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December 4, 2007, 10:40 PM CT

Waistline growth on high-carb diets

Waistline growth on high-carb diets
Experts have been warning for years that foods loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and other processed carbohydrates are making us fatter. Now, a University of Wisconsin-Madison study has uncovered the genetic basis for why this is so.

Writing in the recent issue of Cell Metabolism, a team led by biochemistry and nutritional sciences professor James Ntambi reports that a gene in the liver, called SCD-1, is what causes mice to gain weight on a diet laden with carbohydrates. The gene encodes the enzyme SCD, whose job is to synthesize fatty acids that are a major component of fat.

When the researchers fed a starch- and sugar-rich diet to mice lacking SCD-1 in the liver, the extra carbohydrates were broken down rather than being converted into fat and stored - keeping the mice skinny. Meanwhile, control mice with normal gene activity grew plump on the same food.

"It looks like the SCD gene in the liver is responsible for causing weight gain in response to a high-carbohydrate diet, because when we take away the gene's activity the animals no longer gain the weight," says Ntambi. "These findings are telling us that the liver is a key tissue in mediating weight gain induced by excess carbohydrates".

The results could have implications for stemming the skyrocketing obesity problem in people, Ntambi adds. He explains that people pack on pounds in two ways, one of which is to eat extra fat, which then accumulates in adipose, or fat, tissue. But the main cause of weight gain is excess carbohydrates, because they trigger the body to produce new fat.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 4, 2007, 10:31 PM CT

Fitness level, not body fat

Fitness level, not body fat
Adults over age 60 who had higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness lived longer than unfit adults, independent of their levels of body fat, as per a research studyin the December 5 issue of JAMA.

Prior studies have provided evidence that obesity and physical inactivity each can produce a higher risk of death in middle-aged adults. Whether this is also true for elderly adults is uncertain, as per background information in the article.

Xuemei Sui, M.D., of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and his colleagues examined the associations between cardiorespiratory fitness, various clinical measures of adiposity (body fat) and death in older women and men. The study included 2,603 adults age 60 years or older (average age, 64.4 years; 19.8 percent women) enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study who completed a baseline health examination during 1979-2001. Fitness was assessed by a treadmill exercise test and adiposity was assessed by body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and percent body fat. Low fitness was defined as the lowest fifth of the sex-specific distribution of treadmill exercise test duration. There were 450 deaths during an average follow-up of 12 years.

The scientists observed that those who died were older, had lower fitness levels, and had more cardiovascular risk factors than survivors. However, there were no significant differences in adiposity measures. Participants in the higher fitness groups were for the most part less likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. Fit participants had lower death rates than unfit participants within each stratum of adiposity, except for two of the obesity groups. In most instances, death rates for those with higher fitness were less than half of rates for those who were unfit.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 2, 2007, 8:47 PM CT

Broccoli against devastating genetic skin disorder

Broccoli against devastating genetic skin disorder
The compound sulforaphane whose natural precursors are found at high levels in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables has been hailed for its chemopreventive powers against cancer. Now sulforaphane has demonstrated new skills in treating a genetic skin blistering disorder called epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS), Pierre Coulombe and his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore report at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting.

EBS is a rare but devastating inherited condition in which fluid-filled lesions called bullae appear at sites of frictional trauma to the skin. Unfortunately, therapy options for EBS are limited and palliative in nature. Much work remains to be done before sulforaphane can be tested clinically with EBS patients, but Coulombe notes that extracts from broccoli sprouts rich in sulforaphane have already been shown to be safe for use in human skin.

In EBS patients, the bottom layer of the epidermis, which is made of cells called keratinocytes, is uncommonly fragile and ruptures readily. Molecularly, most cases of EBS result from mutations in genes that produce the proteins keratin 5 (K5) and keratin 14 (K14). These proteins co-polymerize to form the intermediate filament cytoskeleton in basal keratinocytes. Since the discovery in 1991 that EBS is a keratin-based disease, more than 40 additional disorders affecting a broad range of tissues have been traced to defects in genes that encode intermediate filament proteins.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


December 1, 2007, 6:44 PM CT

Difficult Choice: Low-Calorie or Low Prices?

Difficult Choice: Low-Calorie or Low Prices?
High-calorie foods tend to cost less than lower-calorie items and are less likely to increase in price due to inflation a possible explanation for why the highest rates of obesity are seen among people in lower-income groups, as per scientists at the University of Washington.

High-calorie foods provide the most calories at the least cost, the scientists found in a survey of more than 370 food items at three Seattle-area supermarket chains. The lowest calorie-dense foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, while foods highest in calories include candy, pastries and other baked goods and snacks. The survey found low-calorie foods increased in price by 19.5 percent over a two-year period, while high-calorie items dropped in price by 1.8 percent.

The findings that energy-dense foods are not only the least expensive but also most resistant to inflation may help explain why the highest rates of obesity continue to be observed among groups of limited economic means, as per the researchers.

The scientists conclude: The sharp price increase observed for vegetables and fruit relative to fats and sweets suggest that the ability to adopt more-healthful diets may be limited by economic constraints.

Additional research articles in the December Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 1, 2007, 6:35 PM CT

Sleep-disorder obesity and African-Americans

Sleep-disorder obesity and African-Americans
As the obesity epidemic grows in the U.S., doctors are discovering more and more far reaching health concerns for overweight children. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), which can include various sleep behaviors ranging in severity from snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), disproportionately affects children who are overweight and African- American, as per a new study reported in the December 2007 edition of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can pose serious health threats, including high blood pressure and higher risk for cardiac disease.

Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond studied 299 children, ages 2 to 18 years old. The principal study group consisted of children scheduled to undergo adenotonsillectomy for therapy of SDB. The control group consisted of children presenting to a primary care pediatric clinic for well-child visits on randomly selected dates.

Each childs chart was evaluated for demographic data that included age, gender, race/ethnicity, height, and weight. Body mass index was calculated from the height and weight of each child.

Results showed that 46 percent of children scheduled for surgery for SDB were overweight, compared with 33 percent in the control group. This ratio is far less than would be expected in the general population, where obesity in children with SDB would occur approximately ten times more usually than obesity in the general pediatric population. A possible explanation for the smaller ratio of obesity in children with SDB in comparison to controls, is that there may be a lack of awareness of the link between obesity and SDB among primary healthcare providers and caregivers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 28, 2007, 9:54 PM CT

Physical Activity In Middle Age

Physical Activity In Middle Age
Scientists from the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, have concluded a study that proves a direct link between levels of physical activity in middle age and physical ability during the later part of life regardless of body weight.

Dr. Iain Lang headed the research team from the Epidemiology and Public Health Group at the Peninsula Medical School. The team observed that middle-aged people who maintained a reasonable level of physical activity were less likely to become unable to walk distances, climb stairs, maintain their sense of balance, stand from a seated position with their arms folded, or sustain their hand grip as they get older.

Research showed that, among men and women aged 50 to 69 years and across all weight ranges, the rate of decreased physical ability during the later part of life was twice as high among those who were less physically active.

The research team studied 8,702 participants in the US Health and Retirement Study and 1,507 people taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Each subject was followed for up to six years.

Findings showed that being overweight or obese was linked to an overall increased risk of physical impairment but that, regardless of weight, people who engaged in heavy housework or gardening, who played sport or who had a physically active job, were more likely to remain mobile during the later part of life.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 26, 2007, 3:55 PM CT

Link Between Obesity, Poor Bone Health

Link Between Obesity, Poor Bone Health
Being overweight is a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and a host of other health conditions. Now, a University of Georgia study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that obesity may also be bad for bone health.

Scientists conducted advanced three-dimensional bone scans on 115 women ages 18 and 19 with normal (less than 32 percent) and high (greater than 32 percent) body fat. After adjusting for differences in muscle mass surrounding the bone, the scientists observed that the bones of participants with high body fat were 8 to 9 percent weaker than those of normal body fat participants.

"Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and I think this study is critical because it highlights another potential negative health effect that people haven't considered," said co-author of study Richard D. Lewis, professor of foods and nutrition at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Prior studies on bone health and obesity used a two-dimensional bone densitometer that is usually used in osteoporosis screenings. Lewis explained that a notable shortcoming of the bone densitometer is that it does not take into account bone shape and geometry, which have a substantial influence on bone strength. The new study used a three-dimensional imaging technique that measures both the amount of mineral in the bone and its shape and geometry. The study observed that, surprisingly, normal- and high body-fat young adult females have comparable bone strength in a direct comparison that does not account for muscle mass.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 21, 2007, 5:13 AM CT

Regular Exercise Reduces Risk of Blood Clots

Regular Exercise Reduces Risk of Blood Clots
As per a new study published in Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, regular participation in sports reduces the risk of developing blood clots by 39 percent in women and 22 percent in men.

Scientists from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands reviewed 7,860 people aged 18-70. Patients who had suffered their first blood clot in a leg vein or lung artery were compared with control subjects who had never experienced blood clots. 31 percent of the patients and 40 percent of the control group participated in sports on a regular basis.

Overall figures for both sexes showed that participating in sports at least once per week, regardless of the type of sport or its intensity, reduced the risk of developing a blood clot in a lung artery by 46 percent and a blood clot in a leg vein by 24 percent.

"Women were shown to be even more likely to reap the benefits of regular sporting activities than men," says F.R. Rosendaal, co-author of the study. "When we excluded women who were pregnant or receiving oral contraceptive or hormone replacement treatment - all possible causes of blood clots - the risk for women was reduced by 55 percent".

The authors note that, while strenuous activity is known to increase the risk of blood clot development in the elderly, regular exercise is also shown to greatly benefit the heart, and that the net effect of elderly sports participation may be positive.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 19, 2007, 8:17 PM CT

Doubled calorie intake and obesity

Doubled calorie intake and obesity
Its not just sugary sodas that are adding to the obesity crisis its fruit drinks, alcohol and a combination of other high-calorie beverages, say University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health researchers. And during the holidays, when eggnog, cocktails and spiced cider are abundant, the problem can be even more apparent.

Over the past 37 years, the number of calories adults get through beverages has nearly doubled, as per a UNC study reported in the recent issue of Obesity Research by Kiyah J. Duffey, a doctoral candidate in the department of nutrition, and Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center.

The study used nationally representative data to quantify both trends and patterns in beverage consumption among 46,576 American adults aged 19 and older. Patterns and trends of all beverages adults consumed were examined between 1965 and 2002. Scientists observed that, over these 37 years, total daily intake of calories from beverages increased by 94 percent, providing an average 21 percent of daily energy intake among U.S. adults. That amounts to an additional 222 calories from all beverages daily.

Water intake was measured from 1989 to 2002, and during that time, the amount of water consumed stayed roughly the same, but the average adult consumed an additional 21 ounces per day of other beverages, Popkin said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 18, 2007, 9:09 PM CT

Pharmacotherapy for obesity and overweight

Pharmacotherapy for obesity and overweight
Patients taking anti-obesity drugs will only see modest weight loss and a number of will remain significantly obese or overweight, as per a research studypublished on bmj.com today.

The study, which looked at the long-term effectiveness of anti-obesity medications, observed that three drugs recommended for long-term use - orlistat, sibutramine and rimonabant, reduced weight by less than 5kg (11 pounds). This equated to a loss of less than 5% of total body weight. Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommend stopping the use of anti-obesity drugs if 5% of total body weight is not lost after three months.

While making changes to lifestyle and diet are recommended as the initial therapy for obesity, the use of anti-obesity drugs is common. Its estimated that in 2005 global sales of anti-obesity drugs reached $1.2billion. Current UK guidelines recommend using drug treatment in addition to making changes in lifestyle if a patient has a body mass index of greater than 30.

The Canadian scientists evaluated the evidence from thirty placebo-controlled trials where adults took anti-obesity drugs for a year or longer. The mean weight of the volunteers in all of the trials was 100kg (15.7 stone). The mean body mass index levels were 35 36.........

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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