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Eggs and cholesterol: Is industry funded research misleading?

Whether dietary cholesterol increases levels of cholesterol in the blood is a controversial topic. Although many researchers have investigated this question, a recent review asks whether industry funding has slanted the overall results. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential for good health as it is an important structural component of cell walls. Our liver can produce all of the cholesterol that we need, but we also consume it in animal products. As cholesterol circulates the body, it can cause problems. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which people often refer to as "bad" cholesterol, increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. As eggs are high in cholesterol, scientists have raised concerns that they might lead to elevated cholesterol levels in the blood if a person eats them in excess. To investigate this, scientists have carried out many studies over more than 50 years. To date, however, the findings have fallen short of conclusive. "In decades past, the egg industry played little or no role in cholesterol research, and the studies' conclusions clearly showed that eggs raise cholesterol," explains Dr. Barnard. "In recent years, the egg industry has sought to neutralize eggs' unhealthy image as a cholesterol-raising product by funding more studies and skewing the interpretation of the results." In particular, the authors identify the American Egg Board, which is a federally authorized, industry funded body. Their mission is "to increase demand for all U.S. eggs and egg products." Over the years, scientists have carried out a number of meta-analyses to assess the effect of egg consumption on levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood. As one example, a recent analysis that collated results from 28 studies concluded that eating eggs significantly increases both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations. "The egg industry has mounted an intense effort to try to show that eggs do not adversely affect blood cholesterol levels. For years, faulty studies on the effects of eggs on cholesterol have duped the press, public, and policymakers to serve industry interests." Says study author Dr. Neal Barnard.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Cancer drug shows promise in Parkinson's disease safety trial

Nilotinib, a drug that regulators have approved for the treatment of leukemia, has shown promise in a small clinical trial of people with Parkinson's disease. The main purpose of the trial was to assess the repurposed drug's safety and tolerability and how it behaves in the body in people with moderately severe Parkinson's disease. A secondary goal was to investigate the impact of nilotinib on certain substances that scientists think could be useful biomarkers for tracking disease progress and the effectiveness of therapies. These biomarkers include products of dopamine metabolism and levels of alpha-synuclein and tau — two proteins that build up in the brain in Parkinson's disease. Doctors can measure the biomarkers by sampling cerebrospinal fluid through a lumbar puncture. The trial investigators, from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in Washington DC, also tracked changes in motor and nonmotor Parkinson's symptoms at various stages during the 15-month trial. They describe the methods and findings in a recent JAMA Neurology study paper. "Determining the safety of nilotinib in people with Parkinson's was our primary objective," says senior study author Charbel Moussa, who is an associate

professor of neurology at GUMC and director of its Translational Neurotherapeutics Program. Dr. Fernando L. Pagan was the principal trial investigator and first author of the study. He is also professor of neurology at GUMC and medical director of its Translational Neurotherapeutics Program. He says that they saw overall improvements in motor symptoms in the participants who took nilotinib compared with the placebo group. The nilotinib groups also scored higher on quality of life measures during the trial. He adds that researchers need to carry out more extensive studies in more diverse populations to confirm these results. "These are important observations suggesting that nilotinib stabilized the disease – a potential disease- modifying effect that we haven't observed with any other agents." Says Prof. Fernando L. Pagan.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)