MARCH 2019

New Link Found Between Food Allergies and Multiple Sclerosis

A research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has investigated the correlation between allergy and inflammatory disease activity, finding new evidence connecting food allergies and relapses of multiple sclerosis. A newly published study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry explores the mechanism of multiple sclerosis, which has long remained an ‘enigma’ comprised of a series of complex environmental and genetic factors—including the immune system, which regulates physiological phenomena like allergies. Senior author and neurologist at the Partners MS Center at the Brigham Tanuja Chitnis, MD, stated: “Some multiple sclerosis patients with significant allergies would complain of frequent relapses associated with their allergic episodes…we felt that the most likely mechanism associated with allergy and its influence on MS would be related to inflammatory activity.”

Eating for Better Hormone Health in Later Years

While women’s hormone health is always foundational to overall wellness, a time called perimenopause—the years before menopause, when the ovaries begin to make less estrogen—is characterized by significant hormonal shifts, in addition to negative symptoms including anxiety, depression, night sweats, and more. An article in mindbodygreen outlines specific dietary and lifestyle choices that can help mitigate and navigate hormonal changes. In addition to consuming larger amounts of cruciferous vegetables, which “promote estrogen metabolism and detoxification in the liver,” the article mentions incorporating flaxseed into routines, focusing on foods that support bone health, eating plenty of omega-3-rich foods, and replacing simple & processed sugars with more high-fiber complex carbohydrates. Overall, the research supports a strong focus on foods that “decrease inflammation, support a healthy mood, and balance hormones and insulin levels.”

Can Estrogen Help Type 2 Diabetes?

A new study in Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, has found that estrogen can improve insulin sensitivity: detailing the mechanism behind the effect. The researchers state that the findings have a “profound impact on our understanding of obesity and diabetes, as well as potential dietary interventions.” Led by Shaodong Guo, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, the research sought to investigate if the hormone estrogen could lower insulin resistance and the production of glucose, and consequently reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Over 100 million people in the U.S. are living with either diabetes or prediabetes, and statistics indicate that over 30 million adults have type 2 diabetes.

Brain Offers Clue to ‘Broken Heart’ Syndrome

Swiss researchers have studied people with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as ‘broken heart syndrome,’ which occurs subsequent to an emotional or stressful event. While the condition has not been widely understood, the published work in European Heart Journal suggests that the brain’s response to stress plays a significant role. While the symptoms are often similar to a heart attack, experts believe that it could be linked to raised levels of stress hormones—such as adrenaline. In the study, conducted at University Hospital Zurich, one of the lead researchers stated: “Emotions are processed in the brain, so it is conceivable that the disease originates in the brain with top-down influences on the heart.”


Lab studies have indicated that turmeric demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities, with a few studies suggesting that curcumin has biological activity in some cancer patients. Used in cooking for centuries, substances in turmeric—called curcuminoids—prevent inflammation by inhibiting the molecules that cause it. Learn more about the applications of integrative herbs through the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s site “About Herbs.”


Follow us on social media for our newest #WomensHistoryMonth campaign: celebrating leading female figures in healthcare throughout history, and highlighting their contributions in medicine.

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