October 6, 2009, 7:18 AM CT
Impact of Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban on obesity
Restrictions on fast-food chain restaurants in South Los Angeles are not addressing the main differences between neighborhood food environments and are unlikely to improve the diet of residents or reduce obesity, as per a new RAND Corporation study.
Scientists from RAND Health observed that the South Los Angeles region has no more fast-food chain establishments on a per capita basis than other parts of the city, but rather a number of more small food stores and other food outlets.
Those outlets are more likely to be the source of high-calorie snacks and soda consumed substantially more often by residents of South Los Angeles as in comparison to other parts of the city, as per the study published online by the journal Health Affairs
"The Los Angeles ordinance may have been an important first by being concerned with health outcomes, but it is not the most promising approach to lowering the high rate of obesity in South Los Angeles," said Roland Sturm, the study's main author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "It does not address the main differences we see in the food environment between Los Angeles neighborhoods nor in the diet of residents."
The Los Angeles City Council in August 2008 approved a ban on opening or expanding fast-food restaurants in an area of the city known as South Los Angeles. The ordinance focused on fast food restaurants characterized by "excessive signage, little or no landscaping, large expanses of surface parking, drive-through windows, multiple driveways, parking lots fronting the street" and argued that the low-income region had a higher concentration of fast-food establishments than more-affluent sections of the city.........
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October 6, 2009, 7:16 AM CT
Resveratrol, brain and diabetes
Resveratrol, a molecule found in red grapes, has been shown to improve diabetes when delivered orally to rodents. Until now, however, little has been known about how these beneficial changes are mediated in the body. A newly released study accepted for publication in Endocrinology
, a journal of The Endocrine Society, shows that the brain plays a key role in mediating resveratrol's anti-diabetic actions, potentially paving the way for future orally-delivered diabetes medications that target the brain.
Resveratrol activates sirtuins, a class of proteins that are thought to underlie a number of of the beneficial effects of calorie restriction. Prior studies in mice have provided compelling evidence that when sirtuins are activated by resveratrol, diabetes is improved. Sirtuin activators are now being tested in humans as anti-diabetic compounds.
Sirtuins are expressed virtually everywhere throughout the body and until now, little has been known about what tissues mediate resveratrol's beneficial effects. Knowing where in the body the beneficial effects of activated sirtuins are mediated could help in the development of more effective targeted diabetes medications.
"We know that sirtuins are expressed in parts of the brain known to govern glucose metabolism, so we hypothesized that the brain could be mediating resveratrol's anti-diabetic actions," said Roberto Coppari, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and co-author of the study. "To test the hypothesis, we assessed the metabolic consequences of delivering resveratrol directly into the brain of diabetic mice. We observed that resveratrol did activate sirtuins in the brain of these mice which resulted in improving their high levels of blood sugar and insulin".........
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October 6, 2009, 7:12 AM CT
How your ethnicity and diabetic risk are related?
Fat and muscle mass, as potentially determined by a person's ethnic background, may contribute to diabetes risk, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Obesity, a worldwide health concern, is linked to increased insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of obesity is increasing in all populations across the globe, yet past research has observed that body fat distribution varies widely among different ethnic groups. Scientists in this study investigated which ethnic groups were most likely to be at increased risk for diabetes due to higher total body fat and lower muscle mass.
"We know certain ethnic backgrounds show significant differences in amounts of body fat and lean mass," said Scott Lear, PhD, of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and main author of the study. "What we didn't know, until now, is if these differences are correlation to insulin levels and insulin resistance, and therefore lead to an increased risk for diabetes. Our findings indicate they are".
In this study, scientists measured insulin levels and compared the amount of total body fat to lean mass in 828 men and women of Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian origin to determine how differences in fat mass and lean mass appears to be correlation to insulin levels and insulin resistance in each group. Of the four ethnic groups studied, South Asians were found to have both higher fat mass, lower muscle mass and greater insulin levels, placing them at increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes.........
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October 6, 2009, 7:09 AM CT
Why HIV is more prevalent in African Americans?
HIV prevalence among African Americans is ten times greater than the prevalence among whites. This racial disparity in HIV prevalence haccording tosisted in the face of both governmental and private actions, involving a number of billions of dollars, to combat HIV. In the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examine factors responsible for the stark racial disparities in HIV infection in the U.S. and the now concentrated epidemic among African Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 45% of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2006 occurred among non-Hispanic blacks. Among the 13,184 adolescents and young adults in The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study, HIV seroprevalence was almost 0.5% among blacks 20 times that of whites.
While individual-level sexual behaviors can contribute to the disparity in HIV prevalence, these observed differences in individual behaviors do not fully explain the marked racial differences in HIV infection prevalence. Even when comparisons are stratified by education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, injection drug use, and HSV-2 antibody positivity, HIV prevalence among African Americans exceeds that of whites, typically substantially.........
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October 6, 2009, 7:06 AM CT
How stiff are your arteries?
How far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position - normally used to define the flexibility of a person's body - appears to be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are.
A study in the American Journal of Physiology has observed that, among people 40 years old and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Because arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease, the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke.
"Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily reviewed," said one of the authors, Kenta Yamamoto. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening".
It is not known why arterial flexibility would be correlation to the flexibility of the body in middle age and older people. But the authors say that one possibility is that stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening.
The study "Poor trunk flexibility is linked to arterial stiffening" appears in the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology. The authors are: Kenta Yamamoto of the University of North Texas and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Japan; Hiroshi Kawano, Yuko Gando and Mitsuru Higuchi of Waseda University, Japan; Motoyuki Iemitsu of International Pacific University, Japan; Haruka Murakami, Michiya Tanimoto, Yumi Ohmori, Izumi Tabata, Motohiko Miyachi of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition; and Kiyoshi Sanada of Ritsumeikan University, Japan. The American Physiological Society published the study.........
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October 1, 2009, 6:58 AM CT
Infliximab reduces need for surgery in ulcerative colitits
A newly released study led by Mayo Clinic scientists has observed that ulcerative colitis patients had a 41 percent reduction in colectomy after a year when treated with infliximab, as per a research studyreported in the October 2009 issue of Gastroenterology.
Typically ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (ibd) that causes chronic inflammation of the colon, is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea. Like Crohn's disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and often lead to colectomy or surgical removal of the colon.
"Our purpose in this study was to see if the use of infliximab for ulcerative colitis would reduce the need for surgery," says William Sandborn, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and main author of the study. "We observed that therapy with infliximab reduced the need for colectomy by 41 percent in comparison to patients treated with placebo."
In this multi-center, international study, 728 patients received placebo or infliximab (5 or 10 mg/kg) for 46 weeks and were monitored for hospitalization or surgical outcomes. Eighty-seven percent (630 of 728) had complete follow-up for the endpoint of whether or not they had colectomy, while the remaining 13 percent (98 of 728) of patients had follow-up for less then a year, with a median follow-up of 6.2 months in these patients. The research showed that therapy with infliximab at 0, 2 and 6 and then every 8 weeks reduced the occurence rate of colectomy through 54 weeks by 41 percent in outpatients with moderately-to-severe active ulcerative colitis.........
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October 1, 2009, 6:52 AM CT
Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries
Trauma patients who were intoxicated before their injuries were more likely to survive than trauma patients who suffered similar injuries but were sober at the time, as per a research studyreported in the October edition of the American Surgeon
that was conducted by scientists at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed).
The scientists surveyed 7,985 trauma patients of similar age and with similar injuries to determine if the consumption of alcohol previous to injury affected outcome. The study found 7 percent of the sober patients died in comparison to just 1 percent of the patients who had been drinking.
"This study is not encouraging the use of alcohol," said Christian de Virgilio, MD, LA BioMed's principal investigator for the study. "It is seeking to further explore earlier studies that had found alcohol may improve the body's response to severe injuries. If alcohol is proven to improve the body's response to traumatic injury, it could lead to therapys that help patients survive and recover more quickly".
Alcohol consumption is already known to be one of the leading causes of accident and injury, with a prior study finding it contributes to about one-third of all trauma-related deaths. Prior studies found trauma patients who had abused alcohol for a long period of time had lower survival rates. But recent studies also found alcohol consumption may protect against death by changing the chemical response to injury.........
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October 1, 2009, 6:50 AM CT
Don't let him eat sweet everyday
Children who eat sweets and chocolate every day are more likely to be violent as adults, as per new research.
A study of almost 17,500 participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study observed that 10-year-olds who ate confectionary daily were significantly more likely to have been convicted for violence at age 34 years.
The study, reported in the recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry
, is the first to examine the long-term effects of childhood diet on adult violence.
Scientists from Cardiff University observed that 69 per cent of the participants who were violent at the age of 34 had eaten sweets and chocolate nearly every day during childhood, in comparison to 42% who were non-violent.
This link between confectionary consumption and violence remained after controlling for other factors.
The scientists put forward several explanations for the link. Lead researcher Dr Simon Moore said: "Our favoured explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them learning how to wait to obtain something they want. Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behaviour, which is strongly linked to delinquency."
The scientists concluded: "This association between confectionary consumption and violence needs further attention. Targeting resources at improving children's diet may improve health and reduce aggression".........
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October 1, 2009, 6:48 AM CT
Smoking during pregnancy is risky
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy put their children at greater risk of developing psychotic symptoms in their teenage years.
New research reported in the recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry
shows a link between maternal tobacco use and psychotic symptoms.
Scientists from Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham and Warwick Universities studied 6,356 12-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All the children completed an interview for psychotic-like symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Just over 11% of the children (734) had suspected or definite symptoms of psychosis.
Smoking during pregnancy was found to be linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms in the children. The scientists observed a 'dose-response effect', meaning that the risk of psychotic symptoms was highest in the children whose mothers smoked the most heavily during pregnancy.
The study also examined whether alcohol use and cannabis use during pregnancy was linked to a higher risk of psychotic symptoms.
Drinking during pregnancy was linked to increased psychotic symptoms, but only in the children of mothers who had drunk more than 21 units of alcohol a week in early pregnancy. Only a few mothers in the study said they had smoked cannabis during pregnancy, and this was not found to have any significant association with psychotic symptoms.........
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October 1, 2009, 6:45 AM CT
Antidepressant or placebo?
When used "off-label," the antidepressant amitriptyline works just as well as placebo in treating pain-predominant gastrointestinal disorders in children, as per a newly released study in Gastroenterology
, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. To view this article's video abstract, go to the AGA's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/AmerGastroAssn.
"A number of pharmaceutical products are prescribed for off-label use in children due to the lack of clinical trials testing the efficacy of the drugs in children and adolescents. Therefore, the pediatric gastroenterologist frequently has to make therapy decisions without the evidence of how drugs work in children," said Miguel Saps, MD, of Children's Memorial Hospital and main author of the study. "The high placebo effect we identified in this study suggests that further studies of the use of certain antidepressants in children with functional bowel disorders are needed. While several trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect of antidepressants, including amitriptyline, for the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in adults, more studies are needed to determine how effective this drug is, if at all, in children".
Amitriptyline (Elavil) is used to treat symptoms of depression, however, it is often times prescribed to children for pain relief from pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). Pain-predominant FGIDs are among the most common causes for medical consultation in children. Such disorders include three common conditions: IBS, functional dyspepsia and functional abdominal pain.........
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