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March 30, 2009, 5:05 AM CT

Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity

Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity
As childhood obesity continues its thirty-year advance from occasional curiosity to cultural epidemic, health care providers are struggling to find out whyand the reasons are a number of. Increasingly sedentary environments for both adults and children, as well as cheap and ubiquitous processed foods no doubt play a role, but scientists are finding more evidence that the first clues for childhood obesity appears to begin as far back as early infancy.

A newly released study led by scientists in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as well as Children's Hospital Boston, has observed that rapid weight gain during the first six months of life may place a child at risk for obesity by age 3.

"There is increasing evidence that rapid changes in weight during infancy increase children's risk of later obesity," says main author Elsie Taveras, assistant professor in the HMS Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention and co-director of the One Step Ahead clinic, a pediatric overweight prevention program at Children's Hospital Boston. "The mounting evidence suggests that infancy appears to be a critical period during which to prevent childhood obesity and its related consequences."

These findings are reported in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 30, 2009, 5:04 AM CT

Multiple births and postpartum blues

Multiple births and postpartum blues
Mothers of multiples have 43 percent increased odds of having moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after giving birth in comparison to mothers of single-born children, as per scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scientists examined the relationship between multiple births and maternal depressive symptoms and observed that multiple births increased the odds of maternal depression, and that few mothers with depressive symptoms, regardless of the multiple births status, reported talking to a mental health specialist or a general medical provider. The results are reported in the April 1, 2009, issue of Pediatrics

"Our findings suggest that 19 percent of mothers of multiples had moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after delivery, in comparison to 16 percent among mothers of singletons," said Yoonjoung Choi, DrPH, main author of the study and a research associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Mothers with a history of hospitalization due to mental health problems or a history of alcohol or drug abuse also had significantly increased odds. Non-Hispanic black mothers had higher odds in comparison to non-Hispanic white mothers. Mothers who were currently married, Hispanic, or with a high household socioeconomic status were less likely to have depressive symptoms".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 30, 2009, 5:02 AM CT

Why mostly women get lupus?

Why mostly women get lupus?
In an international human genetic study, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a gene associated with the autoimmune disease lupus, and its location on the X chromosome might help explain why females are 10 times more susceptible to the disease than males.

Identifying this gene, IRAK1, as a disease gene may also have therapeutic implications, said Dr. Chandra Mohan, professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study. "Our work also shows that blocking IRAK1 action shuts down lupus in an animal model. Though a number of genes appears to be involved in lupus, we only have very limited information on them," he said.

The study appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Locating IRAK1 on the X chromosome also represents a breakthrough in explaining why lupus seems to be sex-linked, Dr. Mohan said. For decades, scientists have focused on hormonal differences between males and females as a cause of the gender difference, he pointed out.

"This first demonstration of an X chromosome gene as a disease susceptibility factor in human lupus raises the possibility that the gender difference in rates may in part be attributed to sex chromosome genes," Dr. Mohan said.

Systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus for short, causes a wide range of symptoms such as rashes, fever or fatigue that make it difficult to diagnose.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 29, 2009, 10:34 PM CT

Role of enzyme and vitamin in asthma

Role of enzyme and vitamin in asthma
The allergen breathed in by a person with asthma triggers a proteinase or enzyme called MMP7 that activates a cascade of events to prompt an allergic reaction, said a consortium of scientists led by Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in Houston in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature Immunology

In particular, MMP7 activates interleukin 25, a key mediator of the allergic response in the lung said Drs. Farrah Kheradmand (http://www.bcm.edu/medicine/pulmonary/?pmid=4832) and David B. Corry (http://www.bcm.edu/medicine/pulmonary/?pmid=4828), associate professors of medicine-pulmonary at BCM, and senior authors of the report.

In the same report, the scientists report that they have identified a form of vitamin A made in the lung that is critical for dampening the inflammatory effect. Mice that lack MMP7 were found to have higher production of retinal dehydrogenase, an enzyme that is responsible for synthesizing vitamin A in the lung. MMP7 deficient mice showed less lung inflammation when they are exposed to allergens than did mice who had enough MMP7. Suppressing the production of vitamin A restored the asthmatic symptoms in the MMP7 deficient mice.

"It is important to know which mediators in the airway appears to be setting off the initial cascade of events that result in the asthmatic reaction in the lung; it would be like getting to the top of the food chain," they said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 29, 2009, 10:32 PM CT

Drug therapy for exercise-induced arrhythmias

Drug therapy for exercise-induced arrhythmias
A 12-year-old Dutch boy bedridden for three years because of an inherited cardiac arrhythmia syndrome can now join his friends on the soccer field thanks to a discovery made by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers.

The investigators, led by Bjrn Knollmann, M.D., Ph.D., report this week in Nature Medicine that the clinically available drug flecainide prevents potentially lethal arrhythmias in patients with a specific type of exercise or stress-induced arrhythmia disorder called CPVT.

"It's potentially a breakthrough in the therapy of this rare syndrome," said Knollmann, associate professor of Medicine and Pharmacology.

Patients with CPVT experience abnormally rapid heart rates (tachycardia), commonly during exercise or stress, and are at risk for fainting and cardiac arrest. The syndrome kills up to 50 percent of untreated patients, and it may account for some unexplained sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.

Current therapy has been limited to two medications beta blockers, often used at very high doses, and calcium channel blockers to control the arrhythmias. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are placed in patients at high risk for sudden death, but ongoing arrhythmias can result in frequent stressful shocks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 27, 2009, 5:28 AM CT

Zopiclone over use and impaired decision making

Zopiclone over use and impaired decision making
A newly released study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health shows a positive link between the amount of the hypnotic (sleeping medicine) zopiclone in the blood and the chance of being assessed as impaired in a clinical examination. The study also included drivers who only showed alcohol in their blood test.

- This could be important background knowledge in the discussion about establishing legal limits in traffic for sedatives or sleep-inducing medicines as we have for alcohol, says Ingebjørg Gustavsen from the Division for Forensic Toxicology and Drug Research.

Common sleeping medicines

Hypnotics that contain zopiclone and zolpidem (e.g. Imovane® and Stilnoct®) are widely used throughout the world and it is reported that between 3 and 7 % of the adult population uses these drugs. Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have now studied if there is a link between the concentration of zopiclone or zolpidem in the blood and being assessed as impaired during a clinical examination. The study was done on anonymised material by comparing blood samples and results from clinical tests for the period January 2000 to December 2007. The same study waccording toformed on another group of drivers who only had alcohol in the blood.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 27, 2009, 5:24 AM CT

Why African-Americans have lower rate of liver disease?

Why  African-Americans have lower rate of liver disease?
Researchers, including Drs. Jeffrey Browning (left) and Richard Guerrero, have demonstrated that where different ethnic groups store fat in their bodies may account for variations in the rates those groups develop insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Where different ethnic groups store fat in their bodies may account for differences in the likelihood they'll develop insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

As per research published in the online edition and the recent issue of Hepatology, African-Americans with insulin resistance might harbor factors that protect them from this form of metabolic liver disease.

Despite similarly high rates of associated risk factors such as insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes among African-Americans and Hispanics, African-Americans are less likely than Hispanics to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. Typically the disease is characterized by high levels of triglycerides in the liver and affects as a number of as one-third of American adults.

"If we can identify the factors that protect African-Americans from this liver disease, we appears to be able to extrapolate those to other populations and perhaps develop targeted therapies to help populations prone to NAFLD," said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor of internal medicine in the UT Southwestern Advanced Imaging Research Center and the study's senior author.

Prior research has shown that when African-Americans do develop NAFLD, they're less likely to reach the later stages of liver disease. Previous work by Dr. Browning and other UT Southwestern researchers has revealed that NAFLD is more prevalent among Hispanics than African-Americans or Caucasians.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:56 PM CT

Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease

Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease
This animal, whose giant axon (nerve cell) is visible to the naked eye, has long been used for neuroscience research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Credit: Roger Hanlon



IMAGE:


Tiny, toxic protein particles severely disrupt neurotransmission and inhibit delivery of key proteins in Alzheimer's disease, two separate studies by Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) scientists have found.

The particles are minute clumps of amyloid beta, which has long been known to accumulate and form plaques in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.

"These small particles that haven't aggregated into plaquesthese are increasingly being seen as the really toxic species of amyloid beta," says Scott Brady of University of Illinois College of Medicine, who has been an MBL investigator since 1982.

Brady and colleagues observed that these particles inhibit neurons from communicating with each other and with other target cells in the body.

"The disease symptoms for Alzheimer's are associated not with the death of the neurons that is a very late event but with the loss of functional connections. It's when the neuron is no longer talking to its targets that you start to get the memory deficits and dementia linked to the disease," Brady says.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:53 PM CT

Anorexia and psychiatric disorders

Anorexia and psychiatric disorders
Credit: Ben Kokolas
The study was initiated in 1985. A total of 51 teenagers with anorexia nervosa were studied, together with an equally large control group of healthy persons. The groups have been investigated and compared several times as the years have passed.

"This study is unique in an international perspective. It is the only study in the world that reflects the natural course of anorexia nervosa in the population", says Elisabet Wentz, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The research group has published new results from the study in two scientific journals: the British Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Eating Disorders

Three women have not yet recovered from anorexia, 18 years after the start of the study. Thirteen people, or around 25%, are on disability benefit or have been signed off sick for more than six months due to an eating disorder or other psychiatric disorder. Thirty-nine percent have at least one other psychiatric disorder, in addition to the eating disorder. The most common of these is obsessive compulsive disorder.

But the results also contain some positive surprises.

"Prior studies have shown that anorexia is a diagnosis with a very poor prognosis, with as a number of as one in five patients dying as a result of the disease. In contrast, we have not had a single death among the subjects of our study", says Elisabet Wentz.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 26, 2009, 9:47 PM CT

Public transit may help you keep fit

Public transit may help you keep fit
A newly released study by scientists at the University of British Columbia suggests taking public transit may help you keep fit.

The study, reported in the Journal of Public Health Policy, finds that people who take public transit are three times more likely than those who don't to meet the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's suggested daily minimum of physical activity.

Doctoral student Ugo Lachapelle and Assoc. Prof. Lawrence Frank of the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning used 4,156 travel surveys from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, to examine whether transit and car trips were linked to meeting the recommended levels of physical activity by walking.

Because transit trips by bus and train often involve walking to and from stops, the study observed that users are more likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week.

As per the study, people who drove the most were the least likely to meet the recommended level of physical activity.

"The idea of needing to go to the gym to get your daily dose of exercise is a misperception," says Frank, the J. Armand Bombardier Chairholder in Sustainable Transportation and a researcher at the UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. "These short walks throughout our day are historically how we have gotten our activity. Unfortunately, we've engineered this activity out of our daily lives".........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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