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March 10, 2011, 7:08 AM CT

Low birth weight and obesity later in life

Low birth weight and obesity later in life
LA BioMed study finds nutritionally deprived newborns are "programmed" to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake.

Credit: LA BioMed

Providing further understanding of the link between low birth weights and obesity during the later part of life, scientists found nutritionally deprived newborns are "programmed" to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake, as per an article published recently in the journal, Brain Research

The study by a team of scientists at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) suggests that overeating is programmed at the level of stem cells before birth when the mother has poor or inadequate nutrition.

Using an animal model, the scientists found less division and differentiation of the neural stem cells of a newborn with low birth weight as in comparison to normal birth weight. Prior studies have observed a small size at birth followed by accelerated "catch-up" growth is linked to an increased risk of adult obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

"This study demonstrates the importance of maternal nutrition and health in reducing obesity," said Dr. Mina Desai, an LA BioMed principal investigator and corresponding author of the newly released study. "Obesity and its related diseases are the leading cause of death in our society, yet we have few effective strategies for prevention or therapy. These studies suggest maternal nutrition could play a critical role in preventing obesity and related disease".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 8, 2011, 7:47 AM CT

Improving capture of circulating cancer cells

Improving capture of circulating cancer cells
Circulating tumor cells, which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, have been known to science for more than 100 years, and scientists have long endeavored to track and capture them. Now, a UCLA research team has developed an innovative device based on Velcro-like nanoscale technology to efficiently identify and "grab" these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in the blood.

Metastasis is the most common cause of cancer-related death in patients with solid tumors and occurs when these marauding tumor cells leave the primary tumor site and travel through the blood stream to set up colonies in other parts of the body.

The current gold standard for determining the disease status of tumors involves the invasive biopsy of tumor samples, but in the early stages of metastasis, it is often difficult to identify a biopsy site. By capturing CTCs in blood samples, doctors can essentially perform a "liquid" biopsy, allowing for early detection and diagnosis, as well as improved monitoring of cancer progression and therapy responses.

As per a research findings published this month and featured on the cover of the journal Angewandte Chemie, the UCLA scientists announce the successful demonstration of this "nano-Velcro" technology, which they engineered into a 2.5-by-5�centimeter microfluidic chip. This second-generation CTC-capture technology was shown to be capable of highly efficient enrichment of rare CTCs captured in blood samples collected from patients with prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 8, 2011, 7:42 AM CT

Online nutrition courses

Online nutrition courses
Most of us have heard of Phoenix, no, not the mystical bird or the capital of Arizona, but the online university. As per the Babson Survey Research Group, enrollment in online courses is growing faster than overall higher education offerings due to various reasons like the economic downturn. With the increase in demand for online education, a study in the March/April 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior explores nine online nutrition courses.

Since nutrition courses meet general education science requirements and professional education needs in dietetics, medical, nursing, and other allied health curricula, nutrition is among the a number of postsecondary subjects usually taught online. Investigators from the University of Massachusetts evaluated published literature concerning online nutrition education courses. Findings from this study revealed four quasi-experimental studies that indicated no differences in nutrition knowledge or achievement between online and face-to-face learners. Results were inconclusive regarding student satisfaction, motivation, or perceptions.

This study documents that eventhough a number of components of nutrition education have been successfully included in online courses, there are still some areas that need improvement. Dr. Nancy Cohen, professor at the University of Massachusetts states, "Students can gain knowledge in online as well as in face to face nutrition courses, but satisfaction is mixed. Online learning has advantages such as overcoming time and distance barriers, capacity to share resources among colleges and universities to wide audiences, and the ability to use innovative multimedia and virtual instructional methods. However, if online courses are designed in such a way that traditional face to face methods like textbook readings, lectures, and examinations are published on the Internet without considering social isolation, de-individualized instruction, and using technology for the sake of technology, effective learning may not occur".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 8, 2011, 7:40 AM CT

The sorry state of health of US medicine

The sorry state of health of US medicine
As the debate about healthcare in the United States rages, four insightful articles in the March 2011 issue of The American Journal of Medicine strive to add reasoned arguments and empirical research findings to the dialog.

The issue leads off with the editorial, "The 800-Pound Gorilla in the Healthcare Living Room," by Journal Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joseph Alpert, Professor of Medicine, Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson. As a practicing doctor and medical educator, Dr. Alpert has first-hand experience with the current environment of medical therapy. In his view, "the most important deficit in our new healthcare legislation was the failure to address the 800-pound gorilla sitting squarely in the middle of the US healthcare system: the need for tort reform." He contrasts his own training at Harvard Medical School, where the rule for good patient care was "Don't order any test or intervention (medical or surgical) that has little or no chance of improving the patient's quality or length of life" against the current rule: "Order a huge array of tests, including radiographic imaging, to rule out every conceivable clinical condition including very unlikely diagnostic entities." Without meaningful reform to stem the tide of defensive medicine with its staggering volumes of unnecessary diagnostic testing, he believes that all attempts at controlling healthcare costs in the US will be doomed to failure.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 7:22 AM CT

Stroke patients benefit from family involvement

Stroke patients benefit from family involvement
Your family's involvement in your exercise treatment could significantly improve your function and recovery after stroke, as per a research studyin the March print issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Scientists observed that adding family-assisted exercise treatment to routine physical treatment after stroke improved motor function, balance, distance walked and ability to perform daily living activities. It also lowered the strain on the family member, who said participation lowered stress and was empowering.

"It's a win-win situation for everyone," said Emma Stokes, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator and Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. "People with stroke, their families and healthcare providers share in the benefit".

The study involved 40 male and female stroke survivors, all Caucasian. Half received routine exercise treatment, while the others received the FAmily Mediated Exercise intervention (FAME) in addition to routine treatment.

The routine exercise treatment group included seven men and 13 women, average age 70. The FAME group had 13 men and seven women, average age 63. Family members helped the stroke patient do exercises in 35-minute increments seven days per week for eight weeks to improve leg function. The exercises were simple enough to be done at the bedside, either at the hospital or at home. Exercise was tailored to each individual and modified weekly to reflect improvement. Scientists assessed the outcome of the two groups after the therapy period and at three-month follow-up.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 7:21 AM CT

Weight-loss surgery successful in adolescents

Weight-loss surgery successful in adolescents
Bariatric surgery refers to several different surgical procedures designed to assist weight loss by limiting the amount of food someone eats or the amount they absorb during digestion. It has been used for several years to treat obesity in adults. A newly released study reported in the journal Clinical Obesity reveals that bariatric surgery can result in significant weight loss in severely obese adolescents.

Led by Ange Aikenhead of the International Association for the Study of Obesity in London, England, scientists searched various databases for articles examining subjects less than 19 years of age reporting at least one postoperative weight loss measure and at least one year of postoperative follow-up.

Thirty-seven relevant papers on bariatric surgery effectiveness in 831 children or adolescents were included, spanning 36 years. Thirteen studies examined gastric banding, with mean BMI reductions ranging from 8.5 to 43 kg/m-2. Weight gain was reported in three studies. Three surgery-related mortalities were reported, and a range of postoperative complications were identified across surgery types. The majority of studies reported resolution or improvement of other conditions affecting the patients.

The current evidence suggests that bariatric surgery in older children results in significant weight loss and improvements in comorbidities and quality of life.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 7:14 AM CT

Protecting the brain from epileptic seizures

Protecting the brain from epileptic seizures
For years brain researchers have puzzled over the shadowy role played by the molecule putrescine, which always seems to be present in the brain following an epileptic seizure, but without a clear indication whether it was there to exacerbate brain damage that follows a seizure or protect the brain from it. A new Brown University study unmasks the molecule as squarely on the side of good: It seems to protect against seizures hours later.

Putrescine is one in a family of molecules called "polyamines" that are present throughout the body to mediate crucial functions such as cell division. Why they surge in the brain after seizures isn't understood. In a lengthy set of experiments, Brown neuroresearchers meticulously traced their activity in the brains of seizure-laden tadpoles. What they found is that putrescine ultimately converts into the neurotransmitter GABA, which is known to calm brain activity. When they caused a seizure in the tadpoles, they observed that the putrescine produced in a first wave of seizures helped tadpoles hold out longer against a second wave of induced seizures.

Carlos Aizenman, assistant professor of neuroscience and senior author of a study reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, said further research could ultimately produce a drug that targets the process, potentially helping young children with epilepsy. Tadpoles and toddlers aren't much alike, but this basic aspect of their brain chemistry is.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 7:08 AM CT

Gene responsible for severe osteoporosis

Gene responsible for severe osteoporosis
Researchers have identified a single mutated gene that causes Hajdu-Cheney syndrome, a disorder of the bones causing progressive bone loss and osteoporosis (fragile bones). The study, published in Nature Genetics today, gives vital insight into possible causes of osteoporosis and highlights the gene as a potential target for treating the condition.

There are only 50 reported cases of Hajdu-Cheney syndrome (HCS), of which severe osteoporosis is one of the major feature. Osteoporosis is a condition leading to reduction in bone strength and susceptibility to fractures. It is the most common bone disease, with one in two women and one in five men over 50 in the UK fracturing a bone because of the condition. This represents a major public health problem yet, until this study, possible genetic causes of osteoporosis were poorly understood.

The team of scientists, led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', set out to investigate the genetic cause of HCS in order to detect clues to the role genes might play in triggering osteoporosis.

Using a cutting edge technique for identifying disease-causing genes, known as exome sequencing, the team were able to identify NOTCH2 as the causative gene using DNA from just three unrelated HCS patients. The team then confirmed their findings in an additional 12 affected families, 11 of whom had an alteration in the identical portion of the same gene.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 7:06 AM CT

13 new genes to heart disease

13 new genes to heart disease
Insight into the complex biological mechanisms that cause heart disease has taken a major step forward with the discovery of 13 new genes that increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). The influence of the majority of the new genes is independent of other established risk factors, suggesting new, unsuspected causes of CAD. The discovery more than doubles the number of genes known to affect the progression of heart disease.

The research also verified the association of 10 previously identified genes to the population at large, meaning their influence is not confined to a specific population. Of the 23 genes discovered or confirmed, only 6 could be associated with known risk factors such as cholesterol and high blood pressure, underscoring the direct and indirect role that genes play in influencing the course and evolution of heart disease.

"This is a landmark result because we have identified so a number of genes and most operate using completely unknown mechanisms to us right now," said Dr. Robert Roberts, President and CEO, University of Ottawa Heart Institute. "It has opened up significant new avenues for new therapies and underlines the complexities of heart disease".

These discoveries were published online today in Nature Genetics by one of the world's largest consortiums examining the genetic basis of heart disease. More than 100 research organizations participated in the study, including such internationally-acclaimed centres as the University of Lubeck (Gera number of), Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, University of Iceland, Johns Hopkins University, University of Leeds (UK), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and others.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 7, 2011, 6:53 AM CT

Sleepy connected Americans

Sleepy connected Americans
poll released recently by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) finds pervasive use of communications technology in the hour before bed. It also finds that a significant number of Americans aren't getting the sleep they say they need and are searching for ways to cope.

A number of Americans report dissatisfaction with their sleep during the week.

The poll observed that 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night's sleep on weeknights. More than half (60%) say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night (i.e., snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling un-refreshed when they get up in the morning.)

About two-thirds (63%) of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. Most say they need about seven and a half hours of sleep to feel their best, but report getting about six hours and 55 minutes of sleep on average weeknights. About 15% of adults between 19 and 64 and 7% of 13-18 year olds say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights.

"This poll explores the association between Americans' use of communication technologies and sleep habits," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. "While these technologies are commonplace, it is clear that we have a lot more to learn about the appropriate use and design of this technology to complement good sleep habits.".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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