Tag Archives: research

New Study Reveals You Can Eat Fatty Foods and Still Remain Healthy

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A new study has shown that it’s possible to have your cake and still remain thin and healthy.

The study, which was conducted on mice by regulatory biologist Satchidanada Panda, revealed that it is possible to eat fatty foods and still have little risk of weight gain and the diseases that come with it.  If you do want to eat a snack, eat it earlier, then wait 16 hours to eat it again.

Panda’s study was published online by the journal Cell Metabolism and tested mice’s eating habits over 100 days.  The control group ate regular food, while two groups ate high-fat, high-calorie food.

One of the groups who were fed high-fat, high-calorie foods were allowed to eat whenever they wanted, and thus became obese.  The other group, who were only able to eat high-fat foods for eight hours, were just as lean as the mice in the control group.  The obese mice had high cholesterol and high blood sugar levels, but the other group who was forced to fast, showed no signs of inflammation.

This study suggests that our stomach’s, brain’s, and body’s digestive machinery needs a break from incoming fuel.

The study, however, hasn’t come without controversy.  Obesity researchers are skeptical, since mice aren’t tempted by fast food and other sugary sweets.  Panda has acknowledged though that his research needs to be refined and tested on humans.

HIV Prevention Pill May Soon Be Approved

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A pill called Truvada is being tested by the University of California as a potential HIV prevention.

The UC-based California HIV/AIDS Research Program, or CHRP, has been awarded grants that equal to around $11.8 million to see if the current HIV drug can actually be used to prevent the virus.

Truvada was originally approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2004 to treat HIV patients.  Since then, an international trial has revealed that it has worked as a preventive measure in a select few gay and bisexual populations.

The trial has revealed that overall, it prevented HIV infection in 44 percent of the population, and those who took the pill more consistently, had a reduction of 73 percent.

The current study being performed will take place in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach on nearly 700 gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender women, who are at high-risk but not infected.  Another team is also in Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, and other East Bay locations and will test it on young gay and bisexual men of color.

Truvada’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, Inc., has sent in an application to the FDA to be reviewed.  They hope that by summer, the drug will be approved as an HIV prevention pill.

Scientists May Have Cure for Rare Childhood Disease

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Scientists at Rutgers believe they may have found a way to prevent and possibly even reverse a rare childhood degenerative disease.

The disease leaves children with slurred speech and the inability to walk, which results with them in a wheelchair.

Research was done by Karl Herrup, chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutger’s School of Arts and Sciences.  His research, which was published in the April 1 online edition of Nature Medicine, provided new information on why this particular genetic disease attacks the cerebellum, which is a part of the brain which controls coordination and equilibrium.

Herrup and his colleagues learned while studying human brain tissue studies that young adults who died from axtaxia-telangiectasia, or A-T disease, had a protein known as HDAC4 in the wrong place.  This protein, which regulates bone and muscle development, ended up in the nucleus of a nerve cell rather then in the cytoplasm.  When in its proper place, HDAC4 helps prevent nerve cell degeneration.

The researchers tested a chemical compound called trichostation A (TSA) on mice to see if it would help with preventing the HDAC4 in the nucleus from allowing degeneration.  The test worked and now scientists have hope that this can help in the treatment of humans.

A-T occurs in around 1 in ever 40,000 births.  The disease causes the immune system to break down, which leaves children to become susceptible to certain cancers, like leukemia.  There currently is no known cure and most of the children die in their early 20s.

Link Found Between HIV and Abuse in Women

Dr. Edward Machtinger, who is the director of the Women’s HIV program at UCSF, recently lead a study to determine the relationship between HIV and women who are abused.

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Dr. Machtinger’s study concluded that women who had HIV were two to six times more likely to have experienced some sort of trauma or abuse than women who were not HIV-positive.

The study also showed that around 30% of women with HIV also have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 60% of these women have been abused at some point in their life, while as only 12% of women without HIV have experienced abuse.

The results are based on surveys sent to 113 female patients who are HIV-positive and received treatement at UCSF.

To read more about the study, click here.

Stem Cell…Hamburger?

Dr. Mark Post, who is a professor at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, is currently working on making the world’s first stem cell hamburger at the price of about $330,ooo (250,000 Euros).

In October of this year, Dr. Post is hoping to reveal his creation, which he announced at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting on Sunday.

Since meat consumption is expected to double over the next 40 years, Dr. Post decided to work on a different way to produce this meat. About 35% of the world’s surface is currently being used as pastures and croplands, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’s study conducted in 2007.

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Dr. Post’s experimental meat still has a long way to go in order to reach hamburger status. His samples are only about three centimeters long, and have a pink and yellow hue. Fat also has to be grown separately to give the burger the taste that people want.

No animals are being harmed in the process at this time, but their cells could be used in the future to mass produce the meat. It would take 10 to 20 years and far more resources for this process to become more efficient than the process currently in place for regular burgers.

Read more here.

20% of Americans Suffer From Mental Illness

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According to a new government study, 1 in 5 American adults, or 20%, reported having had a mental illness in the last year.

The figure rose to around 30% for those between the ages of 18-25, which is much higher than the 14.3% reported in patients 50 and older.

Of the nearly 46 million American adults who reportedly had a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, 60% didn’t receive treatment for their condition.  The most likely reason for so is not most can’t afford the care.

Researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stated that while 20% of the population is rather high, only 5% reported having serious issues which interfered with their lives.

Unfortunately 30% of those with serious mental illness also didn’t receive treatment.

Those most likely to have a higher risk of getting a mental illness in 2010 were the unemployed, Medicaid beneficiaries, those living below the poverty line, and young patients.  Women have a higher risk then men, from 23% versus 16.8%.

The study also revealed that around 8.7 million people have seriously contemplated suicide, while 2.5 million had actually made plans.  Just above a million patients had actually attempted to commit suicide.

Signs of mental illness are also affecting American youth, children between the ages of 12 and 17.  Around 8% reported having a major depressive episode, meaning feeling depressed for at least two weeks.  Children who reported feeling this way were more likely to try or use drugs than those who didn’t.

These findings have only emphasized that the United States needs a better mental health treatment system and way for people to pay for the treatment.

Are We Winning the War Against Cancer?

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Although cancer is now the top killer of Canadians, people who are diagnosed are living longer than usual.

Curing cancer is often what most people hope for when asked about what medical breakthrough they would like to see, but are we winning the war on cancer?

The “war on cancer” began in 1971, when U.S. President Richard Nixon declared it in one of his annual state of the union speeches.  But, measuring progress on the war really depends on who you ask and how they measure success.

Currently, there has been progress against some childhood cancers, but otherwise, there has been little change in mortality rates.

Clifton Leaf, who is the author of a Fortune magazine article entitled “Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer,” is actually one the people who benefited from the success against certain children cancers.  Leaf, who had Hodgkin’s disease in the 1970s, focuses on actual death rates in his article.  These rates actually haven’t changed much in decades in the following cancers: lung, pancreatic, and liver.

Leaf likes to point out that “there will not be one cancer magic bullet,” which is because there are over 200 forms of cancer.

One way to win the war against cancer would be prevention.  If people would increase physical activity, avoid drinking alcohol excessively, tackle obesity, and quit smoking, cancer rates could half.  But since this isn’t currently enforced 177,800 new cases of cancer is expected to be diagnosed yearly in Canada.

Young Adults Become Less Active With Move to College

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada discovered that an adult’s behaviors in physical activity decline steeply when they move on to the college or university level.  Over the 12 year span, from the change from adolescence to adulthood, the amount of physical activity decreases by 24%, mainly among males.

The results come from a study done of 683 Canadian kids between the ages of 12 and 15.  These participants were interview twice a year until they reached the ages between 24 and 27.  The decline in physical activity took place during the years when they moved on to post-secondary education.

Of course, the results are not the same for women.  According to the results of the research females had a 1.7% decrease in their physical activities, but they were also less active as adolescents.

Statistics show that 85% of Canadian adults do not get enough activity in their life, a number that is starting to compete with that of the United States.  Experts agree that 20% of premature deaths can be prevented if adults exercised more often and abstained from health risks such as smoking and binge drinking.

Although Canadians are encouraged to participate in more activity by public health campaigns McMaster researchers still aren’t convinced that enough is being done to address the issue.  It seems it’s not so much getting adults to be more active, but rather urging them not to lose their exercise habits as they get older.

Family Member’s Also Benefit from Gastric Bypass Surgery

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New research has revealed that if a person undergoes gastric bypass surgery, their family is likely to also lose weight and increase physical activity.

The study calls the phenomenon the “halo effect” and assessed people for one year after they had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

There were 85 participants, with 35 of them patients, 35 being adult family members, and 15 were children under 18-years-old.  To be involved in the study, the patient had to live in the same home as their family, and all family members had to accompany the patient on their hospital visits.

All participants also had to attend three educational session before the surgery and after.  Prior to the surgery, sixty percent of the adult family members and 73 percent of children were obese.

By the end of the study, obese adult family members had lost weight, while children’s body mass index was lower.  Adults decreased alcohol consumption, while all improved their eating habits and exercised more often.

Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems

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It has been proven that having an abortion does not raise the risk of a woman suffering mental health problems.

Data from 44 studies has show that women who have an unwanted pregnancy, regardless of whether they have the child or get an abortion, have a higher incidence of mental health problems.

The review revealed that women with unwanted pregnancies had a rate of around three times higher than the average woman to suffer from common disorders like anxiety and depression.  Regardless of whether one had an abortion or gave birth to the child, the results carried roughly equal risks.

The study excluded the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret, and assessed women up to 90 days of having an abortion.  Researchers hope that this evidence will reassure women that having an abortion is a safe procedure with no impact on their mental health.

Anti-abortion campaigners are calling foul however, saying that the study wants to minimize the psychological effect of ending a pregnancy.

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