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May 7, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

Gene That Increases Type 2 Diabetes

Gene That Increases Type 2 Diabetes
In a painstaking set of experiments in overweight mice, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a gene that appears to play an important role in the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The finding is important because it provides evidence that the same gene in humans could provide clinicians with a powerful tool to determine the likelihood that some individuals will acquire the condition. Moreover, the finding that the gene works through a pathway not generally studied in the context of diabetes, suggests new avenues to explore in the search for new drugs to treat or prevent the disease, says Alan Attie, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry and the senior author of the study published this week (May 7) in the journal Nature Genetics.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition in the United States, with an estimated 16 million Americans afflicted with the disease. It is caused by an inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin, or by the body's reduced ability to respond to insulin, or both. Insulin is necessary for the body to properly utilize sugar.

Often, the development of type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity. Obese individuals tend to have insulin resistance; that is, it takes more insulin for the body to respond normally. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to manufacture enough insulin to compensate for the body's increased demand for the hormone, which it does by growing more insulin-producing beta cells or by ramping up insulin secretion.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 6, 2006, 9:04 PM CT

Patients Positively Weigh In On Liposuction

Patients Positively Weigh In On Liposuction
Patients are weighing in on liposuction, the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in 2005, and resoundingly saying they would have the procedure again. As per a research studyin May's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 80 percent of patients were satisfied with their results and 86 percent would recommend the procedure to family or friends.

"Liposuction is one of the most satisfying procedures for patients and most effective at eliminating localized fat," said ASPS Spokesperson Jeffrey Kenkel, MD, co-author of study, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The majority of patients recognize their role in maintaining positive results and pursue a healthy diet and exercise. These patients typically maintain or lose weight after surgery, while those that do not may gain small amounts of weight. Ultimately, one's lifestyle can affect long term-results".

As per the study, approximately 57 percent of patients reported no weight change after having liposuction - 46 percent of these patients actually reported a weight loss, losing an average of five to 10 pounds in less than six months. Forty-three percent of patients reported gaining weight, with the majority gaining between five and 10 pounds more than six months after surgery.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 0:28 AM CT

Neighborhood Safety May Play Role In Obesity

Neighborhood Safety May Play Role In Obesity
Mothers of young children are more likely to be obese when they perceive their neighborhoods as unsafe, as per a new study in the journal Obesity.

Scientists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mathematica Policy Research and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed perceived neighborhood safety and obesity in women with young children. Connection with one's neighbors, characterized as neighborhood cohesion, did not have a significant relation to the mother's obesity.

"The characteristics of neighborhoods can influence how and where people spend their time, and unsafe neighborhoods are often thought to contribute to the obesity epidemic by decreasing outdoor activity," said study leader Hillary Burdette, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Despite a hypothesized link between neighborhood safety and obesity, this was the first study to evaluate this association among adults."

Using data collected in 20 large U.S. cities in 15 states for the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, scientists focused on 2400 women with preschool children and found that mothers who perceived their neighborhoods to be safer had a lower body mass index (BMI) and were less likely to be obese, even after accounting for multiple measures of socioeconomic status. The percentage of mothers who were obese increased from 37 percent in the safest neighborhoods to 46 percent in the least safe neighborhoods.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 2, 2006, 0:28 AM CT

Obesity Levels In Us Are Grossly Underestimated

Obesity Levels In Us Are Grossly Underestimated
The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. states has been greatly underestimated. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) analyzed data from health surveys, which are used to estimate obesity levels in states. Because people tend to provide incorrect information about their weight and height, particularly in telephone surveys, the scientists concluded that estimates of obesity in individual states have been too low, by more than 50%. Their study, which corrects for misreporting in those surveys, appears in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, causing some 2.6 million deaths worldwide each year. In the U.S., survey data on obesity on a national and state level is obtained using information gathered by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which uses telephone interviews; national data is also collected using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which does in-person interviews and follow-up height and weight measurements on people who agree to a clinical exam. Lead author Majid Ezzati, Associate Professor of International Health at HSPH, and colleagues analyzed and compared the data from the two surveys in order to quantify the level of bias when people self-report their height and weight, particularly in a telephone interview.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:35 PM CT

Mothers Have Inaccurate Perceptions Of Children's Body Weight

Mothers  Have Inaccurate Perceptions Of Children's Body Weight
Latina mothers of preschool-aged children frequently have inaccurate perceptions of their children's body mass index and believe they are healthy when they are overweight, as per a new study from the University of California, San Francisco.

"A significant number of women believed that their children were normal weight when they were, in fact, overweight," said lead study author Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, UCSF associate professor of pediatrics and a pediatrician at San Francisco General Hospital. "However, if the mother described her child as overweight, she was commonly correct, but it is concerning that a number of mothers did not perceive their overweight children as being overweight."

The study findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting today (April 29) in San Francisco. Fuentes-Afflick said the study has implications for the effort to stem the tide of pediatric obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

"It's not just Latino parents. As a pediatrician, when you start to talk to parents about their child's weight or body mass, you have to ask: How much and what are children eating? How much TV are they watching? It's particularly challenging to talk about these issues with respect to young children because parents are largely responsible for their children's dietary habits.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 26, 2006, 8:06 PM CT

Cultural Approach Holds The Key To Tackling Obesity

Cultural Approach Holds The Key To Tackling Obesity
Health professionals need to use more than tape measures and scales to define and tackle obesity, as per a paper in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

A research review carried out by Maryanne Davidson from Yale University, USA, has discovered that a number of women don't make the link between high weight and poor health and that culture plays a big role in how positively they see themselves.

She reviewed key papers published over a 10-year period to see how health professionals and Black and White American women define obesity and to identify differences in attitudes.

This revealed that while health professionals used quantitative methods, such as Body Mass Index measurements based on the height to weight ratio, women are more likely to base their ideal weight on cultural criteria.

"My review revealed that Black American participants defined obesity in positive terms, relating it to attractiveness, sexual desirability, body image, strength or goodness, self esteem and social acceptability" says Davidson. "In addition they didn't view obesity as cause for concern when it came to their health."

White Americans, conversely, expressed completely the opposite view.

"They defined obesity in negative terms, describing it as unattractive, not socially desirable, associated with negative body image and decreased self-esteem and being socially unacceptable.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 24, 2006, 7:36 PM CT

National Confusion About Food Safety

National Confusion About Food Safety
Americans are confident about their ability to keep the food they eat safe - but a new survey shows they don't trust their neighbors, and they don't really have a good feel for how widespread food-borne illness is.

Survey results released recently in Washington, D.C., by a Michigan State University center show a country in cuisine conflict. The MSU Food Safety Policy Center seeks to understand U.S. attitudes about food safety - who we think should be responsible for it, who we think is most at risk, and even how severe we think the risk might be.

The survey shows that only 10 percent of Americans say they got food poisoning in the past year - yet statistics say a quarter of Americans suffered food-borne illnesses each year - data that itself is more than 10 years old.

"We get sick, by and large we know we get sick - but we don't know if it's food-borne illness," said Craig Harris, an MSU sociologist and study director of the Food Safety Policy Center. "We can see that Americans tend not to attribute as a number of of our illnesses to food as we should".

"People who got sick probably don't know that the foods they eat are unsafe," added Andrew Knight, a visiting professor in the center. "When you tell them how much food-borne illness there is out there, they find it unacceptable."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 22, 2006, 5:44 PM CT

Link Between Television Viewing and Overweight in Children

Link Between Television Viewing and Overweight in Children
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Children's Hospital Boston found that kids who spend more time watching television also eat more of the calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods advertised on television. Prior studies had demonstrated that children who watch more television are more likely to be overweight, but this is the first time a research team has found evidence for a mechanism explaining that relationship. The study results appear in the April 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

"We've known for a long time that television viewing is a risk factor for overweight, though the common perception is that this is due to the fact that it's a sedentary use of time," said Jean Wiecha, the study's lead author and a senior research scientist at HSPH. "This study provides evidence that television is effective in getting kids to eat the foods that are advertised, and this drives up their total calorie intake".

Wiecha and her colleagues collected baseline data on dietary patterns and television viewing habits for 548 Boston-area students in sixth and seventh grade and then repeated these measurements 19 months later. When surveying the students about their food intake, the scientists asked specifically about snacks and beverages usually advertised on television, such as soda, chips, fast food and baked snacks like cookies. Students were also asked to estimate the number of hours spent watching television each day of the week.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 8:41 PM CT

Clues To Eating Disorders

Clues To Eating Disorders Dr. Leon Avery (left), professor of molecular biology, led a team that included Dr. Young-jai You, postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology and pharmacology, and discovered a series of biochemical reactions that control how simple worms feed, opening the way for further research into the complicated nature of hunger.
In research that may have implications for studying eating disorders in humans, a worm the size of a pinhead is helping scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center unravel the mechanisms of hunger.

The scientists have found a series of biochemical reactions that control how the simple worm feeds, opening the way for further research into the complicated nature of hunger. Central to the research is a worm called Caenorhabditis elegans, which eats bacteria by contracting and relaxing a large muscle called the pharynx to suck in its prey. When it can't find food, C. elegans reacts by pumping the pharynx harder.

"Despite the prevalence of eating disorders from obesity to anorexia, the identity and mechanism of action of starvation signals are largely unknown," the scientists wrote in the paper, which will appear in the recent issue of Cell Metabolism.

The study of the signaling pathways in feeding muscles suggests that feeding disorders may result from inappropriate behavioral responses to starvation signals, they wrote.

"Instead of being vague about what hunger is, we can be specific, at least in these cells in these particular animals," said Dr. Leon Avery, professor of molecular biology and senior author of the study. "There's been a lot of work on hunger and behavior, but hunger has not been well-defined at the molecular level".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 17, 2006, 10:23 PM CT

Big-brand Name Influence Diet

Big-brand Name Influence Diet
Mega-brands, those popular food products that dominate the supermarket shelves and dinner plates of mainstream America, are often under siege by consumer groups because of their ingredients, labeling, and marketing practices. Yet, mega-brands continue to rack up billions of dollars in sales each year. What is the secret to their success? As per James Tillotson, PhD, MBA, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, "mega-brands maintain their strong grip on our diet because consumers, food companies, and supermarkets are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship that yields great benefits for all three."

In a two-part series in his Business and Nutrition column in Nutrition Today, Tillotson refers to mega-brands as "fortress brands" because of their durability in defending their market share against rivals. He explains how these products maintain their strong foothold in the market despite often being at odds with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans with respect to sugars, fats, salt, calories, and lack of fiber. "In spite of a deluge of popular press coverage in recent years about pros and cons of following the Dietary Guideline recommendations, consumer surveys continue to report that taste still trumps all other rationales in motivating food purchases by catering to our strong liking for sweets, fats and oils, and salt," Tillotson writes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         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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