Antibiotic use in infants before 6 months associated with being overweight in childhood Reply

New York City (August 21, 2012) – Treating very young infants with antibiotics may predispose them to being overweight in childhood, according to a study of more than 10,000 children by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and published in the online August 21, 2012, issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The study found that on average, children exposed to antibiotics from birth to 5 months of age weighed more for their height than children who weren’t exposed. Between the ages of 10 to 20 months, this translated into small increases in body mass percentile, based on models that incorporated the potential impacts of diet, physical activity, and parental obesity. By 38 months of age, exposed children had a 22% greater likelihood of being overweight. However, the timing of exposure mattered: children exposed from 6 months to 14 months did not have significantly higher body mass than children who did not receive antibiotics in that same time period.

The NYU School of Medicine researchers, led by Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine, and Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, professor of population health and medicine, caution that the study does not prove that antibiotics in early life causes young children to be overweight. It only shows that a correlation exists. Further studies will need to be conducted to explore the issue of a direct causal link. More…

Acai counteracts oxidative stress, lengthens lifespan in fruit flies Reply

24 AUG 2012

Bewildered by the array of antioxidant fruit juices on display in the supermarket and the promises they make? To sort out the antioxidant properties of fruits and berries, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine turned to fruit flies for help.

They found that a commercially available acai berry product can lengthen the lives of fruit flies, when the flies’ lives are made short through additional oxidative stress. Under certain conditions (a simple sugar diet) acai supplementation could triple flies’ lifespans, from eight to 24 days. Acai could also counteract the neurotoxic effects of the herbicide paraquat on the flies.

The results were recently published by the journal Experimental Gerontology, which awarded the paper its inaugural “Outstanding paper” prize. The lead author is Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer, a postdoctoral fellow in Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology.

Vrailas-Mortimer says she didn’t start out focusing on acai. But acai worked better than several other antioxidant products such as vitamins, coenzyme Q10 and lutein.

“One thing that makes our work distinctive is that we tried commercially available supplements,” she says. “We went to a health food store and filled up a basket.”

She says she began the project with the help of undergraduate student Rosy Gomez, and narrowed her focus after initial success with acai. Vrailas-Mortimer took advantage of a discovery she had made working with Subhabrata Sanyal, assistant professor of cell biology, PhD. They had previously found that flies with mutations in the “p38 MAP kinase” gene have shorter lives and are more sensitive to heat, food deprivation and oxidative stress. More…

Study shows long term effects of radiation in pediatric cancer patients Reply

August 21, 2012 By Garth Sundem Leave a Comment

For many pediatric cancer patients, total body irradiation (TBI) is a necessary part of treatment during bone marrow transplant– it’s a key component of long term survival. But lengthened survival creates the ability to notice long term effects of radiation as these youngest cancer patients age. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer details these late effects of radiation.

“These kids basically lie on a table and truly do get radiation from head to toe. There is a little blocking of the lungs, but nothing of, for example, the brain or the kidneys,” says Jean Mulcahy-Levy, MD, research fellow at the CU Cancer Center and the paper’s first author.

Of 15 patients who received TBI before age 3, many developed endocrine and metabolic problems including testicular malfunction (78 percent), restrictive pulmonary disease due to high levels of blood triglycerides (74 percent), and cataracts (78 percent). Likewise, 90 percent of patients showed abnormally low levels of growth hormone, and 71 percent were considerably under height. Additional late effects of TBI included kidney, liver, skeletal and cardiac malfunction – and three of four patients whose IQ had been tested before TBI showed cognitive decline. More…

First evidence from humans on how alcohol may boost risk of cancer Reply

” about 30 percent of people of Asian descent ― almost 1.6 billion people ― have a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene and are unable to metabolize alcohol to acetate”
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 22, 2012 — Almost 30 years after discovery of a link between alcohol consumption and certain forms of cancer, scientists are reporting the first evidence from research on people explaining how the popular beverage may be carcinogenic. The results, which have special implications for hundreds of millions of people of Asian descent, were reported here today at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Silvia Balbo, Ph.D., who led the study, explained that the human body breaks down, or metabolizes, the alcohol in beer, wine and hard liquor. One of the substances formed in that breakdown is acetaldehyde, a substance with a chemical backbone that resembles formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. Scientists also have known from laboratory experiments that acetaldehyde can cause DNA damage, trigger chromosomal abnormalities in cell cultures and act as an animal carcinogen.

“We now have the first evidence from living human volunteers that acetaldehyde formed after alcohol consumption damages DNA dramatically,” Balbo said. She is a research associate in the laboratory of Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., a noted authority on cancer prevention at the University of Minnesota. “Acetaldehyde attaches to DNA in humans ― to the genetic material that makes up genes – in a way that results in the formation of a ‘DNA adduct.’ It’s acetaldehyde that latches onto DNA and interferes with DNA activity in a way linked to an increased risk of cancer.” More…

With a little training, signs of schizophrenia are averted Reply

24 Aug 2012
Animals that literally have holes in their brains can go on to behave as normal adults if they’ve had the benefit of a little cognitive training in adolescence. That’s according to new work in the August 23 Neuron, a Cell Press publication, featuring an animal model of schizophrenia, where rats with particular neonatal brain injuries develop schizophrenia-like symptoms.

“The brain can be loaded with all sorts of problems,” said André Fenton of New York University. “What this work shows is that experience can overcome those disabilities.”

Fenton’s team made the discovery completely by accident. His team was interested in what Fenton considers a core problem in schizophrenia: the inability to sift through confusing or conflicting information and focus on what’s relevant.

“As you walk through the world, you might be focused on a phone conversation, but there are also kids in the park and cars and other distractions,” he explained. “These information streams are all competing for our brain to process them. That’s a really challenging situation for someone with schizophrenia.” More…

Potency of statins linked to muscle side effects Reply

24 AUG 2012

These include commonly reported problems such as pain and weakness, as well as life-threatening muscle breakdown, known as rhabdomyolysis. Statin myopathies can significantly increase pain and injury risk and affect mobility, especially in older individuals.
A study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, published August 22 online by PLoS ONE, reports that muscle problems reported by patients taking statins were related to the strength or potency of the given cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Adverse effects such as muscle pain and weakness, reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were related to a statin’s potency, or the degree by which it typically lowers cholesterol at commonly prescribed doses.

“These findings underscore that stronger statins bear higher risk – and should be used with greater caution and circumspection,” said investigator Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Golomb teamed up with researchers from California-based AdverseEvents, Inc., using the company’s software platform to conduct a detailed examination of statin side-effect data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). The study analyzed muscle-related adverse events linked to each of the major statin drugs in total of 147,789 AERS reports, gathered between July 2005 and March 2011. More…

Menopause evolved to prevent competition between in-laws Reply

24 AUG 2012
The menopause evolved, in part, to prevent competition between a mother and her new daughter-in-law, according to research published today (23 August 2012) in the journal Ecology Letters.

The study – by researchers from the University of Turku (Finland), University of Exeter (UK), University of Sheffield (UK) and Stanford University (US) – explains for the first time why the relationship women had with their daughter-in-laws could have played a key role.

The data showed that a grandmother having a baby later in life, and at the same time as her daughter-in-law, resulted in the newborns of each being 50 per cent less likely to survive to adulthood.

The analysis helps to solve one of nature’s great mysteries: why female humans, unlike most other animals, stop reproducing so early in life.

It also adds weight to the theory that the menopause evolved to allow women to focus on their grandchildren. Traditionally, this role included providing food for the family and protecting young children from accidents and disease.

The topic has rarely been analysed, because it requires detailed data on the reproductive success of several generations of women, with knowledge on who lived with whom and when. Scientists analysed 200-years’ worth of data collected by Dr Virpi Lummaa of the University of Sheffield and her student Mirkka Lahdenperä of Turku University, Finland, from church registers of pre-industrial Finland. They looked at information on birth and death rates from 1700 to 1900, before the advent of modern contraception or healthcare. More…

Thinking about kids? Men need to shed the kilos Reply

22 Aug 2012

Melbourne scientists studying the impact obesity has on pregnancy, are urging men to get ‘match fit’ before conceiving to assist with fetal development.
Reproductive experts from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Zoology have discovered that a father’s obesity negatively impacts sperm, resulting in smaller fetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development.

While the health risks surrounding obesity and pregnancy have largely been centred on overweight mothers, scientists from the University of Melbourne are putting the onus on men to shape up.

Word Health Organisation figures showing 75 per cent of Australian adult males are overweight or obese, greatly exceeding the global average rate of 48 per cent.

The findings will be presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012, starting from August 26-29 on the Gold Coast.

The research was conducted by Professor David Gardner, Dr Natalie Hannan and PhD student Natalie Binder. More…

Green tea compound shows promise for tackling cancer – 40% of both types of tumour vanished 1

24 AUG 2012
A compound found in green tea could be a weapon in treatments for tackling cancer, according to newly-published research at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

The extract, known as epigallocatechin gallate, has been known to have preventative anti-cancer properties but fails to reach tumours when delivered by conventional intravenous administration.

However, in initial laboratory tests at the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, researchers used an approach which allowed the treatment to be delivered specifically to the tumours after intravenous administration. Nearly two-thirds of the tumours it was delivered to either shrank or disappeared within one month and the treatment displayed no side effects to normal tissues.

The tests are thought to be the first time that this type of treatment has made cancerous tumours shrink or vanish.

In the tests, on two different types of skin cancer, 40% of both types of tumour vanished, while 30% of one and 20% of another shrank. A further 10% of one of the types were stabilized. More…

How does body temperature reset the biological clock? It can save your life Reply

24 AUG 2012

- ” ‘Certain antitumor drugs administered to sick mice in the morning lead to a 100% mortality, while the rodents receiving the same dose in the evening all survive “

Researchers from the UNIGE, Switzerland, uncover the molecular cogs of clock genes responsive to temperature variations

Numerous processes in our body fluctuate in a regular pattern during the day. These circadian (or daily) variations can be driven by local oscillators present within our cells or by systemic signals controlled by the master pacemaker, located in the brain. Ueli Schibler, profes- sor at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, unveils a mo- lecular mechanism by which body temperature rhythms influence the expression of ‘clock genes’ and synchronize local oscillators. This study, made in collaboration with a team at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale of Lausanne (EPFL), also demonstrates how the production of DBP, a protein involved in detoxification and drug metabolism, is modulated by daily variations of temperature. This research has been published in Science magazine.

Many of our physiological functions, such as heart beat frequency, hormone secretion or body temperature, are regulated by internal clocks. Most of our body’s cells possess one of them, formed by a group of ‘clock genes’ displaying a cyclic activity that peaks every twenty-four hours. These local oscillators are synchronized by a central pacemaker, located in the brain which adapts to geophysical time by light-dark cycles. More…

Study: Oxidized LDL might actually be ‘good guy’ Reply


– “Based on our analysis, we were surprised to find that, instead of increasing the amount of cholesterol uptake and accumulation in the macrophage foam cells, mildly oxidized LDL almost completely prevents increases in cholesterol,” Dr. van der Westhuyzen said.
* Published in the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research. More…

DHA in a mother’s milk more important than money spent per pupil in predicting test performance Reply


Their findings show that the amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a mother’s milk — fats found primarily in certain fish, nuts and seeds — is the strongest predictor of test performance. It outweighs national income and the number of dollars spent per pupil in schools.
* Published in the early online edition of the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids Sep 2014 More…

Not enough vitamin B1 can cause brain damage Reply

“the diagnosis is missed on clinical examination in 75 to 80 percent of cases”

Toxins and other metabolic disorders also can cause encephalopathy

MAYWOOD, Ill – (Sept. 11, 2014) A deficiency of a single vitamin, B1 (thiamine), can cause a potentially fatal brain disorder called Wernicke encephalopathy.

Symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations, coma, loss of muscle coordination and vision problems such as double vision and involuntary eye movements. Untreated, the condition can lead to irreversible brain damage and death, according to neurologists at Loyola University Medical Center.

In the developed world, Wernicke encephalopathy typically occurs in people who have disorders such as alcoholism and anorexia that lead to malnourishment.

Wernicke encephalopathy is an example of the wide range of brain diseases, called encephalopathies, that are caused by metabolic disorders and toxic substances, according to a report by Loyola neurologists Matthew McCoyd, MD, Sean Ruland, DO and Jose Biller, MD in the journal Scientific American Medicine. More…

Gut microbes determine how well the flu vaccine works Reply

Public Release: 11-Sep-2014

 

Annual flu epidemics cause millions of cases of severe illness and up to half a million deaths every year around the world, despite widespread vaccination programs. A study published by Cell Press on September 11th in Immunity reveals that gut microbes play an important role in stimulating protective immune responses to the seasonal flu vaccine in mice, suggesting that differences in the composition of gut microbes in different populations may impact vaccine immunity. The study paves the way for global public health strategies to improve the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

 

“Our findings raise the possibility that antibiotic treatment prior to or during vaccination may impact immunity,” says senior study author Bali Pulendran of the Emory Vaccine Research Center. “Another potential implication of our study is that we may be able to manipulate gut microbes in order to improve immune responses to the vaccine.” More…

Exercise before school may reduce ADHD symptoms in kids Reply

Paying attention all day in school as a kid isn’t easy, especially for those who are at a higher risk of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A new study from Michigan State University and University of Vermont researchers shows that offering daily before-school, aerobic activities to younger at-risk children could help in reducing the symptoms of ADHD in the classroom and at home. Signs can include inattentiveness, moodiness and difficulty getting along with others.

The study can be found in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

“Early studies suggest that physical activity can have a positive effect on children who suffer from ADHD,” said Alan Smith, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology, who conducted the research along with lead author Betsy Hoza, a psychologist from the University of Vermont. More…