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March 2, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics
The majority of patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy experience many symptoms of eating disorders, with an irresistible craving for food and binge eating as the most prominent features, as per a research studyreported in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Hal Droogleever Fortuyn, MD, and Sebastiaan Overeem, MD, of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands, focused on 60 patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy who were recruited from specialized sleep centers and 120 healthy controls.

As per the results, 23.3 percent of the narcolepsy/cataplexy patients fulfilled the criteria for a clinical eating disorder, as opposed to none of the control subjects. Half of the patients reported a persistent craving for food, as well as binge eating. Twenty-five percent of patients even reported binging at least twice a week.

These data make it clear that narcolepsy is not just a sleeping disorder, but a hypothalamic disease with a much broader symptom profile, said Dr. Fortuyn. Hypocretin, the neurotransmitter that is lost in narcolepsy, has been implicated in the regulation of feeding through animal studies. Earlier studies in narcolepsy found a clear increase in body weight. However, we did not find a connection between binge eating and increased weight. Binge eating is apparently not the direct cause of the obesity in narcolepsy, and this suggests that metabolic alterations may be involved. Nevertheless, our study shows that the loss of hypocretin function makes narcolepsy patients not only struggle with staying awake, but also destabilizes their eating pattern, which makes it harder to stay away from the candy jar.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 28, 2008, 10:33 PM CT

Heightened Weighing Discomfort Among Women

Heightened Weighing Discomfort Among Women
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania points to increased health risks for women owing to their higher level of discomfort about being weighed in public.

The study showed that college-age females, more than their male counterparts, experience high degrees of discomfort at the prospect of being weighed in the presence of others.

The study's authors think that some women may avoid necessary tests and therapys when a doctor visit includes a step on a public scale.

"Weighing concern may make these women, especially those who are overweight and already at risk for certain ailments, less likely to visit a doctor," said Andrew B. Geier, lead author and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology in the Penn School of Arts and Sciences. "Hopefully, this data will show the great advantage that can be had with just a small, inexpensive change in clinic policy: weighing patients in private".

The study also revealed that observers generally overestimate women's weight while women tend to think that people are underestimating their weight due to slimming clothes or cosmetics. This means that, while women in the study demonstrated they do not want people to know their weight, their true weight was lower than others' estimates and a public weighing would correct the misperception.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 17, 2008, 10:42 PM CT

Addressing global obesity epidemic

Addressing global obesity epidemic
As per Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and director of the Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital, people who are most successful in preventing weight gain, and dieters who lose weight and keep the pounds off, have made major changes in their in diet and exercise routines.

Using new research findings, Wing will make her case for big behavioral changes to stave off weight gain at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the worlds largest general scientific society.

At the meeting, held in Boston, Wing takes part in a Feb. 17, 2008 symposium titled Fighting the Global Obesity Epidemic: Small Steps or Big Changes" The symposium runs from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. in Room 208 of the Hynes Convention Center. Wing will also attend a Feb. 17, 2008 press briefing on the topic of childhood obesity and nutrition. The briefing kicks off at 11 a.m. in Room 212 of the Hynes Convention Center.

We live in an obesogenic environment that relies heavily on fast food, automobiles, and remote controls all which can be labeled as toxic to maintaining a healthy body weight, Wing said. With our research, we want to determine the most successful strategies for maintaining a nor-mal weight in this toxic environment. Weve observed that bigger changes are needed for success.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:35 PM CT

Exercise to avoid gallstones!

Exercise to avoid gallstones!
A new University of Illinois study shows that exercise-trained mice get far fewer gallstones than sedentary mice and identifies potential mechanisms to explain why this occurs.

The study, recently reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology, can be viewed online at: http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/01292.2007v1.

For the first time, we have direct evidence that physical activity reduces gallstone formation, adding to the ever-increasing number of reasons that people should get more exercise,?said Kenneth Wilund, a faculty member in the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences and an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Community Health.

Gallbladder disease affects 10 to 25 percent of adults in the United States, eventhough some persons who are affected may not have symptoms. It has the second highest cost of any digestive disease at $5.8 billion annually and results in over 800,000 hospitalizations each year.

Gallstones form when bile cholesterol levels become high enough to precipitate, fall out of solution, and solidify, Wilund said.

In the study, 50 mice from a gallstone-susceptible strain were fed a high-fat diet containing cholic acid, which helps increase cholesterol absorption. They were then divided into two groups. One group of mice ran on treadmills 45 minutes per day five days a week; the other group did not exercise.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:27 PM CT

When it comes to physical activity

When it comes to physical activity
A landmark University of Alberta study, analyzing a sample of over 275,000 individuals, has observed that when it comes to participation in physical activity, one size does not fit all.

Our study uncovered some definite trends and preferences when deciding how and if a person wants to be physically active, says Brad Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of Alberta. It is clear that different genders, ethnicities and income levels have very diverse influences and choices when it comes to being physically active.

The study, co-authored with U of A professor Jane Ruseski, looked at a wide range of factors, including income, education and ethnicity, that influence whether a person decides to be physically active, as well as their time spent being active. It also examined the impact of government spending on parks and recreation on an individuals decision to participate in physical activity and sports.

At a 57 per cent participation rate, walking was found to be the most common form of physical activity undertaken for exercise. Results suggest that participation in walking increases with age, indicating that programs aimed at promoting walking for exercise could appeal to older populations, says Humphreys.

Choosing walking as the main form of physical activity may reflect the relatively low cost of this activity, says Humphreys. Walking can be done in almost any setting under almost any condition without needing specialized equipment or facilities.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 12, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Body image is stronger predictor of health than obesity

Body image is stronger predictor of health than obesity
In a study to examine the impact of desired body weight on the number of unhealthy days subjects report over one month, scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health observed that the desire to weigh less was a more accurate predictor of physically and mentally unhealthy days, than body mass index (BMI). In addition, the desire to lose weight was more predictive of unhealthy days among Whites than among African-Americans or Hispanics, and among women than among men. The paper, I Think Therefore I Am: Perceived Ideal Weight as a Determinant of Health, would be reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

After controlling for actual BMI and age, the scientists observed that men who wished to lose 1 percent, 10 percent, and 20 percent of their body weight, respectively, reported 0.1, 0.9 and 2.7 more unhealthy days per month than those who were happy with their weight. Among women, the corresponding increase in numbers of reported unhealthy days was 0.1, 1.6 and 4.3. Persons who were happy with their weight experienced fewer physically unhealthy days (3.0 vs 3.7) and mentally unhealthy days (2.6 vs 3.6) compared with persons unhappy with their weight.

Our data suggest that some of the obesity epidemic may be partially attributable to social constructs that surround ideal body types, said Peter Muennig, MD, MPH, Mailman School of Public Health assistant professor of Health Policy and Management. Younger persons, Whites, and women are disproportionately affected by negative body.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 10, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain

Artificial sweeteners linked to weight gain
Want to lose weight" It might help to pour that diet soda down the drain. Scientists have laboratory evidence that the widespread use of no-calorie sweeteners may actually make it harder for people to control their intake and body weight. The findings are reported in the recent issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Psychology experts at Purdue Universitys Ingestive Behavior Research Center reported that relative to rats that ate yogurt sweetened with glucose (a simple sugar with 15 calories/teaspoon, the same as table sugar), rats given yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin later consumed more calories, gained more weight, put on more body fat, and didnt make up for it by cutting back later, all at levels of statistical significance.

Authors Susan Swithers, PhD, and Terry Davidson, PhD, surmised that by breaking the correlation between a sweet sensation and high-calorie food, the use of saccharin changes the bodys ability to regulate intake. That change depends on experience. Problems with self-regulation might explain in part why obesity has risen in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners. It also might explain why, says Swithers, scientific consensus on human use of artificial sweeteners is inconclusive, with various studies finding evidence of weight loss, weight gain or little effect. Because people may have different experiences with artificial and natural sweeteners, human studies that dont take into account previous consumption may produce a variety of outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 5:19 AM CT

Inadequate diagnostic criteria for eating disorders

Inadequate diagnostic criteria for eating disorders
Providence, RI A new study by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University suggests that the DSM-IV criteria for eating disorders have limited clinical utility. Scientists recommend a broadening of the criteria for bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorder.

In the DSM-IV manual, bulimia and anorexia nervosa are the only officially recognized and formally defined eating disorders. A third, binge eating disorder, is listed in the Appendix as a disorder requiring further study for possible inclusion in the next edition.

Scientists noted that in therapy center programs for eating disorders more than half of the patients are diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (NOS). The scientists anticipated that in a general psychiatric setting, patients conditions would be less severe than in a specialized center.

The Rhode Island Hospital study looked at 330 patients who were diagnosed with a lifetime history of an eating disorder. Of those, 307 received 1 diagnosis and 23 were diagnosed with 2 disorders. The majority of the patients (85 percent) were female with a mean age of 34.3 years. Of the 330 patients, almost half (164) had a current eating disorder, 60 had an eating disorder in partial remission and slightly more than one-third (129) had a past diagnosis.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 5:17 AM CT

Button mushrooms contain much anti-oxidants

Button mushrooms contain much anti-oxidants
Image courtesy of mushrooms.ca
The humble white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has as much, and in some cases, more anti-oxidant properties than more expensive varieties.

Eventhough the button mushroom is the foremost cultivated edible mushroom in the world with thousands of tonnes being eaten every year, it is often thought of as a poor relation to its more exotic and expensive cousins and to have lesser value nutritionally.

But as per new research in SCIs Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the white button mushroom has as much anti-oxidant properties as its more expensive rivals, the maitake and the matsutake mushrooms - both of which are highly prized in Japanese cuisine for their reputed health properties including lowering blood pressure and their alleged ability to fight cancer.

Anti-oxidants are believed to help ward off illness and boost the bodys immune system by acting as free radical scavengers, helping to mop up cell damage caused by free radicals.

Dr Jean-Michel Savoie and his team from the Institut National de la Recherche Agrinomique, a Governmental research institute in France, observed that anti-radical activity was equivalent to, if not more, than the better known mushrooms when they measured the respective mushrooms free radical scavenging ability.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 31, 2008, 9:52 PM CT

Is the obesity epidemic exaggerated?

Is the obesity epidemic exaggerated?
Last week, the UK health secretary declared that we are in a grip of an obesity epidemic, but does the evidence stack up? Scientists in this weeks BMJ debate the issue.

Claims about an obesity epidemic often exceed the scientific evidence and mistakenly suggest an unjustified degree of certainty, argue Patrick Basham and John Luik.

For example, the average population weight gain in the United States in the past 42 years is 10.9kg or 0.26kg a year. Yet, between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, there were no significant changes in the prevalence of overweight or obesity among US adults or in the prevalence of overweight among children.

Furthermore, they say, the categories of normal, overweight, and obese is entirely arbitrary and at odds with the underlying evidence about the association between body mass index and mortality.

For example, the study on which the bands for overweight and obesity in the US are based observed that the death risks for men with a body mass index of 19-21 were the same as those for men who were overweight and obese (29-31). Other studies have shown negligible differences between body mass index and death rates.

The association of overweight and obesity with higher risks of disease is equally unclear, they write. And, despite supposedly abnormal levels of overweight and obesity, life expectancy continues to increase.........

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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