Links for Keyword: Obesity

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BY Patrick Skerrett, An international study is casting doubt on the wisdom of eating lots of carbohydrates. Photo by Flickr user Dani Armengol Garreta Fat, once a dirty word when it came to diet, has been edging back toward respectability. New results from a huge international study help continue to reshape its image while at the same time casting doubt on the wisdom of eating lots of carbohydrates and questioning the “more is better” recommendations for eating fruits and vegetables. The latest evidence comes from data released Tuesday by the international Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. Its research team recorded the eating habits of 135,000 adults in 18 countries — including high-income, medium-income, and low-income nations — and followed the participants’ health for more than seven years on average. Among the PURE participants, those with the highest intake of dietary fat (35 percent of daily calories) were 23 percent less likely to have died during the study period than those with the lowest fat intake (10 percent of calories). The rates of various cardiovascular diseases were essentially the same across fat intake, while strokes were less common among those with a high fat intake. Upending conventional wisdom, the findings for carbohydrate intake went in the opposite direction. PURE participants with the highest carbohydrate intake (77 percent of daily calories) were 28 percent more likely to have died than those with the lowest carbohydrate intake (46 percent of calories). The results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Barcelona, and published in the Lancet. © 1996 - 2017 NewsHour Productions LLC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 24015 - Posted: 08.31.2017

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR Studies have shown that obese women give birth to larger babies who are at risk for obesity and other metabolic problems later in life. Some have thought that the reason may be that obese mothers, whose bodies are rich in nutrients, somehow “overfeed” the fetus during gestation. A new study has found that this is unlikely. The study, in PLOS Medicine, looked at more than 10,000 mother-child pairs, following their offspring into early adulthood. Researchers had data on body mass index, education, occupation and smoking behavior for both mothers and fathers. They also did tests for 153 metabolic traits in the children, including levels of fats in the blood. They found that both maternal and paternal B.M.I. were associated strongly with the metabolic traits of their children. Since paternal B.M.I. cannot affect the fetus during its development, this suggests that familial traits, rather than any “programming” of the fetus in the womb, are the explanation for metabolic abnormalities in the children of obese mothers. The senior author, Deborah A. Lawlor, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol in England, said obesity in pregnancy is dangerous for many reasons. But the evidence that the mother’s weight alone determines her children’s future metabolic health is weak, and putting all the burden on the pregnant woman is not helpful. “The whole family should have a healthy weight,” she said. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 23991 - Posted: 08.25.2017

/ By Eric Bender Physicians call it the 5,000-hour problem. If you have a common chronic condition such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, the expert in charge of your health for almost all of your 5,000 waking hours annually is — you. And, frankly, you won’t always make the best choices. “The behavior changes that are necessary to address chronic disease are much more in your hands than in the doctor’s,” points out Stacey Chang, executive director of the Design Institute for Health at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas. “To cede that control to the doctor sometimes is actually counterproductive.” “While there have been enormous advances in technology, there’s still a lot of work to be done with the science of habit formation.” With that in mind, a rapidly evolving set of new digital health tools is angling to help patients engage better with their own care. Wearable health monitors already on the market help to track heart rate, footsteps, or blood glucose levels; sophisticated home health sensors can report on weight and blood pressure; and phone apps can present key feedback and maybe even offer personalized advice. The only problem: It has thus far proved very difficult to know what really works. Indeed, despite a veritable avalanche of “digital health” products, from Fitbits to telehealth heart sensors, and despite floods of data flowing both to the people who use them and to their physicians — and even despite clear evidence that many doctors very much want these new gadgets to work — there is still precious little clinical data proving that they are providing major patient benefits or delivering more cost-effective care. Copyright 2017 Undark

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23989 - Posted: 08.24.2017

By RONI CARYN RABIN Many of us grab coffee and a quick bite in the morning and eat more as the day goes on, with a medium-size lunch and the largest meal of the day in the evening. But a growing body of research on weight and health suggests we may be doing it all backward. A recent review of the dietary patterns of 50,000 adults who are Seventh Day Adventists over seven years provides the latest evidence suggesting that we should front-load our calories early in the day to jump-start our metabolisms and prevent obesity, starting with a robust breakfast and tapering off to a smaller lunch and light supper, or no supper at all. More research is needed, but a series of experiments in animals and some small trials in humans have pointed in the same direction, suggesting that watching the clock, and not just the calories, may play a more important role in weight control than previously acknowledged. And doctors’ groups are taking note. This year, the American Heart Association endorsed the principle that the timing of meals may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The group issued a scientific statement emphasizing that skipping breakfast — which 20 to 30 percent of American adults do regularly — is linked to a higher risk of obesity and impaired glucose metabolism or diabetes, even though there is no proof of a causal relationship. The heart association’s statement also noted that occasional fasting is associated with weight loss, at least in the short term. “I always tell people not to eat close to bedtime, and to try to eat earlier in the day,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, who led the work group that issued the statement. Perhaps not surprisingly, the latest study found that those who supplemented three meals a day with snacks tended to gain weight over time, while those who ate only one or two meals a day tended to lose weight, even compared with those who just ate three meals a day. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23983 - Posted: 08.22.2017

By JANE E. BRODY A very slender friend recently admitted to me that she “can’t stand to be around fat people.” Her reaction is almost visceral, and it prompts her to avoid social and professional contact with people who are seriously overweight. Although she can’t pinpoint the source of her feelings, she said they go back as far as she can remember. And she is hardly alone. Decades ago, researchers found that weight-based bias, which is often accompanied by overt discrimination and bullying, can date back to childhood, sometimes as early as age 3. The prejudiced feelings may not be apparent to those who hold them, yet they can strongly influence someone’s behavior. A new study by researchers at Duke University, for example, found that “implicit weight bias” in children ages 9 to 11 was as common as “implicit racial bias” is among adults. The study’s lead author, Asheley C. Skinner, a public health researcher, said that prejudices that people are unaware of may predict their biased behaviors even better than explicit prejudice. She traced the origins of weight bias in young children and adolescents to the families they grow up in as well as society at large, which continues to project cultural ideals of ultra-slimness and blames people for being fat. “It’s pretty common for parents to comment on their own weight issues and tell their children they shouldn’t be eating certain foods or remark about how much weight they’re gaining,” Dr. Skinner said.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23982 - Posted: 08.22.2017

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR A handful of walnuts may be an effective weight loss tool. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other substances and, in moderation, have been linked to reduced risk of obesity and diabetes. They may also efficiently reduce appetite. Researchers now may have found out why. They had nine hospitalized obese patients drink, on five consecutive days, either a smoothie containing 48 grams of walnuts (1.7 ounces, or about 14 walnut halves and 315 calories) or a placebo smoothie identical in taste and calorie content. Then, after a month on their regular diet, the patients returned for a second five-day trial, with placebo drinkers on the first trial receiving a walnut smoothie, and vice versa. The participants underwent M.R.I. brain exams while looking at pictures of high-fat food (cake, for example), low-fat food (vegetables) or neutral pictures of rocks and trees. The study, published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, found that when people looked at pictures of high-fat food, activation in the insula, a part of the brain involved in appetite and impulse control, increased among those who drank the walnut smoothie, but not among placebo drinkers. The study was funded in part by the California Walnut Commission. “Walnuts can alter the way our brains view food and impact our appetites,” said the lead author, Olivia M. Farr, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Our results confirm the current recommendations to include walnuts as part of a healthy diet.” © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23975 - Posted: 08.19.2017

By Kate Kyle, CBC News Widespread, prolonged hunger that existed in residential schools is a contributing factor in the disproportionate health issues facing many Indigenous people, such as diabetes and obesity, according to an article published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Hunger is really central to the experiences of residential school survivors," says Ian Mosby who co-authored the article with Tracy Galloway, both with the University of Toronto. They say childhood malnutrition experienced in many government-funded schools is contributing to the higher risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease among Indigenous people in adulthood. "While this wasn't every single residential school," says Mosby, "it's common enough through survivor testimony that we need to start looking at hunger in residential schools as a real predictor of long-term health problems." Residential school kitchen 1920s Residential schools across Canada faced significant underfunding, along with inadequate cooking facilities and untrained staff. Historians and former students have described children getting "one or two pieces of stale bread for lunch. Rarely getting meat, rarely getting milk and butter, and few fruits and vegetables," says Mosby. ©2017 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 23958 - Posted: 08.15.2017

By Kristine Phillips The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the sudden deaths of five people who had undergone an obesity treatment that places an inflated silicone balloon in their stomach. All deaths happened within a month of the procedure, the FDA said in a letter earlier this week to health-care providers. Three people died just one to three days later. The agency, however, cautioned that it has yet to determine whether the devices or the way in which they were placed in the stomachs directly caused those deaths. “At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence per rate of patient death,” the FDA said, adding that it is working with the companies that manufacture the devices. The devices are manufactured by two California companies. Four of the cases involved the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System by Apollo Endosurgery. One involved the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System by ReShape Medical. The deaths happened from 2016 to present, according to the FDA. The agency said two more death reports it received happened within the same time frame and are potentially related to complications from the balloon treatment. The procedure lasts for up to 30 minutes. One or two balloons are placed inside the stomach through the mouth using an endoscope while a patient is mildly sedated. Once inside, it's inflated with liquid, usually with saline solution. The idea is for the balloon, which is about the size of a grapefruit once inflated, to leave less room for food. It stays in the stomach for up to six months, while the patient also follows a diet and exercises regularly. © 1996-2017 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23955 - Posted: 08.14.2017

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Some types of exercise may be better than others at blunting appetite and potentially aiding in weight management, according to an interesting new study of workouts and hunger. It finds that pushing yourself during exercise affects appetite, sometimes in surprising ways. As anyone who has begun an exercise program knows, the relationships between exercise, appetite, weight control and hunger are complex and often counterintuitive. The arithmetic involved seems straightforward. You burn calories during exercise and, over time, should drop pounds. But the reality is more vexing. In both scientific studies and the world inhabited by the rest of us, most people who start exercising lose fewer pounds than would be expected, given the number of calories they are burning during workouts. Many people even gain weight. The problem with exercise as a weight-loss strategy seems to be in large part that it can make you hungry, and many of us wind up consuming more calories after a workout than we torched during it, a biological response that has led some experts and frustrated exercisers to conclude that exercise by itself — without strict calorie reduction — is useless for shedding pounds. But much of the past research into exercise and appetite has concentrated on walking or other types of relatively short or light activities. Some scientists have begun to wonder whether exercise that was physically taxing, either because it was prolonged or intense, might affect appetite differently than more easeful exercise. So for the new study, which was published recently in the Journal of Endocrinology, scientists from Loughborough University in Britain and other institutions who have been studying exercise and appetite for years recruited 16 healthy, fit young men. (They did not include women because this was a small, pilot study, the authors say, and controlling for the effects of women’s menstrual cycles would have been difficult.) © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 23934 - Posted: 08.09.2017

By TAFFY BRODESSER-AKNER James Chambers was watching membership sign-ups on Jan. 4, 2015, like a stock ticker — it was that first Sunday of the year, the day we all decide that this is it, we’re not going to stay fat for one more day. At the time, he was Weight Watchers’ chief executive, and he sat watching, waiting for the line on the graph to begin its skyward trajectory. Chambers knew consumer sentiment had been changing — the company was in its fourth year of member-recruitment decline. But they also had a new marketing campaign to help reverse the generally dismal trend. But the weekend came and went, and the people never showed up. More than two-thirds of Americans were what public-health officials called overweight or obese, and this was the oldest and most trusted diet company in the world. Where were the people? Weight Watchers was at a loss. Chambers called Deb Benovitz, the company’s senior vice president and global head of consumer insights. ‘‘We’re having one of the worst Januaries that anyone could have imagined,’’ she remembers him telling her. In the dieting business, January will tell you everything you need to know about the rest of the year. ‘‘Nothing like we had anticipated.’’ Chambers and Benovitz knew that people had developed a kind of diet fatigue. Weight Watchers had recently tried the new marketing campaign, called ‘‘Help With the Hard Part,’’ an attempt at radical honesty. No one wanted radical honesty. Chambers told Benovitz that they needed to figure out what was going on and how to fix it before the February board meeting. Benovitz got to work. She traveled the country, interviewing members, former members and people they thought should be members about their attitudes toward dieting. She heard that they no longer wanted to talk about ‘‘dieting’’ and ‘‘weight loss.’’ They wanted to become ‘‘healthy’’ so they could be ‘‘fit.’’ They wanted to ‘‘eat clean’’ so they could be ‘‘strong.’’ © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23930 - Posted: 08.08.2017

By GINA KOLATA For middle-aged women struggling with their weight, a recent spate of scientific findings sounds too good to be true. And they may be, researchers caution. Studies in mice indicate that a single hormone whose levels rise at menopause could be responsible for a characteristic redistribution of weight in middle age to the abdomen, turning many women from “pears” to “apples.” At the same time, the hormone may spur the loss of bone. In mouse studies, blocking the hormone solves those problems, increasing the calories burned, reducing abdominal fat, slowing bone loss and even encouraging physical activity. The notion that such a simple intervention could solve two big problems of menopause has received the attention of researchers and has prompted commentaries in prestigious journals like The New England Journal of Medicine and Cell Metabolism. “It’s a super interesting idea,” said Dr. Daniel Bessesen, an obesity expert and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. With obesity rising, “we definitely need some new ideas.” The work began when Dr. Mone Zaidi, a professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, became curious about whether a reproductive hormone — F.S.H., or follicle-stimulating hormone — affects bone density. It had long been assumed that the hormone’s role was limited to reproduction. F.S.H. stimulates the production of eggs in women and sperm in men. Researchers knew that blood levels of F.S.H. soar as women’s ovaries start to fail before menopause. At the same time, women rapidly lose bone — even when blood levels of estrogen, which can preserve bone, remain steady. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 23929 - Posted: 08.08.2017

By Mitch Leslie Prions are insidious proteins that spread like infectious agents and trigger fatal conditions such as mad cow disease. A protein implicated in diabetes, a new study suggests, shares some similarities with these villains. Researchers transmitted diabetes from one mouse to another just by injecting the animals with this protein. The results don’t indicate that diabetes is contagious like a cold, but blood transfusions, or even food, may spread the disease. The work is “very exciting” and “well-documented” for showing that the protein has some prionlike behavior, says prion biologist Witold Surewicz of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who wasn’t connected to the research. However, he cautions against jumping to the conclusion that diabetes spreads from person to person. The study raises that possibility, he says, but “it remains to be determined.” Prions are misfolded proteins that can cause normally folded versions of the same protein to misfold themselves. When this conversion occurs in the brain, the distorted proteins bunch up inside cells and kill them. Although prion diseases are rare in people, they share some similarities with more common illnesses. In Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, globs of a misshapen protein known as β amyloid build up in the brain. Parkinson’s disease and Huntington disease, two other brain maladies, also feature aggregates, or lumps of misfolded proteins. © 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 23910 - Posted: 08.02.2017

Obese people aren’t able to regulate the way body fat is stored or burned because a “switch” in their brain stays on all the time, a new study by Australian researchers has shown. Specialised fat cells called adipocytes are switched back and forth from brown cells, which are energy burning, to white, which store energy. The study, published on Wednesday in Cell Metabolism, showed that after a meal the brain responds to insulin when sugars spike by sending signals to promote the browning of fat to expend energy. Then, after a fast, the brain instructs these browned cells to convert back to white adipocytes, again storing energy. The brain’s ability to sense insulin and coordinate feeding with burning energy is controlled by a switch-like mechanism, researchers from the metabolic disease and obesity program at Monash University say. “What happens in the context of obesity is that the switch stays on all the time – it doesn’t turn on off during feeding,” said the lead researcher, Prof Tony Tiganis. “As a consequence, browning is turned off all the time and energy expenditure is decreased all the time, so when you eat, you don’t see a commensurate increase in energy expenditure – and that promotes weight gain.” Researchers are exploring the possibility of inhibiting the switch to aid weight loss but they say any therapy is “a long way off”. © 2017 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23909 - Posted: 08.02.2017

Katherine Hobson The theory behind artificial sweeteners is simple: If you use them instead of sugar, you get the joy of sweet-tasting beverages and foods without the downer of extra calories, potential weight gain and related health issues. In practice, it's not so simple, as a review of the scientific evidence on non-nutritive sweeteners published Monday shows. After looking at two types of scientific research, the authors conclude that there is no solid evidence that sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose help people manage their weight. And observational data suggest that the people who regularly consume these sweeteners are also more likely to develop future health problems, though those studies can't say those problems are caused by the sweeteners. The health effects of artificial sweeteners are important to study, because so many people use them. Another study published earlier this year found that a quarter of U.S. children and 41 percent of adults reported consuming them, most of them once per day. Even more people may be consuming them unwittingly in products such as granola bars or yogurt. "We were really interested in the everyday person who is consuming these products not to lose weight, but because they think it's the healthier choice, for many years on end," says Meghan Azad, lead author of the review and a research scientist at the University of Manitoba. While more research needs to be done, from what we know now, "there is no clear benefit for weight loss, and there's a potential association with increased weight gain, diabetes and other negative cardiovascular outcomes," says Azad. © 2017 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23845 - Posted: 07.18.2017

Aimee Cunningham An expectant mom might want to think twice about quenching her thirst with soda. The more sugary beverages a mom drank during mid-pregnancy, the heavier her kids were in elementary school compared with kids whose mothers consumed less of the drinks, a new study finds. At age 8, boys and girls weighed approximately 0.25 kilograms more — about half a pound — with each serving mom added per day while pregnant, researchers report online July 10 in Pediatrics. “What happens in early development really has a long-term impact,” says Meghan Azad, an epidemiologist at the University of Manitoba in Canada, who was not involved in the study. A fetus’s metabolism develops in response to the surrounding environment, including the maternal diet, she says. The new findings come out of a larger project that studies the impact of pregnant moms’ diets on their kids’ health. “We know that what mothers eat during pregnancy may affect their children’s health and later obesity,” says biostatistician Sheryl Rifas-Shiman of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston. “We decided to look at sugar-sweetened beverages as one of these factors.” Sugary drinks are associated with excessive weight gain and obesity in studies of adults and children. Rifas-Shiman and colleagues included 1,078 mother-child pairs in the study. Moms filled out a questionnaire in the first and second trimesters of their pregnancy about what they were drinking — soda, fruit drinks, 100 percent fruit juice, diet soda or water — and how often. Soda and fruit drinks were considered sugar-sweetened beverages. A serving was defined as a can, glass or bottle of a beverage. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2017

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 23820 - Posted: 07.11.2017

By Aggie Mika Microglia—the brain’s own macrophages—can prompt excess eating and subsequent weight gain in mice fed high-fat diets, according to a study published today (July 5) in Cell Metabolism. The researchers demonstrate that an appetite-promoting inflammatory cascade driven by these immune cells occurs within the mediobasal region of the hypothalamus, a structure that, according to a news release, “contains key groups of neurons that regulate food intake and energy expenditure.” Prior studies have demonstrated that when mice are fed a diet high in saturated fat, they consume more while expending fewer calories, leading them to gain weight, the news release states. Additionally, previous work in both obese mice and humans has also shown that microglia within the hypothalamus increase following high-fat feeding, prompting inflammation, the authors write in their report. In the current study, the researchers examined whether microglial activity in the mediobasal hypothalamus had anything to do with the increased food consumption and weight gain observed in mice consuming diets high in fat. First, they used a drug to wipe out microglia in this region brain and found that microglia-lacking, high-fat consuming mice gained less weight than their non-drugged, high-fat counterparts. They then genetically manipulated mice so that their microglia weren’t capable of mounting an inflammatory response, and these mice also ate less and gained less weight than normal mice on the high-fat diets. © 1986-2017 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23811 - Posted: 07.07.2017

By Mitch Leslie When you have a stuffy nose, a slice of freshly baked apple pie tastes like mush. But not being able to smell your food could have a surprising effect on your metabolism, potentially helping you remain thin even when you eat fatty foods, a new study in mice suggests. “This is a very exciting study, and the outcome is quite compelling,” says neuroendocrinologist Tamas Horvath of Yale School of Medicine, who wasn’t connected to the research. To conduct the study, molecular biologist Andrew Dillin of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues turned to a variety of genetically altered mice. The scientists gave them regular doses of the diphtheria toxin—which causes a temporary loss of odor-sensing neurons—to suppress their sense of smell. They then fed the rodents either a normal diet or fatty foods—the mouse equivalent of cheesecake and pizza—that usually induce obesity. After more than 3 months of noshing on regular chow, the odor-deprived rodents weighed slightly less than mice whose sense of smell was intact. In the group on the high-fat diet, however, the mice that couldn’t smell weighed 16% less than animals that could, which became obese. Losing the ability to smell also caused a different group of already-obese mice to lose weight, the researchers reveal today in Cell Metabolism. © 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 9: Hearing, Vestibular Perception, Taste, and Smell
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 6: Hearing, Balance, Taste, and Smell
Link ID: 23810 - Posted: 07.06.2017

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Better grades might be found on the playground. A new study of elementary-age children shows that those who were not part of an after-school exercise program tended to pack on a particular type of body fat that can have deleterious impacts on brain health and thinking. But prevention and treatment could be as simple as playing more games of tag. Most children do not meet the federal health guidelines for exercise, which call for at least an hour of it a day for anyone under the age of 18. Physical inactivity can result in weight gain, especially around the midsection — including visceral fat, a type of tissue deep inside the abdomen that is known to increase inflammation throughout the body. It is also linked to heightened risks for diabetes and cardiovascular complications, even in children, and may contribute to declining brain function: Obese adults often perform worse than people of normal weight on tests of thinking skills. But little has been known about visceral fat and brain health in children. For a soon-to-be-published study, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tracked hundreds of 8-to-10-year-old children in a nine-month after-school exercise program in Urbana. Every day, one group of children played tag and other active games for about 70 minutes. The subjects in a control group continued with their normal lives, with the promise that they could join the program the following year. All the children completed tests of fitness, body composition and cognitive skills at the start and end of the program. The researchers did not ask the children to change their diets. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23747 - Posted: 06.17.2017

By MATT RICHTEL More than 10 percent of the world’s population is now obese, a marked rise over the last 30 years that is leading to widespread health problems and millions of premature deaths, according to a new study, the most comprehensive research done on the subject. Published Monday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study showed that the problem had swept the globe, including regions that have historically had food shortages, like Africa. The study, compiled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and funded by the Gates Foundation, looked at 195 countries, essentially the world’s population, finding that rates of obesity at least doubled in 73 countries — including Turkey, Venezuela and Bhutan — from 1980 to 2015, and “continuously increased in most other countries.” Analyzing some 1,800 data sets from around the world, researchers found that excess weight played a role in four million deaths in 2015, from heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and other factors. The per capita death rate was up 28 percent since 1990 and, notably, 40 percent of the deaths were among people who were overweight but not heavy enough to be classified as obese. The study defined obese as a body mass index of 30 or higher and overweight as a B.M.I. from 25 to 29. By those measures, nearly 604 million adults worldwide are obese and 108 million children, the authors reported. Obesity rates among children are rising faster in many countries than among adults. In the United States, 12.5 percent of children were obese, up from 5 percent in 1980. Combining children and adults, the United States had the dubious distinction of having the largest increase in percentile points of any country, a jump of 16 percentage points to 26.5 percent of the overall population. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 23734 - Posted: 06.13.2017

Children born to women with gestational diabetes whose diet included high proportions of refined grains may have a higher risk of obesity by age 7, compared to children born to women with gestational diabetes who ate low proportions of refined grains, according to results from a National Institutes of Health study. These findings, which appear online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, were part of the Diabetes & Women’s Health Study, a research project led by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar during pregnancy, affects about 5 percent of all pregnancies in the United States and may lead to health problems for mothers and newborns. The authors noted that previous studies have linked diets high in refined grains — such as white rice — to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The researchers compared records from 918 mother-child pairs who took part in the Danish National Birth Cohort, a study that followed the pregnancies of more than 91,000 women in Denmark. They found that children born to women with gestational diabetes who consumed the most refined grain (more than 156 grams per day) were twice as likely to be obese at age 7, compared to children born to women with gestational diabetes who ate the least amount of refined grain (less than 37 grams per day). The link between maternal grain consumption during pregnancy and obesity by age 7 still persisted when the researchers controlled for factors that could potentially influence the children’s weight — such as physical activity level and consumption of vegetables, fruit and sweets. The authors called for additional studies to confirm their results and to follow children through later childhood, adolescence and adulthood to see if the obesity risk persists later in life.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 23720 - Posted: 06.08.2017