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September 8, 2008, 6:28 PM CT

'Healthy' individuals may be at risk for heart disease

'Healthy' individuals may be at risk for heart disease
In the face of a growing obesity epidemic in the United States, scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have new study results that indicate that how much fat a person has is not as important as where that fat is located when assessing risk for cardiovascular events and metabolic disease.

"We are facing an obesity epidemic, which obviously affects a number of things metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, etc.," said Jingzhong Ding, M.D., lead researcher and an assistant professor of gerontology. "Now we are finding out that where the fat is distributed is of high importance."

The findings of the study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health, will appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition.

For the study, scientists used cardiac and Computerized axial tomography scans to measure multiple fat depots in 398 white and black participants from Forsyth County, N.C., ages 47-86. They observed that the amount of fat a person had deposited around organs and in between muscles (nonsubcutaneous fat) had a direct related to the amount of hard, calcified plaque they had. Calcified plaque itself is not considered risky, but it is linked to the development of atherosclerosis, or the presence of less stable, fatty deposits in the blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 8, 2008, 6:21 PM CT

Physical activity can blunt effect of obesity-related gene

Physical activity can blunt effect of obesity-related gene
High levels of physical activity can help to counteract a gene that normally causes people to gain weight, as per a new study by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. They analyzed gene variants and activity levels of the Old Order Amish in Lancaster County, Pa., and observed that the obesity-related FTO gene had no effect on individuals who were the most physically active.

"Our results strongly suggest that the increased risk of obesity due to genetic susceptibility can be blunted through physical activity," the authors conclude. "These findings emphasize the important role of physical activity in public health efforts to combat obesity, especially in genetically susceptible individuals." The results of the study are being reported in the Sept. 8, 2008, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine

Soren Snitker, M.D., Ph.D., the senior author and an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, "Our study shows that a high level of physical activity can 'level the playing field,' equalizing the risk of obesity between those who have copies of the FTO gene variant and those who don't".

The FTO gene recently has been associated with obesity and increased body mass index, or BMI, in several large-scale studies. More than half of all people of European descent have one or two copies of a variation of this gene, British researchers reported last year. Individuals with two.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 3, 2008, 6:51 PM CT

Higher protein breakfast may help dieters stay on track

Higher protein breakfast may help dieters stay on track
A new study published online today in the British Journal of Nutrition observed that timing of dietary protein intake affects feelings of fullness throughout the day. The study concluded that when people ate high-quality protein foods, from sources such as eggs and lean Canadian bacon, for breakfast they had a greater sense of sustained fullness throughout the day in comparison to when more protein was eaten at lunch or dinner.i .

"There is a growing body of research which supports eating high-quality protein foods when dieting to maintain a sense of fullness," said Wayne W. Campbell, PhD, study author and professor of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University. "This study is especially unique in that it looked at the timing of protein intake and reveals that when you consume more protein may be a critical piece of the equation".

A Closer Look at the Study
The study included overweight or obese men who ate a reduced calorie diet. The diet consisted of two variations of protein intakes, both which were within federal nutrition recommendations: normal protein intake (11-14 percent of calories) or increased protein (18-25 percent of calories). The scientists tested the effect of consuming the additional protein at specific meals breakfast, lunch or dinner or spaced evenly throughout the day.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 13, 2008, 0:45 AM CT

In the long run, exertion regulation wins

In the long run, exertion regulation wins
Long-distance running is widely seen as one of the great physical challenges a human can undertake and as the 2008 Summer Olympics commence in Beijing on August 8, a number of eager sports fans will await with baited breath the last event of the Games the men's marathon, held on August 24. For these armchair fans, how marathon runners can complete the gruelling, 42.195 km event physically and mentally may seem like a great mystery.

Now, reporting in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, Jonathan Esteve-Lanao and Alejandro Lucia at the European University of Madrid and his colleagues at the VU University-Amsterdam and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse describe their investigation of the physiological methods employed by well-trained runners in order to regulate the great physical strain and effort that are needed in order to complete and perform well in marathons and other endurance challenges.

In order to measure the exercise intensity undergone by male runners of various abilities, Esteve-Lanao and his colleagues reviewed the heart rate response of 211 middle- and long-distance runners during running competitions ranging in length from five to 100 km. These runners were not elite performers but all were serious competitors and some had enjoyed success in regional competitions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 13, 2008, 0:42 AM CT

Poor coordination in childhood is linked to obesity

Poor coordination in childhood is linked to obesity
Poor physical control and coordination in childhood are associated with an increased risk of obesity in later life, suggests a study published on BMJ.com today.

The research contributes to a growing body of evidence on the link between poorer cognitive function in childhood and obesity and type 2 diabetes in adults.

The findings are based on 11 042 individuals, who are part of the ongoing National Child Development Study in Great Britain, which began in 1958.

7990 participants were assessed by teachers at age 7 years to identify poor ability in hand control, coordination, and clumsiness, and 6875 were tested for hand control and coordination at age 11 by a doctor. Tests included copying a simple design to measure accuracy, marking squares on paper within a minute, and the time in seconds it took to pick up 20 matches.

At age 33 body mass index (BMI) was measured. Obesity was defined as a BMI of 30 or over.

The analysis showed that at age 7 years poor hand control, poor coordination, and clumsiness occurred more often among individuals who would be obese adults. In addition, poorer function at age 11 was linked to obesity at age 33.

These findings held true after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results, such as childhood body mass and family social class.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 29, 2008, 11:52 PM CT

Obesity predisposition traced to the brain's reward system

Obesity predisposition traced to the brain's reward system
The tendency toward obesity is directly correlation to the brain system that is involved in food reward and addictive behaviors, as per a new study. Scientists at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and his colleagues have demonstrated a link between a predisposition to obesity and defective dopamine signaling in the mesolimbic system in rats. Their report appears in the August 2008 issue of The FASEB Journal

The mesolimbic system is a system of neurons in the brain that secretes dopamine, a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger, which mediates emotion and pleasure. The release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the mesolimbic system is traditionally linked to euphoria and considered to be the major neurochemical signature of drug addiction.

"Baseline dopamine levels were 50 percent lower and stimulated dopamine release was significantly attenuated in the brain reward systems of obesity-prone rats, compared with obesity-resistant rats. Defects in brain dopamine synthesis and release were evident in rats immediately after birth," said Emmanuel Pothos, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at TUSM and member of the neuroscience program faculty of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 29, 2008, 11:50 PM CT

Fat around the heart

Fat around the heart
When it comes to risk for a heart attack, having excess fat around the heart may be worse than having a high body mass index or a thick waist, as per scientists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and his colleagues reporting in the recent issue of the journal Obesity

The study was among the first to explore whether there is a link between fat deposits around the heart, known according toicardial fat, and the development of hard, calcified plaque in the arteries. Calcified plaque itself is not considered risky, but it is linked to the presence of less stable fatty deposits that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

"The distribution of body fat may be as important as the amount of body fat in determining risk of heart attacks," said Jingzhong Ding, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of gerontology. "Even a thin person can have fat around the heart".

The scientists examined data from the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a $68 million study involving 6,800 participants nationwide, to explore their hypothesis that fat around the arteries in the heart contributes to inflammation and to increased risk of fatty deposits in the vessels.

In addition to its role as energy storage, fat is considered to be an "organ" that produces proteins and hormones that affect metabolism and health. Ding's study is based on a new idea in medicine that excess fat around the heart and other organs may impair their function. Pericardial fat, or stores of fat around the heart, is known to have a higher secretion of inflammatory cytokines, proteins that regulate inflammation, than fat stored just under the skin. The researchers suspect that constant exposure of inflammatory proteins produced by fat around the heart may accelerate the development of atherosclerosis.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 23, 2008, 4:46 PM CT

Why eating less can help the environment

Why eating less can help the environment
An estimated 19 percent of total energy used in the USA is taken up in the production and supply of food. Currently, this mostly comes from non-renewable energy sources which are in short supply. It is therefore of paramount importance that ways of reducing this significant fuel consumption in the US food system are found. In a paper (1) just reported in the Springer journal Human Ecology, David Pimentel and colleagues at Cornell University in New York set out many strategies which could potentially cut fossil energy fuel use in the food system by as much as 50 percent.

The first, and very astute suggestion they put forward is that individuals eat less, particularly considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, a staggering 1200-1500 calories over recommendations. Traditional American diets are high in animal products, and junk and processed foods in particular, which by their nature use more energy than that used to produce staple foods such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables. By just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health.

Further savings are possible in the food production industry. The authors suggest that moving towards more traditional, organic farming methods would help because conventional meat and dairy production is extremely energy intensive. Similarly, in crop production, reduced pesticide use, increased use of manure, cover crops and crop rotations improve energy efficiency.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 23, 2008, 4:43 PM CT

Want a reason to love your lower belly fat?

Want a reason to love your lower belly fat?
Fat removed from the lower abdomen and inner thigh through liposuction was found to be an excellent source of stem cells, with higher stem cell concentrations than other areas of the body, reports a Brazilian-based study in August's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This is the first study of its kind to examine whether fat tissues from different areas of the body vary in stem cell concentration.

"Adult stem cells, derived from our own tissues, hold strong promise for improved clinical therapies," said J. Peter Rubin, MD, a member of the ASPS Fat Grafting Task Force who is involved in pre-clinical trial work on stem cells taken from fat. "The potential for healing and repairing injury or disease through stem cells, including conditions like breast cancer and reconstruction, heart failure, spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson's disease are incredible. We may be able to more permanently and naturally get rid of pesky wrinkles or augment breasts with stem cell enriched fat in the future as well. Knowing more about the biology of stem cells will be of great value when we are ready for clinical trials in this country".

In the study, 23 female patients having liposuction in at least four different body areas agreed to have their fat isolated for adult stem cells and analyzed to determine stem cell concentrations. The body areas that were liposuctioned were: lower abdomen, upper abdomen, inner knee, inner thigh, flank and hips.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 23, 2008, 4:40 PM CT

Giving The Right Exercise Advice

Giving The Right Exercise Advice
It is common knowledge that regular exercise supports physical and mental well-being. Despite this and recommendations from health care providers, the majority of patients with chronic illnesses remain inactive. In a new study, University of Missouri scientists observed that adults with chronic illness who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels. In contrast, interventions based on cognitive approaches, which attempt to change knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, and are most usually used by health care providers, did not improve physical activity.

"The information that physicians are giving patients isn't working. Patients are not motivated when they hear 'exercise is good; it will improve your health.' What works is providing patients with simple, action-orientated strategies to increase their activity levels," said Vicki Conn, professor and associate dean of research in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

Behavior strategies include feedback, goal setting, self-monitoring, and stimulus or cues. Self-monitoring, any method where participants record and track their activity over time, significantly increased awareness and provided motivation for improvement, Conn said.........

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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