This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Bit of Red Wine is Good for the Holidays and Your Health

For many years now, scientists have been pretty sure that red wine is good for you--that's not just the French talking. Results of a study conducted at Scripps Research Institute here in San Diego has just been published in Nature that help us to understand what's going on, as summarized in Medical Daily:
Over the years, wine lovers and more than a few scientists have claimed red wine not only extends the lifespan, but it protects the heart and offers anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Quite a drink! Now, a new study has found that resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, activates an evolutionarily ancient stress response in human cells, which may be key to increasing longevity and protecting against disease. "With these findings we have a new, fundamental mechanism for the known beneficial effects of resveratrol," said Dr. Mathew Sajish, a senior research associate at the Scripps Research Institute.
Placing TyrRS and resveratrol together, the researchers showed that resveratrol does indeed mimic tyrosine, which means TyrRS does not perform its usual role in the nucleus — instead, it is steered to a new function. Tracking the resveratrol-bound TyrRS, the researchers discovered that it activates the protein, PARP-1, a major stress response and DNA-repair factor thought to have a significance influence on lifespan. In turn, this activation stimulates a host of protective genes, including a tumor-suppressor gene and longevity genes.
“Based on these results, it is conceivable that moderate consumption of a couple glasses of red wine (rich in resveratrol) would give a person enough resveratrol to evoke a protective effect via this pathway,” Sajish said.
For those of us who like to have a glass a wine with dinner, this is truly excellent news. Of course, as with almost everything in life, it is best to drink even your red wine in moderation.

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