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Lutein and zeaxanthin are dietary carotenoids that cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the macular region of the retina. Lutein is also preferentially taken up by brain tissue and is the carotenoid most consistently related to cognitive function. The cognitive effect of consuming lutein-containing foods, however, has not been explored. Given that avocados provide a highly bioavailable source of lutein, researchers at Tufts University conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the effect of avocado consumption on cognition in older adults.  

Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) is an adaptogenic herb with a tradition of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha acts to normalize the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating effects. One human clinical trial in patients with bipolar disorder showed that ashwagandha improved thyroid indices as a secondary outcome.  To further evaluate the effect of ashwagandha on thyroid function, researchers Sharma et al. conducted a small clinical trial in patients in India with subclinical hypothyroidism.  

To better understand whether serum magnesium levels are associated with the risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, researchers conducted a prospective study, which was published in by Kieboom and colleagues in Neurology (2017). The study was embedded within the Rotterdam Study, a large, population-based, prospective study in the Netherlands that has been ongoing since 1990.

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) disease is a condition characterized by reflux of gastric contents beyond the esophagus (as in GERD) and into the throat. There is no gold standard diagnostic test for LPR. Patients can present with a cough, dysphagia, dysphonia, or other vague symptoms. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been the pharmacologic treatment of choice for LPR for the last 3 decades, but PPIs can cause numerous adverse effects. The pathophysiology of LPR suggests dietary interventions may be a viable alternative to PPIs.  

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to a spectrum of conditions involving hepatic fat deposition. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] + eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]) has previously shown to improve multiple parameters associated with NAFLD: omega-3s improve insulin sensitivity, lower plasma triglyceride concentrations, and have the potential to decrease liver fat. To further understand the mechanisms by which omega-3 supplementation influences NAFLD, researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a proof-of-concept pilot study.   

Coffee consumption has been studied in relation to numerous chronic diseases as well as in relation to cause-specific and all-cause mortality. Meta-analyses have found a threshold intake of 3 or more cups of coffee per day to be associated with lower morbidity and mortality in the general population. In a study published in the Journal of Hepatology (2017), researchers investigated the association between coffee consumption and mortality in patients co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C (HCV).

Burnout Syndrome is a subjective condition with no clear definition and no established diagnostic criteria. Burnout syndrome is generally characterized by emotional exhaustion and decreased satisfaction in physical performance as a result of chronic stress. Symptoms might include fatigue, lack of concentration, or decreased sexual function. Risks might include subsequent depression, anxiety, or other chronic disease.

The Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study is a population-based, case-control study designed to evaluate associations between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a variety of genetic and environmental risk factors. Participants in the CHARGE study were children born in 2000-2007 of mothers who lived in the agricultural area of the California Central Valley or the urban and suburban areas of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area during pregnancy.

Heart failure most often begins with diastolic dysfunction, marked by increased rigidity of the myocardium and slower ventricular relaxation. Myocardial rigidity is the result of changes to the extracellular matrix of the myocardium, with increased collagen, increased fibronectin, and reduced elastin—mediated by activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Vitamin D has been shown to stimulate tissue inhibitors of MMPs as well as suppress inflammatory pathways, preventing excessive degradation of the extracellular matrix.

Short sleep duration and poor diet have independently been associated with obesity, but little is known about the interaction between these 2 variables. A study published by Doo and Kim in Nutrients (2017) examined how the effect of sleep duration on obesity might be modified by consumption of dietary antioxidants.

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