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July 25, 2006, 6:16 AM CT

Obesity an increasing obstacle

Obesity an increasing obstacle
The increase of obesity in the United States doubled the number of inconclusive diagnostic imaging exams over a 15-year period, as per a research studyfeatured in the recent issue of Radiology.

Scientists assessed all radiology exams performed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) between 1989 and 2003 to determine the effects of obesity on imaging quality and diagnosis.

In an effort to quantify how obesity affects diagnostic imaging quality, Dr. Uppot and his colleagues analyzed radiology records from a 15-year span at MGH. They searched for incomplete exams that carried the label "limited by body habitus," meaning limited in quality due to patient size.

"While 0.10 percent of inconclusive exams were due to patient size in 1989, by 2003 the number had jumped to 0.19 percent, despite advances in imaging technology," said Raul N. Uppot, M.D., lead author and staff radiologist at MGH. "Americans need to know that obesity can hinder their medical care when they enter a hospital".

An estimated 66 percent of adults in the United States are overweight, obese or morbidly obese, as per the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, more than 12.5 million American children and adolescents are overweight. Hospitals are feeling the strain--they now require larger wheelchairs and beds. Additionally, standard operating tables and imaging equipment are not suited for obese patients.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 19, 2006, 10:40 PM CT

Developing Safer Anti-obesity Drugs

Developing Safer Anti-obesity Drugs Dr. Joel Elmquist, professor of internal medicine
A study led by a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher sheds light on how the brain chemical serotonin, when spurred by diet drugs such as Fen-phen, works to curb appetite.

That knowledge could aid in the design of safer anti-obesity drugs nearly a decade after Fen-phen was banned for causing harmful side effects.

The study, which tested the effect of several drugs that alter serotonin levels in the brain, observed that serotonin activates some neurons and melanocortin-4 receptors, or MC4Rs, to curb appetite and at the same time blocks other neurons that normally act to increase appetite.

The dual effect helps explain how such drugs, including Fen-phen, spur weight loss.

The finding, available online and in the July 20 issue of Neuron, also reinforces the role of serotonin - a regulator of emotions, mood and sleep - in affecting the brain's melanocortin system, a key molecular pathway that controls body weight.

"The more we understand about the pathways and the way serotonergic drugs regulate body weight, the more it one day might lead to harnessing beneficial properties of anti-obesity therapys like Fen-phen and minimizing the harmful side effects," said Dr. Joel Elmquist, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-senior author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 19, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Prevention Program For Childhood Obesity

Prevention Program For Childhood Obesity
The waistlines of children continue to grow, along with the concern about the problem. Two University of Cincinnati scientists are recruiting a school, parents and children in fighting obesity as they test a new prevention program in Meade County, Ky. After spending spring conducting focus groups with children and their parents, the 12-week program, geared toward 129 fifth-graders, will be launched at an elementary school in Brandenburg, Ky., when school begins this fall.

The obesity intervention program is the creation of Megan Canavera, a registered dietician and master's degree candidate in the program of health promotion and education, UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, and her advisor, Manoj Sharma, associate professor of health promotion and education.

The UC scientists are coordinating with the Brandenburg school's physical education teacher as they test the intervention program developed around four specific components:
  • Regular physical activity.
  • Enforcing healthy eating habits, such as limiting portion size, cutting soft drink consumption and adding fruits and vegetables to the children's diet.
  • Cutting back on time watching TV.
  • Improving parent-child communication to reinforce behaviors that cut back on obesity.
  • ........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 18, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

    Calorie Restriction Better Than Exercise

    Calorie Restriction Better Than Exercise
    Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have observed that eating a low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet lowers concentrations of a thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine (T3), which controls the body's energy balance and cellular metabolism.

    The scientists also observed that calorie restriction (CR) decreases the circulating concentration of a powerful inflammatory molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). They say the combination of lower T3 levels and reduced inflammation may slow the aging process by reducing the body's metabolic rate as well as oxidative damage to cells and tissues.

    Prior research on mice and rats has shown that both calorie restriction and endurance exercise protect them against a number of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. However, the research has shown that only CR increases the animals' maximum lifespan by up to 50 percent. These animal studies suggest that leanness is a key factor in the prevention of age-associated disease, but reducing caloric intake is needed to slow down aging.

    For the new study, scientists examined 28 members of the Calorie Restriction Society who had been eating a CR diet for an average of six years. Eventhough the CR group consumed fewer calories - averaging only about 1,800 per day - they consumed at least 100 percent of the recommended daily amounts of protein and micronutrients. A second group of 28 study subjects was sedentary, and they ate a standard Western diet. A third group in the study ate a standard Western diet - approximately 2,700 calories per day - but also did endurance training. The scientists found reduced T3 levels - similar to those seen in animals whose rate of aging is reduced by CR - only in the people on CR diets.........

    Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


    July 18, 2006, 8:35 PM CT

    New diabetes drug may also cause weight reduction

    New diabetes drug may also cause weight reduction Cris Welling
    The Washington University Diabetes Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital focuses on providing patients with the latest technology, therapys and clinical research. Some patients at the center are receiving a new diabetes drug that may give a welcome side effect - weight loss.

    Byetta, developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co., is designed to help patients with type 2 diabetes get better control of their condition by helping the body make more of its own insulin. The drug, a twice-daily injection, tells the pancreas to make the right amount of insulin after meals to bring blood sugar closer to normal levels. It also helps stop the liver from producing too much sugar when the body doesn't need it, and helps slow down the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream. It is typically used along with oral diabetes medications, and in some patients, it has led to weight loss.

    One of the patients taking Byetta is Cris Welling, a research lab supervisor in the endocrinology/metabolism lab of M. Alan Permutt, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology. About five years ago, Welling volunteered to be a non-diabetic control in a University research study. When she went through the initial tests, she found out she had pre-diabetes.

    Welling's physician, Garry Tobin, M.D., associate professor of medicine and medical director of the diabetes center, had prescribed several other oral medications to treat her diabetes, but none helped her to lose weight. Since she began taking Byetta for type 2 diabetes about 10 months ago, she has lost about 40 pounds. She no longer needs medicine for hypertension and has reduced the medicine she takes for high cholesterol.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 17, 2006, 9:38 PM CT

    Helping Obese Adolescents Lose Weight

    Helping Obese Adolescents Lose Weight
    The weight loss medicine sibutramine, when combined with behavior treatment, allowed hundreds of very obese adolescents to lose an average of 14 pounds over a year, as per a multicenter study in the July 18 Annals of Internal Medicine. Adolescents in the study who received placebo (a sugar pill) gained four pounds over the year.

    In addition to reductions in body mass index and weight, the treated adolescents had improvements in disease risk factors linked to obesity. They had lower levels of triglycerides and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which are correlation to heart disease, and lower levels of insulin, a risk factor for diabetes. The only significant side effect was tachycardia, or rapid heart beat.

    Eventhough sibutramine, sold under the brand name Meridia, is currently used in adults with obesity, "this is the first large multicenter trial of sibutramine for obese adolescents," said study leader Robert I. Berkowitz, M.D., chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "In fact, there have been few trials evaluating any obesity drugs in adolescents."

    Behavior treatment alone, said Dr. Berkowitz, commonly provides only modest weight loss in adolescents, and thus medicine may provide an additional therapy option for this age group.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 12, 2006, 11:36 PM CT

    Sleep Deprivation Doubles Risks Of Obesity

    Sleep Deprivation Doubles Risks Of Obesity Professor Cappuccio
    You might be too busy to find time to sleep, but lack of sleep could lead to overweight and obesity. New research from Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick has found that sleep deprivation is linked to an almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese for both children and adults.

    Findings from a study by Professor Francesco Cappuccio were presented to the International AC21 Research Festival hosted this month by the University of Warwick.

    Scientists reviewed current evidence in over 28,000 children and 15,000 adults. For both groups Professor Cappuccio found that shorter sleep duration is linked to almost a two-fold increased risk of being obese.

    The research also suggests that those who sleep less have a greater increase in body mass index and waist circumference over time and a greater chance of becoming obese over time.

    Professor Cappuccio says: "The 'epidemic' of obesity is paralleled by a 'silent epidemic' of reduced sleep duration with short sleep duration associated with increased risk of obesity both in adults and in children.These trends are detectable in adults as well as in children as young as 5 years".

    Professor Cappuccio points out that short sleep duration may lead to obesity through an increase of appetite via hormonal changes caused by the sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep produces Ghrelin which, among other effects, stimulates appetite and creates less leptin which, among other effects, suppresses appetite. However he says more research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which short sleep is associated with chronic conditions of affluent societies, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 12, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

    Who Eat More Fruits

    Who Eat More Fruits
    Those who are sweet lover may be eating more fruits compared to those who love salty-snacks. People who like fruit eat more sweets than vegetable lovers do. These findings are according to scientists from Cornell University analyses.

    "If we know a person likes one type of food, this kind of study helps us better predict what other types of foods he or she might prefer," said the researcher and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab that studies the psychology behind what people eat and how often they eat it. By better understanding how various foods, such as sweets, are linked by preference, strategies used to market such sweet snacks as candy bars, for example, could be incorporated into an educational program to increase the consumption of fruit.

    To research in this matter and to see how much fruit sweet and salty-snack lovers ate, Wansink used the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. To determine whether fruit lovers eat more sweets than vegetable lovers, Wansink analyzed the results of a snack consumption survey of 770 individuals.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 11, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

    Obesity Map Of The United States

    Obesity Map Of The United States
    Using data from CDC, MSN has created this interesting obesity map of the United States.

    With such a large percentage of the population weighing more than is healthy, the public-health implications of being overweight have taken on greater importance. The burgeoning percentage of heavy Americans has economic consequences, too. Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and RTI International estimated that 2003 health-care costs attributable to obesity reached $75 billion, with taxpayers picking up about half of the bill through programs like Medicare and Medicaid.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


    July 11, 2006, 7:05 AM CT

    How Group Dynamics Affect Fitness, Eating Habits

    How Group Dynamics Affect Fitness, Eating Habits
    Imagine break-room vending machines featuring fruit juice and vegetables instead of cookies and soda pop. Consider colleagues who insist on mid-morning group exercise breaks and applaud a lunchtime workout rather than criticizing the cut of the sweat suit. Ponder an organizational culture that encourages walking the stairs instead of riding the elevator.

    A UCLA-evaluated study of a demonstration project led by Community Health Councils, Inc. (CHC) in Los Angeles shows how incorporating physical activity and healthy eating into an office or other organizational culture pays dividends for participants.

    Reported in the July 2006 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Health Promotion Practice, the study finds that a six-week wellness-training program significantly increases vigorous physical activity among participants. A 12-week curriculum, meanwhile, boosts fruit and vegetable intake while reducing feelings of sadness and depression, and can even reduce waistlines.

    "Creating a culture of healthy living within an organizational framework requires buy-in by leadership, staff and clientele," said Dr. Antronette K. Yancey, lead author of the study and associate professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health. "Both the physical and social environment must change.........

    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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