How to Cook Your Food for the Biggest Health Benefits

Choosing the right foods is one part of eating healthy—but how you prepare them also plays a role. “Research shows that certain cooking methods may change the makeup of our food in ways that could potentially harm our health,” says Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. For instance, studies have suggested a link between eating excessive amounts of meat cooked at high temperatures and increased risks of colorectal and pancreatic cancers. No need to panic, though: “There’s a lot we still don’t fully understand, but we do know that some methods are better to use regularly and some are better saved for special occasions,” says Hensrud. Keep the following in mind as you fire up your next meal.

Here’s what you need to know about the healthfulness of popular cooking methods.

PLCγ1-deficiency in mice causes bipolar disorder

Researchers, led by Pann-Ghill Suh, a professor of life sciences at UNIST, genetically designed mice to have a deficiency of PLCγ1 in their forebrain. They then studied what happened in the mice’s synapses – the ends of neurons, which facilitate electric signaling between two brain cells.

Scientists noticed impairment in the inhibitory transmission and synaptic plasticity – that is, the synapses’ ability to change their shape, function, or strength over time.

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that regulates several synaptic functions, including the activity of PLCγ1. BDNF is crucial in synapse formation, and in this study, the BDNF deficits led to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory transmission between the brain cells’ synapses.

The result, as noticed by Suh and team, was that PLCγ1-deprived mice displayed BD-like symptoms, including hyperactivity, reduced anxiety-like behavior, abnormally high feelings of pleasure (hyperhedonia), excessive hunger, and impaired learning and memory, as well as abnormally high startle responses.

Researchers administered drug treatment for BD to these mice and this reduced their symptoms.

To sum up, there appears to be a neurochemical chain reaction that leads to the disease. The synapses that do not have enough PLCγ1 are unable to fulfill their inhibitory function properly in excitatory neurons, because the BDNF is not working properly either. This causes a disproportion between excitatory synapses and inhibitory ones, eventually leading to bipolar symptoms.

Prof. Suh explains the findings:

In the brain, excitatory synapses and inhibitory synapses work together to remain balanced for proper neurotransmission. Our study demonstrated that the imbalance between these two is a major cause of various neuropsychiatric disorders and the […] dysfunction observed in the hippocampi of bipolar disorder patients.”

Until now, although the PLCγ1 gene had been suggested to play a role in BD, it was unclear exactly how PLCγ1 affected interneuronal signaling and how it caused mental illness.

“After 10 years of research, we have finally revealed PLCγ1 protein plays a major role in the onset of bipolar disorder,” Suh adds. “Our findings, therefore, provide evidence that PLCγ1 is critical for synaptic function and plasticity and that the loss of PLCγ1 from the forebrain results in manic-like behavior.”

The breakthrough is likely to influence research into the treatment of BD and its symptoms.

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