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Low-fat, High-carbohydrate Diet Does Not Cause Weight Gain
The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased dramatically during the past several decades, according to background information in the article. A number of popular diet books have suggested that increasing obesity may be attributed to the diets recommended for chronic disease prevention by various national health organizations, specifically, diets that are lower in total and saturated fat and high in carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains or fiber-rich foods. Proponents of the popular alternative diets have claimed that the higher proportion of carbohydrates in the standard diets may promote weight gain.
Barbara V. Howard, Ph.D., of the MedStar Research Institute, Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined long-term data on the relationships between weight changes and specific changes in dietary components and macronutrient composition. The data were from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification Trial, which was designed to examine the long-term benefits and risks of a dietary pattern low in fat, with increased vegetable, fruit, and grain intake, on breast and colorectal cancers and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Between 1993 and 1998, 48,835 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to either a low-fat dietary intervention or self-selected dietary control group. The data included body measurements and nutrient data through August 31, 2004, with an average follow-up of 7.5 years. Forty percent (19,541) of the participants were randomized to the intervention and 60 percent (29,294) to a control group. The intervention included group and individual sessions to promote a decrease in fat intake and increases in vegetable, fruit, and grain consumption and did not include weight loss or caloric restriction goals. The control group received diet-related education materials.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink
January 11, 2006, 7:37 PM CT
Elderly With Alcoholism And Heart Attack
Alcoholic patients were less likely than sober patients to receive beta-blocker drugs when they were discharged from the hospital, but there were no other significant therapy differences between the two groups. The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
"Alcohol-related diagnoses are not a barrier to receiving most quality of care measures in elderly patients hospitalized" for heart attack, David Fiellin, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine and his colleagues conclude.
The encouraging finding "speaks to the fact that there have been significant efforts across the board, in medicine in general, to monitor the provision of quality care," Fiellin said.
However, the scientists also note that the "overall provision of quality of care indicators was low," when measured across all patients.
Fiellin and his colleagues analyzed data for 155,026 Medicare patients age 65 and older admitted to a hospital with a heart attack. Only 1,284 of these patients also had an alcohol-related diagnosis on their medical records.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink
January 10, 2006, 6:38 PM CT
Americans Consume Too Much Salt
Eventhough people who already have high blood pressure, or hypertension, generally consume less sodium than others, their average daily intake is still far higher than recommended levels, according to lead researcher Umed Ajani, an epidemiologist with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Promotion.
Ajani and his colleagues analyzed data collected in 1999 and 2000 from a random sample of more than 4,000 Americans who were part of a regular government health survey. They found that 42 percent of those surveyed had high blood pressure. Incidence of hypertension is commonly about one-third for an average group, Ajani said.
"Perhaps the most striking finding is that no difference in sodium intake was observed between those who received advice. and those who did not," Ajani said.
Participants' sodium intake was computed from what they reported having eaten and drunk during the 24 hours before their interview.
People with high blood pressure took in 3,330 mg of sodium a day and people without high blood pressure consumed 3,600 mg a day, far more than the 2,400 mg maximum recommended by the American Heart Association and other groups.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink
January 7, 2006, 3:13 PM CT
Lifestyle Changes Improve Health Even Without Major Weight Loss
"The study shows, contrary to common belief, that Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be reversed solely through changes in lifestyle," according to lead researcher Christian Roberts of University of California, Los Angeles.
"This regimen reversed a clinical diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome in about half the participants who had either of those conditions. However, the regimen may not have reversed damage such as plaque development in the arteries," Roberts said. "However, if Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome continue to be controlled, further damage would likely be minimized and it's plausible that continuing to follow the program long-term may result in reversal of atherosclerosis".
"The results are all the more interesting because the changes occurred in the absence of major weight loss, challenging the usually held belief that individuals must normalize their weight before achieving health benefits," Roberts said. Participants did lose two to three pounds per week, but they were still obese after the 3-week study.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink
January 4, 2006
Mysterious multi-symptom condition among Persian Gulf vets
To be diagnosed with CMI, veterans must have had symptoms for more than six months in two or three of the following categories: fatigue; mood symptoms or difficulty thinking; and muscle or joint pain.
However, the study also found CMI in veterans who did not serve in the gulf, suggesting that the Persian Gulf conflict isn't the only trigger for CMI.
"We're not yet sure whether CMI is due to a single disease or pathological process," says lead author Melvin Blanchard, M.D., associate chief of medicine at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "But this study has identified an intriguing association between CMI risk and diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders previous to military service."
Other findings from the study include:
January 2, 2006, 9:55 PM CT
Molecular Imaging For Plaques
This is important news for about 14 million people in the United States who suffer from coronary artery disease and the 1.1 million who could experience heart attacks and death, noted Artiom Petrov, Ph.D., co-author of "Resolution of Apoptosis in Atherosclerotic Plaque by Dietary Modification and Statin Therapy." Atherosclerosis is the slow, progressive buildup of deposits called plaques on the inner walls of arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart, brain and other parts of the body. Over time, plaques-deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium-can narrow coronary arteries, allowing less blood to flow to the heart muscle. Rupture of these plaques may result in acute (sudden) events, such as heart attack and death.
More than two-thirds of acute coronary events result from rupture of coronary plaques, said Petrov, a researcher in the division of cardiology at the University of California at Irvine. These plaques are likely to have large lipid (fat) collections, which are often associated with hemorrhages and harbor significant inflammation, said Petrov, explaining that inflamed cells often undergo apoptosis or suicidal death. An international team of scientists used the radiolabeled protein annexin A5 for the noninvasive imaging of atherosclerotic plaques in experimental rabbit models, binding it to the cell membrane surfaces of dying cells. By using a nuclear medicine procedure and exploring the role of diet modification and use of statins, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs, scientists found that "the radiotracer uptake demonstrated a significant correlation with inflammatory cell prevalence and the magnitude of cell death in plaques," said Petrov.........
January 2, 2006, 9:48 PM CT
Obesity And Alzheimer's Disease
A team led by scientists at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia has shown that being extremely overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's. They found a strong correlation between body mass index and high levels of beta-amyloid, the sticky protein substance that builds up in the Alzheimer's brain and is thought to play a major role in destroying nerve cells and in cognitive and behavioral problems associated with the disease.
"We looked at the levels of beta-amyloid and found a relationship between obesity and circulating amyloid," says Sam E. Gandy, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences. "That's almost certainly why the risk for Alzheimer's is increased," says Dr. Gandy, who is also professor of neurology, and biochemistry and molecular biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. "Heightened levels of amyloid in the blood vessels and the brain indicate the start of the Alzheimer's process." The researchers reported their findings this month in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
According to, Dr. Gandy, evidence has emerged over the last five years that a number of of the conditions that raise the risk for heart disease such as obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia also increase the risk for Alzheimer's. Yet exactly how such factors made an individual more likely to develop Alzheimer's remained a mystery.........
December 30, 2005
Early Treatment Of Type 1 Diabetes Lowers Heart Risk
For the most part, it doesn't matter whether the mother is coached or not, the researchers report in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. And researchers noted that further study must be done to determine if bladder problems were permanent.
"Oftentimes, it's best for the patient to do what's more comfortable for her," said Dr. Steven Bloom, lead author of the paper and interim chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern.
In the study, UT Southwestern researchers focused on second-stage labor - the time in which the cervix is fully dilated and the baby begins to descend. This report follows an earlier one that found a rise in pelvic-floor problems among coached women.
The new study involved 320 women at Parkland Memorial Hospital who were giving birth for the first time, had uncomplicated pregnancies and did not receive epidural anesthesia. They were randomly assigned, with both groups tended by nurse-midwives. Of the two groups, 163 were coached to push for 10 seconds during a contraction, and 157 told to "do what comes naturally".
For women who were randomly assigned to the coaching group, the second stage of labor was shortened by 13 minutes, from 59 to 46 minutes.
"There were no other findings to show that coaching or not coaching was advantageous or harmful," Dr. Bloom said.
The earlier study, reported in the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, involved the same group of women. In it, researchers investigated whether coaching causes long-term problems to the mother's pelvic region.........
December 28, 2005
How a High-Fat Diet Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
In an article published in the December 29, 2005, issue of the journal Cell, the scientists report that knocking out a single gene encoding the enzyme GnT-4a glycosyltransferase (GnT-4a ) disrupts insulin production. Importantly, the researchers showed that a high-fat diet suppresses the activity of GnT-4a and leads to type 2 diabetes due to failure of the pancreatic beta cells.
"We have discovered a mechanistic explanation for beta cell failure in response to a high-fat diet and obesity, a molecular trigger which begins the chain of events leading from hyperglycemia to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes," said Jamey Marth, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Marth and first author Kazuaki Ohtsubo at UCSD collaborated on the studies with scientists from the Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., and the University of Fukui, both in Japan.
The discovery of the link between diet and insulin production offers new information that may aid in the development of therapys that target the early stages of type 2 diabetes. In its earliest phases, the disease causes failure of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas, which leads to elevated blood glucose levels. As the disease progresses, the insulin-secreting beta cells overcompensate for the elevated blood glucose, and eventually pump out too much insulin. This leads to insulin resistance and full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Worldwide, more than 200 million people have type 2 diabetes, and close to 20 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the disorder. The new studies suggest that people with an inherited predisposition to type 2 diabetes might have variations in the gene for GnT-4a, said the researchers.........
December 28, 2005
Counseling Encourages Exercise
Counseling generally encourages exercise, according to Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon of University College London and his colleagues. However, the scientists found no evidence that counseling can help people reach a specific exercise goal.
"More research is needed to establish which methods of exercise promotion work best in the long term to encourage different types of people to be more physically active," Hillsdon says, noting that most of the studies included in the review lasted less than a year.
The review appears in the recent issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.
Hillsdon and his colleagues reviewed 17 studies that included 6,255 healthy adults age 16 and older. All of the studies were randomized controlled trials that compared different ways to encourage sedentary adults to become more physically active.
The studies measured the effects of interventions such as individual and group counseling, telephone calls, written motivational materials and supervised and unsupervised exercise.
Hillsdon and his colleagues say continuing professional support combined with self-directed exercise may provide the most consistent results, but they acknowledge the studies vary too widely to recommend any single approach.........
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Did you know?
An advanced study launched at Yale School of Medicine is evaluating the role of statin therapy in patients with heart failure, one of the leading causes of hospitalization in people over age 65.While statins-drugs that inhibit cholesterol production in the liver-are used primarily to lower cholesterol levels, there is evidence that these drugs may also have beneficial effects on blood vessel function independent of cholesterol levels. Heart failure patients are known to have vascular dysfunction, but are impaired and not routinely considered for statin therapy. The Yale trial, "Short Term Effects of Statin on Vascular Function in Heart Failure," will assess vascular function before and after a short course of statin therapy in heart failure patients with normal cholesterol levels. The randomized trial will include 30 patients with mild to moderate chronic heart failure.
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