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March 18, 2009, 5:01 AM CT

Genetic Basis of Exercise

Genetic Basis of Exercise
'Adaptation to exercise' is a familiar phenomenon, even if the phrase is not: A sedentary person takes up jogging and can barely make it around the block. After jogging regularly for a few weeks, the person can jog a mile, then two, then three. With regular exercise, the body adapts, becoming fitter and more efficient. The heart can pump more blood, delivering more oxygen to the muscles. The muscles get stronger, and so on.

There are individual differences in the ability to adapt to exercise. Some sedentary individuals who take up jogging will be able to run three miles after a short training period, while others will take much longer to get to the same level. What accounts for this difference in a person's ability to adapt to exercise? One important factor is our genes.

Research into the role genes play in exercise has been gaining steam over the past few decades and is the topic of a symposium at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans on April 20. Mark Olfert of the University of California at San Diego and Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center have organized the symposium, the Genetics of the Adaptation to Exercise. The American Physiological Society is sponsoring the symposium.

Speakers at the symposium will include Eric Hoffman of the Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. and Tuomo Rankinen of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Dr. Hoffman will discuss Genetics and skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise, while Dr. Rankinen will talk on Genetics and the response to exercise in human populations. The symposium will also include presentation of selected abstracts.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 16, 2009, 8:08 PM CT

Obese woman and breast cancer risk

Obese woman and breast cancer risk
greater risk of breast cancer by not undergoing regular screening. As per new research by Dr. Nisa Maruthur and her team from The John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, seriously obese women are significantly less likely to say they have undergone a recent mammography than normal weight women, particularly if they are white. Maruthur's findings are published online this week in Springer's Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the US. Mammography screening has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer; current guidelines recommend that women over the age of 40 undergo a mammography every couple of years. Obesity is also an important risk factor for both the development of, and death from, postmenopausal breast cancer.

Maruthur and his colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 studies comprising over 276,000 participants, to look at whether overweight and obese women are less likely to have had a recent mammography than normal weight women. They also looked at the differences in mammography take-up between white and black obese women in three of the studies. They observed that severely obese women were 20 percent less likely to have had a recent mammography than normal weight women. However, this was not the case among black women.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 16, 2009, 7:54 PM CT

Importance of healthy living

Importance of healthy living
Women who maintain a healthy weight and who have lower perceived stress appears to be less likely to have chromosome changes linked to aging than obese and stressed women, as per a pilot study that was part of the Sister Study. The long-term Sister Study is looking at the environmental and genetic characteristics of women whose sister had breast cancer to identify factors linked to developing breast cancer. This early pilot used baseline questionnaires and samples provided by participants when they joined the Sister Study.

Two recent papers published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention looked at the length of telomeres, or the repeating DNA sequences that cap the ends of a person's chromosomes. Telomere length is one of the a number of measures being looked at in the Sister Study. Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes and buffer them against the loss of important genes during cell replication. Over the course of an individual's lifetime, telomeres shorten, gradually becoming so short that they can trigger cell death. The papers show that factors such as obesity and perceived stress may shorten telomeres and accelerate the aging process.

"Together these two studies reinforce the need to start a healthy lifestyle early and maintain it," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. The scientists who published these papers are from the NIEHS which sponsors the Sister Study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 16, 2009, 7:22 PM CT

A different perspective on obesity 'epidemic'

A different perspective on obesity 'epidemic'
Headlines tell us the nation is getting fatter, and that obesity has become an epidemic. But there is more to the story, as per one University of Houston sociologist.

While she acknowledges that there has been a shift in body weight over the years, assistant sociology professor Samantha Kwan looks at obesity from a different perspective.

The term obesity was constructed by the medical community, Kwan says. And the use of the Body Mass Index, which measures obesity, as the main factor to define obesity, has resulted in the media greatly overstating the rise of the condition.

"This epidemic has been constructed to the benefit of the medical industry that has in part medicalized the therapy of obesity over the years," Kwan says. "While there appears to be a rise in 'obesity,' the BMI is not always accurate. Some scholars describe this epidemic more as a moral panic. While there appears to be some truths to rising rates, they have been overstated".

Kwan, who has been studying gender and body image since 2001, examines how cultural beauty messages about fat interact with other cultural messages about fat, such as health discourses. This is summarized in her article "Framing the Fat Body: Contested Meanings between Government, Activists and Industry," published in February's Sociological Inquiry........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Injectable birth control causes weight gain

Injectable birth control causes weight gain
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), usually known as the birth control shot, gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, as per scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

However, women who switched to nonhormonal contraception began to slowly lose the weight and fat mass they gained nearly four pounds over two years, while those who used oral contraception after the shots gained an average of four additional pounds in the same time span. The amount of weight gain was dependent on the length of time DMPA was used, as the rate of weight gain slowed over time.

The study, which appears in the March 4 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind.

DMPA is an injected contraceptive administered to patients every three months. More than two million American women use DMPA, including approximately 400,000 teens. DMPA is relatively inexpensive in comparison to some other forms of birth control, has a low failure rate and doesn't need to be administered daily, which contributes to the contraceptive's popularity.

"Women and their doctors should factor in this new data when choosing the most appropriate birth control method," said main author Abbey Berenson, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMB.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:11 AM CT

Obesity may lead to infertility

Obesity may lead to infertility
Obese women have alterations in their ovaries which might be responsible for an egg's inability to make an embryo, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Obese women trying to become pregnant experience longer times to conception, even if they are young and have a regular menstrual cycle. This study sought to determine if there are alterations in an egg's environment in obese women which contribute to poorer reproductive outcomes.

"Characteristics of eggs are influenced by the environment in which they develop within the ovary," said Dr. Rebecca Robker, PhD, of Adelaide University in Australia and main author of the study. "Our study observed that obese women have abnormally high levels of fats and inflammation in the fluid surrounding their eggs which can impact an egg's developmental potential".

As per Dr. Robker, the fats might alter the very sensitive metabolism of the egg and such changes are known to be harmful to embryo formation. In addition, inflammation can damage cells and when this happens to eggs it can affect embryo survival.

For this study, scientists followed 96 women seeking assisted reproduction at a private clinic in South Australia from February 2006 to April 2007. Dr. Robker and her colleagues measured hormone and metabolite levels in follicular fluid obtained from the subjects' ovaries during their egg collection procedures. They observed that obese women exhibited an altered ovarian follicular environment, especially increased metabolite and androgen activity levels, which appears to be linked to poorer reproductive outcomes.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 3, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

Can we cure type 2 diabetes with bariatric surgery?

Can we cure type 2 diabetes with bariatric surgery?
As the occurence rate of obesity-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus continues to increase worldwide, medical research indicates that surgery to reduce obesity can completely eliminate all manifestations of diabetes. As per a research findings reported in the March 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed 621 studies from 1990 to April of 2006, which showed that 78.1% of diabetic patients had complete resolution and diabetes was improved or resolved in 86.6% of patients as the result of bariatric surgery. The primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity, and 90% of all patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

The dataset included 135,246 patients where 3188 patients reported resolution of the clinical and laboratory manifestations of type 2 diabetes. Nineteen studies with 11,175 patients reported both weight loss and diabetes resolution outcomes separately for the 4070 diabetic patients in those studies. Clinical findings were substantiated by the laboratory parameters of serum insulin, HbA1c, and glucose.

Scientists observed a progressive relationship of diabetes resolution and weight loss as a function of the operation performed: laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, gastroplasty, gastric bypass, and biliopancreatic diversion/duodenal switch (BPD/DS). Gastric banding yielded 56.7% resolution, gastroplasty 79.7%, gastric bypass 80.3% and BPD/DS 95.1%. After more than 2 year post-operative, the corresponding resolutions were 58.3%, 77.5%, 70.9%, and 95.9%. In addition, the percent excess weight loss was 46.2%, 55.5%, 59.7% and 63.6%, for the type of surgery performed, respectively.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 27, 2009, 6:03 AM CT

The obesity paradox

The obesity paradox
It's called the obesity paradox. Although obese people are more apt to suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, they are also more likely to survive a major attack caused by one of those conditions.

University of Illinois scientists Gregory Freund and Christina Sherry shed light on the reasons for this phenomenon in a study in this month's issue of Endocrinology

"Fat is a very complex and active tissueit has important functions beyond providing energy and insulating us from the cold," said Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine's Department of Pathology and a faculty member in the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences.

"We now know that leptin, a hormone secreted by fat tissue, plays a key role in regulating the immune system. When we exposed mice to hypoxia (simulating an event, such as a heart attack, in which a part of the body is deprived of oxygen), leptin triggered the immune system to increase production of an anti-inflammatory molecule, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA)," he said.

"And, when we gave non-obese mice leptin injections, they recovered three times faster. Leptin did not hasten recovery though in IL-1RA knockout mice," Sherry said. That earlier work was published in a recent issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:30 AM CT

Low-cal diets promote weight loss

Low-cal diets promote weight loss
Heart-healthy diets that reduce calorie intakeregardless of differing proportions of fat, protein, or carbohydratecan help overweight and obese adults achieve and maintain weight loss, as per a research studyfunded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, and published Feb., 26, 2009, in the New England Journal (NEJM)

Scientists from the Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) study found similar weight loss after six months and two years among participants assigned to four diets that differed in their proportions of these three major nutrients. The diets were low or high in total fat (20 or 40 percent of calories) with average or high protein (15 or 25 percent of calories). Carbohydrate content ranged from 35 to 65 percent of calories. The diets all used the same calorie reduction goals and were heart-healthylow in saturated fat and cholesterol while high in dietary fiber.

On average, participants lost 13 pounds at six months and maintained a 9 pound loss at two years. Participants also reduced their waistlines by 1 to 3 inches by the end of the study. Craving, fullness, hunger, and diet satisfaction were all similar across the four diets.

"These results show that, as long as people follow a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie diet, there is more than one nutritional approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight," said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director, NHLBI. "This provides people who need to lose weight with the flexibility to choose an approach that they're most likely to sustainone that is most suited to their personal preferences and health needs".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Your location and availability of healthy food

Your location and availability of healthy food
The availability of healthy food choices and your quality of diet is linked to where you live, as per two studies conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scientists examined healthy food availability and diet quality among Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Md., residents and observed that availability of healthy foods was linked to quality of diet and 46 percent of lower-income neighborhoods had a low availability of healthy foods. The results are reported in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Place of residence plays a larger role in dietary health than previously estimated," said Manuel Franco, MD, PhD, main author of the studies and an associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Our findings show that participants who live in neighborhoods with low healthy food availability are at an increased risk of consuming a lower quality diet. We also observed that 24 percent of the black participants lived in neighborhoods with a low availability of healthy food compared with 5 percent of white participants."

Scientists conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between the availability of healthy foods and diet quality among 759 participants of a population-based cardiovascular cohort study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Using a food frequency questionnaire, Franco, along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, summarized diet into two dietary patterns reflecting low and high quality diet. The availability of healthy foods was assessed by examining food stores within MESA participants' neighborhood or census tract, their closest food store and all food stores within one mile of the participants' residence. Availability of healthy foods in each food store was assessed by measuring the availability of items like fresh fruits and vegetables, skim milk and whole wheat bread as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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