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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2004/2005Tips – Winter '04-'05   
 Tips & Tidbits – Winter 2004-2005 Minimize

Green Methods Web Site

The Green Spot, Ltd., a supplier of biological pest control agents and integrated pest management paraphernalia, has relaunched its quasi-famous Web site, www.GreenMethods.com. The site features a news portal loaded with features, interactive forums and help desks, a complete primer on biological pest control and an extensive photo gallery. The site was designed to bring biocontrol people together to talk, share, learn and succeed.


Cranberries May Reduce Damage From Strokes

Cranberries may reduce neuronal damage associated with strokes. Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, offers a compelling reason for recent stroke victims and those at risk for stroke to consume cranberries.

In the study, researchers administered a concentrated cranberry extract to rat brain cells exposed to simulated stroke conditions. The stroke was simulated either by depriving cells of oxygen and glucose to mimic ischemic stroke in which brain cells are starved of oxygen and die, or by exposing cells to hydrogen peroxide, simulating the action that takes place following a stroke when oxygen begins to flow to the brain again. Exposure to the highest concentration of extract, which was roughly equivalent to half a cup of whole cranberries, caused a 50-percent reduction in neuronal death. Those cells not exposed to cranberry extract experienced no benefit.

“This study shows that cranberries have the potential to protect against brain cell damage that occurs during a stroke event,” said Catherine Neto, Ph.D., a study investigator. “It may not stop a stroke from occurring initially, but it may reduce the severity of stroke.”

The study’s authors do not know yet how many cranberries or how much cranberry juice people should consume to have an optimal effect against stroke. The study was funded by the University of Massachusetts and the Cranberry Institute.

Source: Agriculture Today, Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Nov. 10, 2004, www.maine.gov/agriculture/newsletter


Clogged Arteries? Eat Oats

Phenolic antioxidants in oats obstruct the ability of cholesterol to stick to artery walls. Researchers funded by the Agricultural Research Service have shown that these compounds, called avenanthramides, significantly suppress the adhesive molecules that “glue” blood cells to artery walls.

The study was done by nutritionist Mohsen Meydani and colleagues at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

When blood cells stick to artery walls and cause inflammation, plaque deposits build and narrow the passageways through which blood flows. The suppression of plaque provided by avenanthramide compounds may lessen the gradual constriction of vessels that leads to hardening of the arteries.

To test the compound’s anti-degenerative activity within arterial walls, the scientists purified avenanthramides from oats and exposed them to human arterial wall cells for 24 hours. They then observed the mixture under incubation. Meydani found that the ability of blood cells to stick to arterial wall cells was significantly reduced.

Water-soluble fiber from oats has long been believed to help reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in blood. To gain heart-healthy benefits from fiber and avenanthramides, the researchers suggest adding oat products to an overall healthy diet and cutting down on high-fat, high-cholesterol foods.

Source: ARS News Service, Agricultural Research Service, USDA. www.ars.usda.gov. June 1, 2004. Read more about this research in the June issue of Agricultural Research magazine at www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jun04/oats0604.htm.


Food Additives May Increase Hyperactivity

A new study from the United Kingdom reveals that artificial food colorings and benzoate preservatives in foods increase hyperactivity in children. The study of 277 preschoolers found that when these additives were removed from the children’s diets, the rate of hyperactivity decreased substantially. According to Dr. John Warner, lead scientist in the study, “The effect is significant but its magnitude requires further elaboration before making any sweeping recommendations about legislation on permitted food additives.”

Source: Organic Bytes #34 – Food and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge! June 11, 2004. For more information, see www.organicconsumers.org/school/hyper060404.cfm

    

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