Posts

Showing posts from February, 2009

Health Campaigns Promoting Exercise may Make us Eat More

Image
Messages from health campaigns promoting exercise seem to make us eat more. Research results, published in the journal Obesity, show that some health campaigns, such as posters saying, “Join a gym”, have the opposite effect on healthy behavior. According to the study, people who looked at health posters promoting exercise actually ate more, rather than exercising.

Psychology professor Dolores Albarracín looked at the how direct messages from health campaigns may make people eat rather than exercise. Direct health messages may subliminally have the opposite effect. The study may be important for delivering motivational health campaigns.

The study builds on previous research that shows exercise campaigns can produce the opposite behaviors of the intended message. People who viewed posters saying, “Join a gym”, or “Take a walk” ate more food compared to those who viewed posters that said, “Make friends” or “join a group”, shown by Dr. Albarracín’s study.

The findings show that exercise …

Study Reveals how HIV Adapts to Host

Image
Researchers have discovered how HIV adapts to its host to avoid destruction. The findings of the study mean researchers face greater challenges than previously known for finding an HIV vaccine.

The scientists discovered that HIV mutates to escape natural defense systems in the body. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Oxford in England found at least 14 different mutations of the HIV virus, based on genetic variations of the host.

The study, published in the journal Nature, shows how the HIV virus escapes different forms of human leukocyte antigen (HLA), by examining DNA variations of the HIV virus in conjunction with HLA. The research included 2,800 HIV-infected patients, from South Africa, Botswana, Australia, Canada and Japan.

Co-author, Richard Kaslow, M.D., a professor in the UAB School of Public Health explains, "If HIV adapts differently in genetically distinct hosts, the challenge ahead in vaccine design is formidable. Key g…

High Fat Diet Promotes Cancer Spread

Image
Researchers have found that consuming a high fat diet increases the chances that cancer will metastasize, or spread, by three hundred percent. Purdue University scientists have precisely measured the process of how a high fat diet promotes the spread of cancer from studying lab mice.

The study measured the impact of fat and the spread of cancer. The findings revealed that a high fat diet causes cancerous tumors to undergo a process that changes the shape of cancer cells, allowing them to mobilize and spread throughout the body.

The scientists measured the spread of cancer using imaging techniques that allowed the researchers to see the changes in the cancer cells. A second technique, called intravital flow cytometry, then showed the researchers how many cancer cells were in the animal’s bloodstream. The imaging and cytometry techniques might also help diagnose the spread of cancer in humans.

The reasons that fat can cause cancer to spread to other parts of the body is thought to be th…

Personalized Advice Helps Patients Cut Heart Disease Risk

Image
A new study shows that physicians and other healthcare providers can help patients cut their risk of heart disease by considering age and socioeconomic status. Rather than telling patients to “be healthy”, a more personalized approach may be more effective after a patient is told they are at high risk for developing heart disease.

Dr Hannah Farrimond, from Egenis, the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society at the University of Exeter, studied the reactions of patients who are told to change their lifestyle to reduce heart disease risk.

"In the past, researchers have thought we need to scare people into feeling at risk to make them change. This study suggests that even those who downplayed their risk still made changes, such as taking statins or exercising more. In other words, we don't need to scare people to get results. Clinical staff need to find other ways of encouraging patients to make the necessary lifestyle changes, such as offering personalised advice," says F…

Recurrent COPD Symptoms Increasingly Worsens Lung Function

Image
New research shows that recurring symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease) leads to progression of the disease from declining lung function, which may not return to baseline.

The results of the study, which appear in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, show that worsening of COPD symptoms are dangerous to patients affected with the lung disease. Every time symptoms become worse, lung function declines, increasing the risk of complications from COPD.

The research shows that when symptoms of COPD create sudden breathing problems requiring intervention, patients may never fully recover their previous state of lung function. Recurrences of breathing problems tend to become more severe with each episode.

Most importantly, the study showed there is a crucial time for physicians to intervene with patients. The researchers found an eight-week period during which follow-up and close monitoring for recurring COPD symptoms is crucial.

Author John Hurst, M.D.,…

Study Shows Violent Media Desensitizes us to Needs of Others

Image
A new study shows that watching violent media desensitizes us to the needs of others. Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa conducted studies that show exposure to violent media leads to less helpful behavior toward those injured or otherwise in need.

The study, published March 2009 issue of Psychological Science, showed that exposure to violent media produces measureable physiologic changes. Michigan professor Brad Bushman and Iowa State University professor Craig Anderson, authors of the current study, have conducted previous research showing that watching violent media lowers heart rate and skin conductance, a measure of stress.

The new study reveals that people exposed to violent media show significant delays in their willingness to help injured people. The study builds on the previous research. Bushman says, "People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are 'comfortably numb' to the pain and suffering…

Free Radicals Appear to be Unrelated to Aging

Image
The notion that oxidative stress causes us to age is under fire from McGill University researchers. The scientists question the theory that oxidative stress from free radicals is related to aging. They found that some organisms lived longer when their ability to clear free radicals, or ROS (reactive oxygen species), from the body was disabled in experiments.

Hekimi, McGill's Strathcona Chair of Zoology and Robert Archibald & Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology says, It is true that the more an organism appears aged, whether in terms of disease, or appearance or anything you care to measure, the more it seems to be suffering from oxidative stress.

Clinical trials have not supported the notion that taking large doses of antioxidant vitamins like co-enzyme Q or vitamin E has a significant effect on aging. The new study from McGill also shows that antioxidant vitamins may be no help for slowing the aging process.

Hekimi explains, "The problem with the t…

Family History of Melanoma Doubles Parkinson’s Disease Risk

Image
A large study, involving nearly 157,000 people, shows that family history of melanoma may be linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Family history of melanoma showed double the risk of Parkinson’s disease in the study group, when researchers compared to those with no family history of melanoma.

The new study, due for presentation at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, beginning April 25 2009, looked into family history of the individuals included in the study. The researchers asked the group whether their siblings or parents had been diagnosed with melanoma. None of the nearly 157000 individuals had Parkinson’s disease.

The scientists monitored the group for fourteen to twenty years, finding that 616 of the individuals followed in the study were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Study author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, of the Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston, MA, says, “The results from this study suggest that melanoma and Parkinson’s cou…

Belly Fat may be Making Your Migraines Worse

Image
Results of a new investigation suggest belly fat might make migraine headaches worse. The result of a large study shows a link between excess abdominal fat, and frequency of migraine headaches.

The  findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25 to May 2, 2009.

Researchers investigated 22,211 people between age 20 and 55, who were asked to report whether they experience severe headaches or migraines. They measured total body obesity and waist circumference, using BMI based on weight and height.

The study found that women with belly fat, age 20 to 55 are more prone to migraine headaches compared to women with smaller waistlines. The incidence of migraines was 37% and 29% respectively. But women over age 55 had a decreased risk of migraine headache associated with belly fat.

Men in the study group with belly fat had 20 percent more migraines, compared to 16 percent of men without abdominal obesity.

The study showed that wo…

Researchers Find Key Enzyme for Healthy Skin and Hair

Image
Scientists from Gladstone Institutes of Cardiovascular Disease have isolated an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of Vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and hair.

Researchers found that genetically removing the enzyme, DGAT1 results in hair loss and sensitivity of the skin to retinol in the mice studied. When they removed dietary sources of retinol, the process was reversed.

Robert V. Farese, Jr. who led the study says,” For some time, we have been studying the enzymes that make triglycerides. We found that one of these enzymes is a major regulator of retinoic acid actions in the skin.”

The researchers say DGAT1 is important for regulating the synthesis of retinol (Vitamin A) to retinoic acid.

Vitamin A can be toxic when excess amounts are stored in the body. Vitamin A or retinol is used to treat acne, psoriasis, skin cancers and other skin disorders, but its use must be carefully regulated.

The study showed that DGAT1 regulates the storage of retinol in the body. When the research…

Pollution and Asthma Risk in Children Starts in the Womb

Image
New research finds that childhood asthma, before age five, begins in the womb during fetal development. Cincinnati researchers have discovered that maternal exposure to pollution can alter gene expression during fetal development, increasing the risk of asthma in children.

The new study from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health appears Feb. 16 2009 in PLoS ONE. Alteration in the gene ACSL3, from maternal exposure to pollution, is now found to occur in the womb during fetal development, perhaps in response to PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) exposure. PAH is a a byproduct of incomplete combustion.

Researchers analyzed blood taken from the umbilical cords of 56 infants born in areas of high traffic. Both mother and child were residents in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. During pregnancy, the mothers were outfitted with backpacks to measure exposure to PAH that might lead to childhood asthma during fetal development in the w…

Second Hand Smoke Alcohol Combo Boosts Risk of Liver Disease

Image
According to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), exposure to second hand smoke, combined with drinking alcohol may increase the risk of liver disease by stimulating higher levels of proteins in the blood that lead to cirrhosis. The study appears in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

According to Shannon Bailey, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Environmental Health Sciences and a co-lead author on the study, "This new data is a significant finding considering the combined effect of alcohol and cigarette smoke exposures, and the implications for public health."

The researcher exposed mice to smoke in the laboratory, and put ethanol in the liquid diet fed to the mice during the research.

The study results showed that the mice given alcohol, and exposed to second-hand smoke had 110 percent more liver fibrosis proteins than the mice given purified air. Fibrosis of the liver causes scar tissue in the liver that can lead t…

Study Reinforces Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Link

Image
Stanford researchers have published the results of a study that reinforces the link between postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and increased incidence of breast cancer.

According to the study results, women who take combined estrogen plus progestin hormone therapy for at least five years after menopause, have twice the annual risk of developing breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer is not associated with women who only take estrogen.

The scientists looked at two groups of women, from two different studies. One group included 15,000 women from an original study, halted three years early by the NIH who sponsored the study. The women either were given a placebo, or combined hormones. By 2002, no incidences of breast cancer had emerged, but the researchers continued to follow the women, monitoring frequency of mammogram and new cases of breast cancer. The women were instructed to stop taking their pills.

Data from a second group included 41,449 women, starting in 1994, who made …