation arises. I think the first thing we need to do is to move beyond that, to think in a holistic way.”

Think “Investment” Rather Than “Cost”

The 245-page report defines “healthy aging” as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.”
To achieve that goal, detailed recommendations are provided for four “priority areas for action”: Aligning health systems to the populations they now serve, developing improved systems of long-term care, creating age-friendly environments, and improving measurement and monitoring to ensure that the changes are having the intended beneficial effect.

The overall tone of the report is positive, asking that expenditures on older populations be viewed as “investments” rather than “costs.” It notes that population aging may not be that expensive, as has been assumed, in part because aging per se has been shown to contribute far less to overall healthcare expenditures than have changes in healthcare-related technologies.

And in fact, the report says that in some high-income countries, healthcare expenditures per person fall significantly after the age of 75, whereas expenditures for long-term care rise.

Dr Beard said that increases in healthcare costs with age tend to be higher in the United States than in some other countries, such as the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and Germany, where there are comprehensive systems for long-term care.

“I hope this report gets people to realize that older populations are a fantastic opportunity…. The shift from just seeing older populations as a burden on society I hope will be one major step. And then, looking to how we can across the life course do things to ensure that the well-being and the contribution of older people are maintained for as long as possible.”

He added, “That might cost a little bit ― I don’t think it will be nearly as costly as people think ― but it’s a good investment. And when you make a good investment, you get a return, in terms of the well-being of older people, their contribution to society, and social cohesion.”

Long-term Tanzeum plus pioglitazone improved HbA1c in adults with type 2 diabetes

Adults with type 2 diabetes randomly assigned the once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist Tanzeum as an add-on to pioglitazone or pioglitazone plus metformin therapy saw a sustained improvement in HbA1c over 3 years vs. those assigned placebo, according to study findings presented at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting.

In a randomized, double blind, parallel-group analysis of patients participating in the Harmony 1 trial, researchers also found that fewer patients assigned Tanzeum (albiglutide, GlaxoSmithKline) required rescue therapy for hyperglycemia vs. those assigned placebo.

Christopher M. Perkins, MD, medical director for Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), and colleagues analyzed data from 310 adults with type 2 diabetes not controlled with pioglitazone ( 30 mg) or pioglitazone plus metformin therapy ( 1,500 mg; mean age, 55 years; 70% white, mean HbA1c, 8.1%; mean BMI, 34 kg/m²). Within the cohort, 80% of participants were assigned pioglitazone plus metformin therapy; average type 2 diabetes duration was 8 years.

Participants were randomly assigned 30 mg albiglutide once weekly (n = 150) or matching placebo (n = 149).

After 3 years of treatment, 59% of participants assigned albiglutide who did not require rescue therapy maintained an HbA1c of 7% or less vs. 46% of those assigned placebo; fasting plasma glucose results were similar.

“The new data shows that, along with the 1-year reduction in [HbA1c], there was durable response with albiglutide over time,” Perkins said during the presentation. “The HbA1c curve goes down rapidly at about 12 weeks, where we reach a maximum effect at this dose, and you can see up to week 156 that [HbA1c] is really the same, statistically speaking.”

When including participants who did receive hyperglycemic rescue therapy, results were similar, Perkins said. Body weight also remained stable during the 3-year period for those assigned albiglutide, including those who received rescue therapy.

Adverse events were similar between treatment groups; the most common were nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Injection-site reactions were higher among participants assigned albiglutide (18% vs. 8.6%). Pre-rescue, documented symptomatic hyperglycemia was low, Perkins said (3.3% for albiglutide vs. 2% for placebo). – by Regina Schaffer