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June 4, 2008, 11:04 PM CT

Brief, intense exercise benefits the heart

Brief, intense exercise benefits the heart
Short bursts of high intensity sprints known to benefit muscle and improve exercise performancecan improve the function and structure of blood vessels, in particular arteries that deliver blood to our muscles and heart, as per new research from McMaster University.

The study, lead by kinesiology doctoral student Mark Rakobowchuk, is published online in the journal American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative & Comparative Physiology.

The findings support the idea that people can exercise using brief, high-intensity forms of exercise and reap the same benefits to cardiovascular health that can be derived from traditional, long-duration and moderately intense exercise.

"As we age, the arteries become stiffer and tend to lose their ability to dilate, and these effects contribute to hypertension and cardiovascular disease," says Maureen MacDonald, academic advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "More detrimental is the effect that blood vessel stiffening has on the heart, which has to circulate blood".

The research compared individuals who completed interval training using 30-second "all-out" sprints three days a week to a group who completed between 40 and 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling five days a week.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 3, 2008, 10:27 PM CT

Eating and weight gain not necessarily linked

Eating and weight gain not necessarily linked
You may not be what you eat after all.

A new study shows that increased eating does not necessarily lead to increased fat. The finding in the much-studied roundworm opens the possibility of identifying new targets for drugs to control weight, the scientists say.

The discovery reveals that the neurotransmitter serotonin, already known to control appetite and fat build-up, actually does so through two separate signaling channels. One set of signals regulates feeding, and a separate set of signals regulates fat metabolism. The worm, known scientifically as Caenorhabdtis elegans, shares half of its genes with humans and is often a predictor ofhuman traits.

The signaling pathways are composed of a series of molecular events triggered by neurons in the brain that ultimately "instruct" the body to burn or store fat.

If the "separate-channel" mechanism is also found in humans, weight-loss drugs might be developed to attack just the fat-deposition channel rather than the hunger-dampening pathway that has met with limited success, says Kaveh Ashrafi, PhD, assistant professor of physiology at UCSF and senior author on the scientific paper reporting the study.

"It's not that feeding isn't important," Ashrafi says. "But serotonin's control of fat is distinct from feeding. A weight-loss strategy that focuses only on eating can only go so far. It may be one reason why diets fail".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 28, 2008, 6:14 PM CT

Stretching exercises may reduce risk of pre-eclampsia

Stretching exercises may reduce risk of pre-eclampsia
Stretching exercises may be more effective at reducing the risk of preeclampsia than walking is for pregnant women who have already experienced the condition and who do not follow a workout routine, as per scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing.

Preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, is a condition that affects up to 8 percent of pregnancies every year and is among the leading causes of maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide.

The finding is contrary to existing studies and literature that suggest that rigorous exercise is the most effective way to reduce the risk of preeclampsia, said SeonAe Yeo, Ph.D., an associate professor with a specialty in womens health at the UNC School of Nursing and the studys lead researcher.

Yeo will present the findings Thursday (May 29) at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind. The results would be reported in the spring issue of the journal High blood pressure in Pregnancy.

Typically preeclampsia is characterized by a marked increase in blood pressure during pregnancy and may be accompanied by swelling and kidney problems. It is diagnosed when blood pressure readings taken twice in six hours read 140/90 or higher.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 27, 2008, 9:10 PM CT

Combining exercise with hormone could prevent weight gain

Combining exercise with hormone could prevent weight gain
Once heralded as a promising obesity therapy, the hormone leptin lost its fat-fighting luster when researchers discovered overweight patients were resistant to its effects. But pairing leptin with just a minor amount of exercise seems to revive the hormones ability to fight fat again, University of Florida scientists recently discovered.

The combination of leptin and a modest dose of wheel running prevented obese rats on a belt-busting, high-fat diet from gaining weight, even though neither tactic worked alone, say UF researchers, writing in the journal Diabetes.

They dont run enough to use sufficient energy to prevent weight gain, said Philip Scarpace, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and therapeutics in the UF College of Medicine and the senior author of the study. What the act of running appears to do is allow the leptin to work again. Its a demonstration that this simple act can reverse leptin resistance.

More than 34 percent of American adults about 72 million people are obese or overweight, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers had hoped to wield leptin, a hormone that sends the body chemical signals to stop eating and use stored energy, as a weight-loss weapon. Studies in lean animals were promising, but overweight animals and people dont respond the same way, likely because their bodies already overproduce leptin, causing them to develop resistance to the hormone, Scarpace said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 22, 2008, 10:16 PM CT

Fruit juice consumption not related to overweight in children

Fruit juice consumption not related to overweight in children
Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore (April 14, 2008) -- Despite studies that assert otherwise, 100% fruit juice consumption is not correlation to overweight in children, as per the authors of A Review of the Relationship Between 100% Fruit Juice Consumption and Weight in Children and Adolescents in the May/recent issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM), published by SAGE.

The statistics about overweight children are alarming. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increased prevalence of overweight and at-risk-for overweight in all ages and ethnic groups. In 2002, 10.3% of children 2-5 years of age were overweight, an increase from 7.2% in 1994. In males and females 12-17 years of age, waist circumference increased by 4.0% and 5.2%, respectively, between 1994 and 2004.

The article, authored by Carol E. ONeil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, Louisiana State University, and Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH, USDA/ARS Childrens Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, examined 21 studies about a relationship between consumption of 100% fruit juice by children and adolescents and weight, and found there is no systematic association between consumption of 100% fruit juice and overweight in children or adolescents.

Health professionals and policy makers should be encouraged to objectively review the literature on all beverages and encourage consumption of healthful beverages including water, milk, and 100% fruit juice, as per the authors. The data support the consumption of 100% fruit juice in moderate amounts, and this may be an important strategy to help children meet the current recommendations for fruit.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 21, 2008, 8:34 PM CT

North Pacific humpback whale populations rebounding

North Pacific humpback whale populations rebounding
NOAA ship Oscar Dyson stands watch as researchers gather information from humpback whales. Humpback whale flukes, like the one shown here, are unique to each animal just like a fingerprint. This whale could be identified thousands of miles away by its distinctive markings.

Credit: NOAA


The number of humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean has increased since international and federal protections were enacted in the 1960s and 70s, as per a new study funded primarily by NOAA and conducted by more than 400 whale scientists throughout the Pacific region.

However, some isolated populations of humpbacks, particularly those in the Western Pacific Ocean, have not recovered at the same rate and still suffer low numbers.

The new research reveals that the overall population of humpbacks has rebounded to approximately 18,000 to 20,000 animals. The population of humpback whales in the North Pacific, at least half of whom migrate between Alaska and Hawaii, numbered less than 1,500 in 1966 when international whaling for this species was banned. In the 1970s, federal laws including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act provided additional protection.

NOAA is proud to have played a key role in initiating and funding this study, said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. It is only through this type of international cooperation that we can gauge our success and measure what additional work needs to be accomplished to protect highly migratory marine mammals.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 21, 2008, 8:29 PM CT

Genetics of fat storage in cells

Genetics of fat storage in cells
New research by the Gladstone Institutes of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has revealed the genetic determinants of fat storage in cells, which may lead to a new understanding of and potential therapys for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. While researchers have long understood that lipid droplets contribute to fat build up in cells, the genes involved in droplet biology have been a focus of extensive research.

As per a research findings published in Nature, researchers in the laboratories of Drs. Robert V. Farese, Jr., of Gladstone and UCSF, and Peter Walter, of UCSF, devised a genetic screen to identify genes responsible for fat storage in cell of fruit flies, and potentially other species.

For some time, we have been studying the enzymes that make fats, said Dr. Farese, senior investigator. But clearly, we need to know a lot more about the most basic processes that regulate cellular fat storage to be able to make progress on some very serious human diseases.

To identify novel genes involved in fat storage, GICD scientist Dr. Yi Guo, and Dr. Tobias Walter, formerly of Dr. Walters laboratory and now of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Gera number of, initiated a major discovery project, in which they used RNAi screens to individually inactivate all the genes in cells from fruit flies. Basic cellular processes in humans are highly conserved in cells from fruit flies, so the results should mostly be applicable to human biology. Drs. Guo and Walther completed the initial survey and have now begun to study in detail the genes that have the most striking effects on fat storage in cells.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 11, 2008, 10:13 AM CT

Number Of Fat Cells Remains Constant In All Body Types

Number Of Fat Cells Remains Constant In All Body Types
The radioactive carbon-14 produced by above-ground nuclear testing in the 1950s and '60s has helped scientists determine that the number of fat cells in a human's body, whether lean or obese, is established during the teenage years. Changes in fat mass in adulthood can be attributed mainly to changes in fat cell volume, not an increase in the actual number of fat cells.

These results could help scientists develop new pharmaceuticals to battle obesity as well as the accompanying diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Bruce Buchholz - along with colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden; Humboldt University Berlin, Foundation of Research and Technology in Greece; Karolinska University Hospital; and Stockholm University - applied carbon dating to DNA to discover that the number of fat cells stays constant in adulthood in lean and obese individuals, even after marked weight loss, indicating that the number of fat cells is set during childhood and adolescence.

Carbon dating is typically used in archaeology and paleontology to date the age of artifacts. However, in this application, which appeared in the May 4 early online edition of the journal, Nature, the researchers used the pulse of radiocarbon to analyze fat cell turnover in humans.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 11, 2008, 9:16 AM CT

Concerns over childhood and adolescent obesity

Concerns over childhood and adolescent obesity
Study findings presented at the May 2008 Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting indicate that childhood and adolescent obesity negatively impacts vascular endothelial function, which relates to cardiac health.

Obesity has been increasing rapidly in the U.S. during the past 20 years and obesity in adults has been associated with cardiovascular disease. The occurence rate of obesity in children is also increasing and a number of cardiovascular diseases that are manifested in adulthood may actually begin in childhood. It is known that healthy endothelium (a single cell layer that lines all blood vessels) is key to maintaining vascular health. Endothelial dysfunction is a primary contributor to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (the buildup of fatty deposits on the inside walls of arteries) in adults and is linked to increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Endothelial function can be measured non-invasively in children using venous occlusion plethysmography (VOP), a technique that measures responses of arm blood vessel responses to an inflatable cuff that externally halts and restarts blood flow. This method has been shown to correlate with coronary artery function in adults with heart disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 11, 2008, 9:12 AM CT

How body size is regulated?

How body size is regulated?
Researchers are beginning to unravel the question why people distinctly vary in size. In cooperation with researchers of the HelmholtzZentrum M√ľnchen, an international genome-wide study has discovered ten new genes that influence body height and thus provides new insights into biological pathways that are important for human growth.

This meta-analysis, reported in the latest issue of Nature Genetics, is based on data from more than 26,000 study participants. It verifies two already known genes, but also discovered ten new genes. Altogether they explain a difference in body size of about 3.5 centimeters.

The analysis produced some biologically insightful findings. Several of the identified genes are targeted by the microRNA let-7, which affects the regulation of other genes. This connection was completely unknown until now. Several other SNPs may affect the structure of chromatin, the chromosome-surrounding proteins. Moreover, the results could have relevance for patients with inherited growth problems, or with problems in bone development, because some of the newly discovered genes have rare mutations, known to be linked to anomalous skeletal growth. Further functional studies are necessary to completely elucidate the biological mechanisms behind this growing list of genes correlation to height.........

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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