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January 30, 2008, 9:06 PM CT

CHD Patients Continue With Poor Diet

CHD Patients Continue With Poor Diet
More than 13 million Americans have survived a heart attack or have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD), the number one cause of death in the United States. In addition to medications, changes in lifestyle, such as a healthy diet and exercise, are known to reduce the risk for subsequent cardiac events. Despite this evidence, a high proportion of heart attack survivors do not follow their doctor's advice to adhere to a healthy diet, as per scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).

A number of studies have centered on determining dietary risk factors for developing CHD, but few investigations have studied the diets of CHD patients following diagnosis. In "Dietary Quality 1 Year after Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease," reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, scientists measured the diet quality of 555 CHD patients one year after a diagnostic coronary angiography. Using the Alternative Health Eating Index (AHEI) to assess diet quality, they observed that a high proportion of those patients had not made the necessary improvements to their diets to help reduce the risk of a secondary CHD event. Proven to be a strong predictor of CHD, the AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly associated with CHD risk reduction.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 17, 2008, 10:14 PM CT

ESF's workshop restores good name of sugar

ESF's workshop restores good name of sugar
Sugars were once credited with magical healing powers but are now seen like salt as an evil necessary in small doses but the cause of numerous diseases such as diabetes if taken in excess. Yet latest research suggests this view ignores the vital role played by more complex sugars in a number of biological structures, and the great therapeutic potential they have.

This all emerged in a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) on the current state of the art in glycoscience, the study of complex sugars in biology. Delegates heard how glycoscience has become one of the hotbeds of biological and medical research, intimately involved in every aspect of metabolism and immune function. The big challenge now is to coordinate research in the field, bring together the relevant specialisms, and determine where to go next, as per the ESF workshops convenor, Tony Merry from Manchester University in the UK. There is so much progress in the field it is a bit difficult to predict where the greatest impact will be, said Merry.

The key point is that complex sugars are involved every time cells, and smaller structures within cells, communicate or bind with each other. This means they play a major part in all processes, including immune recognition and brain functions such as memory. It also means complex carbohydrates are often implicated in diseases where these functions go wrong, including auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as some cancers. The immune response often depends on the identity and location of sugars on antigens, which are the surface molecules on pathogens such as bacteria, or in principle any cells or smaller biological components such as protein complexes, that are recognised by the bodys own machinery for detecting foreign bodies. Complex sugars such as polysaccharides are core components of antigens, alongside lipids (fatty compounds) and proteins. These antigens in effect determine the outcome of an infectious disease and the response by the host organism such as human - structural differences between these antigens often account for the inability of a number of diseases to cross from one animal species to another and this is exemplified in the case of influenza where key molecules on the virus interacty with different complex sugars in birds and humans.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 5:02 PM CT

Weight-loss Tips Differ In African-american

Weight-loss Tips Differ In African-american
Magazines catering to African-Americans may be falling short in their efforts to educate readers about weight loss, a new University of Iowa study suggests.

African-American women's magazines are more likely to encourage fad diets and reliance on faith to lose weight, while mainstream women's magazines focus more on evidence-based diet strategies, as per the study by UI researcher Shelly Campo, published in a recent issue of the journal Health Communication.

"Three-quarters of African-American women are considered overweight or obese, in comparison to one-third of all U.S. women," said Campo, an assistant UI professor with appointments in community and behavioral health in the College of Public Health and communication studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "African-American magazines tend to embrace a mission of advocacy for the African-American community, but if you're not covering evidence-based weight-loss strategies, you're not really helping your community".

Campo and co-author Teresa Mastin, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing at Michigan State University, analyzed 406 fitness and nutrition articles published between 1984 and 2004 in three major African-American women's magazines -- Ebony, Essence and Jet -- and three popular mainstream women's magazines -- Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, and Ladies' Home Journal.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 4:56 PM CT

Body weight influenced by thousands of genes

Body weight influenced by thousands of genes
Reporting in the online journal BMC Genetics, scientists from the Monell Center have for the first time attempted to count the number of genes that contribute to obesity and body weight.

The findings suggest that over 6,000 genes about 25 percent of the genome help determine an individuals body weight.

Reports describing the discovery of a new obesity gene have become common in the scientific literature and also the popular press, notes Monell behavioral geneticist Michael G. Tordoff, PhD, an author on the study.

Our results suggest that each newly discovered gene is just one of the a number of thousands that influence body weight, so a quick fix to the obesity problem is unlikely.

To obtain an estimate of how a number of genes contribute to body weight, the Monell scientists surveyed the Jackson Laboratory Mouse Genome Database for information on body weights of knockout mouse strains.

Knockout mice have had a specific gene inactivated, or "knocked out. By studying how the knockout mice differ from normal mice, scientists obtain information about that genes function and how it might contribute to disease. Mice can provide valuable information on human disease because they share a number of genes with humans.

The knockout approach is so useful that the inventors of the technology were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Knockout mice are now standard tools in all mouse models of behavior and disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 3:41 PM CT

Causes and consequences of childhood obesity?

Causes and consequences of childhood obesity?
The January 2008 special issue of The Annals, published by SAGE, explores the problem of obesity in the young, providing kids, their parents and caregivers a road map for a healthier lifestyle both for them and for future generations. From agreeing on the terminology to use, to possible public policy options, the articles in the special issue provide hope that this alarming crisis can be diffused, investigating such subjects as:
  • The environment of the developing child, including the home, school and neighborhood.
  • Parenting styles.
  • Food and beverage marketing in schools and in the media.
  • Intervention and prevention.


Clearly we need to help the 9 million children in this country who are overweight, and we need to do it now, writes Amy Jordan, Guest Editor, author, and director of the Media and the Developing Child sector of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The authors in this special issue provide a research agenda that, if implemented, will continue the interdisciplinary approach we have taken to understand the problem of childhood overweight and obesity and the collective effort we will need to solve it.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 10, 2008, 11:08 PM CT

Warning over severe weight loss caused by chewing gum

Warning over severe weight loss caused by chewing gum
In this weeks BMJ, doctors warn of excess sorbitol intake, a widely used sweetener in sugar-free products such as chewing gum and sweets.

Sorbitol has laxative properties and is poorly absorbed by the small intestine.

Their advice follows the cases of two patients with chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pain and severe weight loss. Eventhough extensive investigations were carried out, final diagnosis was only established after detailed analysis of eating habits.

On questioning, both patients admitted consuming substantial amounts of sugar-free gum and sweets.

The first patient (a 21 year old woman) chewed large amounts of sugar-free gum, accounting for a total daily dose of 18-20g sorbitol (one stick of chewing gum contains about 1.25g sorbitol). The second patient (a 46 year old man) reported chewing 20 sticks of sugar-free gum and eating up to 200g of sweets each day, which together contained around 30g sorbitol.

After both patients started a sorbitol free diet, diarrhoea subsided, normal bowel movements resumed and weight gain was achieved.

As possible side effects are commonly found only within the small print on foods containing sorbitol, consumers may be unaware of its laxative effects and fail to recognise a link with their gastrointestinal problems, write the authors.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 10, 2008, 10:38 PM CT

Eat less or exercise more?

Eat less or exercise more?
Overweight people who lose a moderate amount of weight get an immediate benefit in the form of better heart health, as per a research studyconducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. And the heart improvements happen whether that weight is shed by eating less or exercising more.

"If individuals want to do something that's good for their heart, then my message to them is lose weight by the method they find most tolerable," says the study's senior author Sndor J. Kovcs, Ph.D, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Biophysics Laboratory and professor of medicine. "They're virtually guaranteed that it will have a salutary effect on their cardiovascular system".

Studying a group of healthy, overweight but not obese, middle-aged men and women, the scientists observed that a yearlong regimen of either calorie restriction or exercise increase had positive effects on heart function. Their analysis revealed that heart function was restored to a more youthful state so that during the heart's filling phase (called diastole) it took less time for participants' hearts to relax and fill with blood. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physiology and are now available online.

"As we get older, our tissues become more fibrotic as collagen fibers accumulate," says co-author of study John O. Holloszy, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science. "So the arteries and heart muscle stiffen, and the heart doesn't relax as well after contracting. Similar studies that we've conducted with members of the Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition Society (CRONies) show they have heart function resembling much younger people." CRONies voluntarily consume about 25 percent fewer calories than the average American while still maintaining good nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2008, 9:18 PM CT

Teen girls who regularly eat family meals

Teen girls who regularly eat family meals
Adolescent girls who frequently eat meals with their families appear less likely to use diet pills, laxatives, or other extreme measures to control their weight five years later, as per research led by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., lead investigator of Project Eating Among Teens (Project EAT) at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Neumark-Sztainer and Project EAT colleagues studied 2,516 adolescents at 31 Minnesota schools over the course of five years. Participants completed two surveysan in-class survey in 1999 and a mailed survey in 2004regarding how often they ate with their families as well as their body mass index, feelings of family connectedness, and eating behaviors.

Among teen girls, those who ate five or more meals with their families each week in 1999 were significantly less likely to report using extreme measuresincluding binge eating and self-induced vomitingto control their weight in 2004, regardless of their sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, or family connectedness. Among adolescent boys, regular family meals did not predict lower levels of disordered eating behaviors five years later.

The reasons for the gender differences are unclear. Boys who engage in regular family meals may be different in some way that increases their risk for disordered eating behaviors. It is also possible that adolescent boys and girls have different experiences at family meals. For example, girls may have more involvement in food preparation and other food-related tasks, which may play a protective role in the development of disordered eating behaviors. Girls also may be more sensitive to, and likely to be influenced by, interpersonal and familial relationships present at family meals than adolescent boys.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 10:02 PM CT

Exercise Reduces Menopausal Anxiety

Exercise Reduces Menopausal Anxiety
With more menopausal women seeking natural therapies to ease symptoms, a new study has observed that simply adding a brisk walking routine can reduce a variety of psychological symptoms such as anxiety, stress and depression. The research is reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"With the aging population, physical activity represents one way for women to stay mentally healthy. Physical activity can help throughout the menopausal transition and afterwards," said Temple University public health researcher Deborah Nelson, Ph.D, the study's lead author.

From 1996 to 1997, 380 women living in Philadelphia were recruited and they have been followed for more than eight years. The women reported their physical activity level and menopausal symptoms including stress, anxiety, depression and hot flashes.

The average age at the beginning of the study was 42 -years -old; 49 percent were African American, 58 percent reported more than a high school education, and 38 percent smoked cigarettes.

"We recruited African-American and Caucasian women living in Philadelphia for this study to better represent the large population of urban women. These results can be generalizable to both urban Caucasian and African-American women, groups of women that have been under-represented in prior studies," Nelson said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 9:13 PM CT

Thyroid treatment no 'quick fix' for weight loss

Thyroid treatment no 'quick fix' for weight loss
Children treated for hypothyroidism aren't likely to drop pounds with therapy for the condition says a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study is the first to examine the link between hypothyroidism therapy and weight loss in pediatric patients.

Parents of overweight children often desire a quick fix for the problem and request thyroid tests, but, unfortunately, screening for hypothyroidism is not the answer," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jefferson P. Lomenick, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics' Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. "Most experts agree thyroid function tests are generally unnecessary in an overweight child if he/she has normal linear growth and no other symptoms of hypothyroidism. The results of our study support this.

The study followed 68 children with acquired hypothyroidism treated in the pediatric endocrinology clinic at Kentucky Childrens Hospital from 1995 to 2006. Most of the subjects had severe cases of hypothyroidism. Scientists found therapy with levo-thyroxine, which normalized the childrens thyroid levels, did not lower weight or BMI from baseline to any time point measured, either short-term or long-term.

"These findings were true for the group as a whole, as well as those children who were overweight," Lomenick said. "In fact, the entire group of 68 subjects actually gained 2.4 pounds by the first follow up visit despite their therapy. We did find that about a third of the children experienced weight loss by the second visit. However, these subjects had extremely severe cases of hypothyroidism, far worse than the children who did not lose weight, and they didnt lose that much, only about five pounds.........

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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