Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Purslane Surprise

We got a great surprise in our mailbox yesterday. A packet of purslane (and other) seeds from Nichols Garden Nursery (our absolute favorite nursery, run by the most wonderful couple, Rose Marie and Keane). Here it is, the peak of busy. Frantic preparations counting down to their annual Plant Day (May 17th) and Rose Marie finds the time to read my blog, send me a catalog, a note and several packets of seeds. The world is a better place because of dear folks like these.

I thought I would slip in some news about Mr. Stable, yours truly. My serum markers went up (but not to baseline levels!) and my urine protein expression went down 45% from the first cycle (now 25% below baseline). So how should I spin these numbers? How about if I fantasize about a pita stuffed with broccoli sprouts and purslane (courtesy of Nichols!) while sipping some green tea and just laugh about it.

Next week I get to go to the new Phase I/II wing at Roswell. The place is both gorgeous and impressive. Private rooms with all the bells and whistles, a dedicated pharmacy, specially trained research nurses and of course comfy chairs & flat screen TVs... I don't think I'll all the sudden start looking forward to my visits, but geese it sure feels nice.

Monday, April 07, 2008

He who laughs first

So if I tell you I'm going to tell you a funny joke your immune response will be beneficial - right?

According to a presentation today the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society in San Diego, California a good dose of comedy might be just what the doctor ordered.

Back in 2006, Berk and his colleagues found that merely anticipating laughter boosted the production of mood-elevating hormones called β-endorphins and the immunity-enhancing human growth hormone by 27% and 87%, respectively.




Berk and his team report today at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society in San Diego, California, that levels of all three stress chemicals decreased before, during and after the men viewed their videos. Thirty minutes after the videos were watched, cortisol was down 67%, adrenaline was down 35%, and DOPAC was down 69%. But what really shocked the team was that cortisol, adrenaline and DOPAC decreased by 39%, 70%, and 38% respectively before anything funny was seen. “It would seem that merely having a merry heart in anticipation of the happy experience lowered stress levels... they dropped before videos were even watched” says Berk.

So you can stop reading boring blog entries and go do something worth laughing about. Have fun!

According to another abstract you should consider drinking some green tea while you do it:

Ingredient Found In Green Tea Significantly Inhibits Breast Cancer Growth In Female Mice – Green tea is high in the antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin-3- gallate) which helps prevent the body’s cells from becoming damaged and prematurely aged. Studies have suggested that the combination of green tea and EGCG may also be beneficial by providing protection against certain types of cancers, including breast cancer. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Mississippi finds that consuming EGCG significantly inhibits breast tumor growth in female mice. These results bring us one step closer to better understanding the disease and potentially new and naturally occurring therapies.