Green tea battles Alzheimer's

Green tea is turning out to be one of nature's true miracles. As I've reported here before, studies have found that women who drank at least two glasses of green OR black tea every day slashed their risk of ovarian cancer by 46 percent. And those who drank only one cup per day still managed a 24-percent reduction in risk.

Now, another study on green tea has found that it could be a weapon in the battle against Alzheimer's disease.

Most people who have a neurological disease like Alzheimer's have a buildup of amyloid plaque, a toxic protein that impairs the function of your brain cells. This plaque builds up when certain proteins "misfold," causing them to become toxic to your cells.

That's where green tea comes in. Green tea has an antioxidant called apigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that appears to be able to convert those misfolded proteins into a different, less toxic molecule. Fixing these misfolds could prevent the buildup of amyloid plaque-possibly preventing or slowing down the progression of the disease.

At this point, researchers don't know whether or not treating these damaged cell proteins in this way could actually reverse plaques that form in the brain (i.e., cure Alzheimer's or Parkinson's). I wouldn't expect more research anytime soon, either. Since pharmaceutical companies can't patent EGCG, the likelihood of someone funding sufficient clinical trials isn't too good. But so what?

You already know green tea is good for you. Knowing its potential to prevent Alzheimer's is one more reason to drink up.

New therapy offers hope for people with vascular disease

If you suffer from any form of vascular disease, you know how painful it is when your tissues don't get the oxygen and nutrients they need. This awful condition, known as ischemia, can lead to severely limited limb functions and can cause leg cramps. You also know that there aren't any safe, effective treatment options for ischemia.

But a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could change all that. The researchers found that an experimental therapy may be able to improve circulation by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels to tissues damaged by vascular disease.

Researchers induced ischemia in the hid legs of mice, then they gave them low doses of sodium nitrate two times a day. In just seven days (in some cases, even less), the mice in the study actually generated new blood vessels and restored blood flow to oxygen-starved tissues. This is a mere fraction of the time that it would take for the body to naturally repair this kind of vascular damage.

Christopher Kevil, an associate professor of pathology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center said, "Our work suggests that sodium nitrate therapy could be beneficial for tissue healing after ischemic evens seen in stroke and heart attacks." Best of all, sodium nitrate is both cheap and readily available - so no FDA issues and no Big Pharma price gouging. Just good, old fashion cures. And it's about time.