Yoga can cure early stage heart disease, diabetes: Study

NEW DELHI: Can yoga be a cure for early stage diabetes and heart disease? The results of a year-long study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy suggests so.

In this study, conducted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 100 patients at risk for coronary heart disease and type-II diabetes were divided into two groups – one of them was prescribed conventional lifestyle modification such as exercise, diet and smoking cessation while the other was prescribed yogic exercises in addition.

“There was a significant reduction in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and total cholesterol among others in both the groups. But when compared with the conventional lifestyle group, the yoga group had a significantly greater decrease in BMI, low density lipoprotein cholestrol (LDL) and increase in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL),” said D S C Manchanda, the lead author of the study, and head of the cardiology department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Manchanda said that mechanisms underlying regression of early arthrosclerosis – thickening of the artery wall – in metabolic syndrome was not clear though. “Control of several risk factors like hypertension, type-II diabetes mellitus lipids, reversal or preventive effects of both psychological and oxidative stress and reducing inflammation may be contributing factors,” he added.

On the basis of the study results, cardiologists say, yoga may be a cost effective technique to target multiple risk factors for heart disease and type-II diabetes prevention. “Though larger trials are required, it is suggested that yoga may be incorporated in the therapeutic lifestyle modifications for metabolic syndrome as well as coronary heart disease and type-II diabetes,” Dr Manchanda said.

Yogic exercises that have been shown to have positive impact include breathing exercises such as pranayamas and anulom-vilom – alternate nose breathing. Asanas like surya namaskar, tadasna and vajrasana have also been shown to have positive impact on patients.

Non-communicable diseases, chiefly cardiovascular diseases , diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are the major cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide. “Most of the non-communicable diseases, for example diabetes or heart disease, affect the person in the productive years. It causes reduced productivity and early retirement. Also, it puts immense pressure on the public health expenditure as in most cases the treatment costs are higher compared to the communicable diseases. Preventive strategies such as yoga must be propagated for better health,” said a senior doctor.

'Healthy Obese' Is Possible, But Maybe Not Forever

As many as a third of obese adults are considered metabolically healthy, meaning they have normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels and show no signs of developing diabetes. Still, they’re considered a medical mystery, but new research has shed some light on why some people can be healthy at any size, while others cannot.

It has to do with fat cells, according to a new study in the journal of Diabetologia. Compared to obese people who are healthy, those who are metabolically unhealthy have “impaired mitochondria” and a “reduced ability to generate new fat cells.”

What researchers found was that in a healthy obese person, new cells are generated to help store fat as it accumulates, whereas the cells of an unhealthy obese person “swell to their breaking point,” making their fat cells larger than any other group.

They were swollen and riddled with inflammation. The breakdown and mobilization of their fat stores was suppressed, and a closer look showed that their mitochondria were malfunctioning. Their ability to burn fuel and produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the body’s energy currency, was reduced.

It leads to ectopic fat accumulation, meaning that fat gets into organs like the heart and liver. (A fatty liver is linked to Type 2 diabetes.)

However, for a healthy obese person, the fat doesn’t travel throughout the body, and remains just beneath the skin, where it doesn’t seem to cause any physical harm.

A study that appeared in the journal Diabetes Care in August found that metabolically healthy obesity is more frequently found in younger adults, but it may be a transition state, and that “some, if not many, people in this category will eventually develop the expected metabolic disturbances.”

Dr. Jussi Naukkarinen, the lead researcher in the fat cell study, said that anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to “protect mitochondrial function and improve diabetic symptoms and glucose metabolism.” He also suggests that high glycemic foods (like sugar and white flour) play a role in spiking blood glucose and insulin levels.

But ultimately, he believes that studying healthy obese people will help those that are unhealthy.

“People haven’t really paid that much attention to metabolically healthy obesity, but I think it can teach us a lot about usual obesity,” he said. “It’s only recently that people studying depression have done happiness studies showing what goes right, and I’m thinking about the metabolically healthy obese phenomenon in the same way.”

Image via xrender/Shutterstock

The ‘Healthy Obese’ and Their Healthy Fat Cells [NYT]

Shared doctor visits may help diabetes self-care


New York |
Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:14pm EDT

New York (Reuters Health) – Diabetes patients who agreed to attend group medical appointments at a Veterans Administration hospital showed health improvements similar to what most diabetes drugs would achieve, according to U.S. researchers.

Getting type 2 diabetes patients to take care of themselves and manage their disease daily is a challenge for healthcare providers, but shared doctor visits could be a useful tool, the study team says.

One way that hasn’t worked that well is to “lecture them,” according to senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Kravetz of the VA Connecticut Health Care System.

“People learn from each other and it is easier to learn from people who are in the same boat,” Kravetz said, adding that it is often more meaningful for people with diabetes to hear from a peer who understands the condition.

Type 2 diabetes can cause serious complications if it is not controlled by a combination of medication, diet and exercise. Healthcare providers agree the best way to approach this chronic condition is to educate patients to take care of themselves, but it’s tough to get people to be better self-managers.

Kravetz, together with pharmacist Alexander B. Guirguis and a team that included a nurse who specializes in diabetes, a registered dietitian and a health psychologist, tried a different approach: shared medical appointments, in which groups of three to 10 patients met in a 90-minute session every six to 12 weeks for a year.

About one quarter of the 8,000 veterans who are seen in the Firm A clinic of the West Haven VA have diabetes, Kravetz and his team write in the American Journal of Medicine.

Around 300 of those patients have exceedingly high levels of a blood protein known as A1C that indicates how well blood sugar has been controlled over the preceding several months. A1C levels greater than 9 percent are considered problematic.

For the study, selected patients with A1C around 9 percent or more were invited to join a shared medical appointment for diabetes management. Before their first visit, the patients agreed to sharing their medical results with the group, and were sent “report cards” with their blood test results.

The 90-minute appointments combined education and consultations with the medical team with peer support and education. The emphasis, according to team leader Guirguis, was to try to make the sessions more “patient interactive as opposed to provider led.”

The team would review patients’ blood test results openly and encourage patients to talk about their challenges and successes. The sessions usually ended with a question and answer session and brief talk by the dietician.

Of the sixty patients who signed up, 40 attended at least two group visits, 19 attended three or more visits and 15 attended four shared medical appointments over the year. And by the study’s end, some patients saw their A1C levels drop by as much as 1 percent, a change Kravetz says is about what would be expected from medication.

For instance, patients with A1C averaging 10.75 percent at the beginning of the study who attended two group appointments dropped to an average A1C level of 9.51 percent. Patients with lower starting levels of A1C – around 9.5 percent – dropped to an average of around 8.5 percent after attending three meetings.

In contrast, a comparison group of patients who were invited to participate but did not follow through had A1C levels that were unchanged or rose about a quarter of a percent over the year.

While these results mean the patients are still within the type 2 diabetes range (an A1C of 6.5 percent and above is considered type 2 diabetes), Kravetz considers them “pretty comparable to some major therapies.” He noted that at most a diabetes drug reduces the A1C by up to 1 percent and these patients are doing better than medication alone.

The team found that patients often shared similar experiences and could talk about how they overcame some of their obstacles to better self care: “We are trying to get people to talk about their barriers rather than lecture to them,” he told Reuters Health.

The majority of the behavior changes were diet and medication related. Guirguis recalls one patient who strongly identified with another patient’s story about setting up his insulin next to the coffee maker.

Another benefit of this kind of peer support is that patients who are leery of going onto insulin can observe peers who “are living perfectly normal lives” while on the medication regime, he said.

Helen Altman Klein, professor emeritus at Wright State University in Ohio, who has conducted extensive studies of diabetes self management education programs, considers this study “small scale in terms of medical research, but filling a very important niche in the field of diabetes education particularly when it comes to trying to help deliver services inexpensively.

“VAs have limited resources and need to serve a lot of people,” she said. “Sometimes with a VA, it’s no small thing for some people to sign up and even make an appointment.”

The Connecticut VA is planning to continue the group appointment program, including expanding into a multisite study. The team is also experimenting with peer-to-peer telephone support, and enrolling patients for the next study, according to Guirguis.

SOURCE: bit.ly/1czY0Xg American Journal of Medicine, online September 26, 2013.

Hunt for perfect mix of diet and exercise to beat diabetes

The largest study of its kind is to be carried out to find the right lifestyle to prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is threatening to become a medical “disaster” in Britain.

Experts aim to work out not only the best way to eat, drink and exercise but even how to sleep.

It could lead to people at risk of developing the condition being given a detailed diet and exercise regime, much like a prescription, to help protect themselves.

Professor Anne Raben, the project’s chief coordinator at the University of Copenhagen, said: “We would like to find out if our current dietary and exercise recommendations are optimal or whether another lifestyle and regimen is more effective.

“It could save billions in health care costs for society if we are able to find a formula for how to best prevent Type 2 diabetes.”

The three-year study will start at the end of the year and involve 2,300 adult volunteers and 200 children aged from 12 to 18.

Eight countries will be involved including the UK, where the trial will be run by the University of Nottingham and Swansea University.

Professor Raben said: “We already know that a diet which follows current dietary guidelines can prevent diabetes. What’s unique about this project is that we are testing two diets against one another to find out if there might be a more effective alternative.

“We will include two types of exercise to determine if there is one that is more suitable. Finally we will also study the importance of stress and sleeping patterns.”

Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity | WebProNews

Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity

Though recent data has shown that childhood obesity numbers are falling in a number of U.S. states, health officials in the country are still referring to obesity as an epidemic. This week, a new study has shown that expectant mothers may have more direct, biological influence on the size of their children than previously thought.

The study, published Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine, shows that high weight gain during pregnancy is directly linked to an increased risk of obesity for the children up until age 12. The study’s authors believe that helping women limit their weight gain during pregnancy could have an impact on the fight against obesity in the U.S.

“From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic,” said Dr. David Ludwig, lead author of the study and the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Obesity Prevention Center. “Pregnancy presents an attractive target for obesity prevention programs, because women tend to be particularly motivated to change behavior during this time,”

The study looked at 41,133 mothers and children in the state of Arkansas over 12 years, cross-referencing birth records and school BMI records. Statistical comparisons were then made between siblings, ruling out demographic, genetic, and environmental influences. Excessive weight gain in the study was defines as 40 or more pounds, which correlated to an 8% increase in the risk of a child being obese.

Though the difference in BMI from mothers who gained the least weight during pregnancy to those who gained the most is only one-half of a BMI unit, Ludwig and his colleagues believe this effect could contribute to hundreds of thousands of obesity cases nationwide.

Big breakfast may be best for diabetes patients

(HealthDay)—A hearty breakfast that includes protein and fat may actually help people with type 2 diabetes better control both their hunger and their blood sugar levels.

Patients who ate a big breakfast for three months experienced lower (glucose) levels, and nearly one-third were able to reduce the amount of diabetic medication they took, according to an Israeli study that was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Barcelona.

“The changes were very dramatic,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “I’m impressed with these findings,” added Zonszein, who was not involved with the study. “We should see if they can be reproduced.”

The researchers based their new study on previous investigations that found that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to have a lower (BMI) than those who skip the meal. BMI is a measurement that takes into account height and weight. Breakfast eaters also enjoy lower and are able to use more efficiently.

The trial randomly assigned 59 people with to either a big or small breakfast group.

The big breakfast contained about one-third of the daily that the would have, while the small breakfast contained only 12.5 percent of their total daily energy intake. The big breakfast also contained a higher percentage of protein and fat.

Doctors found that after 13 weeks, blood sugar levels and blood pressure dropped dramatically in people who ate a big breakfast every day. Those who ate a big breakfast enjoyed blood sugar level reductions three times greater than those who ate a small breakfast, and reductions that were four times greater.


About one-third of the people eating a big breakfast ended up cutting back on the daily they needed to take. By comparison, about 17 percent of the small breakfast group had to increase their medication prescriptions during the course of the trial.

The people eating a big breakfast also found themselves less hungry later in the day.

“As the study progressed, we found that hunger scores increased significantly in the small breakfast group while satiety scores increased in the big breakfast group,” study co-author Dr. Hadas Rabinovitz, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in a news release from the association. “In addition, the big breakfast group reported a reduced urge to eat and a less preoccupation with food, while the small breakfast group had increased preoccupation with food and a greater urge to eat over time.”

Rabinovitz speculated that a big breakfast rich in protein causes suppression of ghrelin, which is known as the “hunger hormone.”

The protein in the also likely helped control the patients’ blood sugar levels, said Vandana Sheth, a certified diabetes instructor and registered dietitian in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“We know when you eat carbohydrates, they can elevate blood sugar within 15 minutes to an hour,” Sheth said. “Protein takes longer to convert into glucose, as long as three hours, and not all of it goes to glucose. Some of it is used to repair muscle, for example. So it’s not a direct effect—100 percent of the carbs you eat convert to glucose, while only a portion of protein you eat converts to glucose.”

Zonszein said he has concerns about the study. For example, he said both the size and the length of the trial were insufficient, and he questioned why so many participants left before its conclusion.

However, he said the results were impressive enough that he might try the dietary strategy out in his own practice.

“It’s a virtually benign manipulation of the meal pattern,” Zonszein said. “I want to give it to my nutritionist to see what she thinks, and we may end up using it with several of our patients.”

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information: For more information on a diabetic diet, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


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New Inquiries into Eating Disorders and Obesity

 

stethoscope1

Last week, there was some media coverage of a new study, published in Pediatrics (the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics), that highlights the concurrence between obesity/overweight and eating disorders. The study sheds light on the fact that a significant number of young people who seek clinical treatment for eating disorders come from a history of overweight or obesity. At the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, where Dr. Leslie Sim, one of the authors of the study, works, 45% of adolescents seen for ED treatment in the last year came from a history of obesity. The study makes a case for recognition of obesity as a common precedent to disordered behaviors. It also illuminates the very tendency of primary care providers to overlook symptoms of disordered eating in people with history of obesity. It highlights two case studies: a fourteen-year-old boy and an eighteen-year-old girl whose eating disorders were misdiagnosed in large part because they had previously been obese.

As I read this article, I felt an enormous sense of disappointment at the way both obesity and eating disorder treatment are failing young people in this country. Because our emphasis is on weight loss at all costs (rather than the fostering of healthy habits), obese adolescents often transition directly into anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, and EDNOS. At least half of the men and women I know who have struggled with eating disorders were overweight or obese growing up, so it comes as no surprise that what I’ve observed is borne out in the 45% statistic. Still other individuals who have shared their stories with me say that the eating disorder began when they were advised to lose weight by a health care provider or school nurse. In their dutiful attempts to obey that mandate, they quickly turned to extreme forms of restrictive eating or exercise.

Sim, Lebow, and Billings’ study details the history of a fourteen-year-old boy who had lost over 87 pounds. Possessed of a significantly higher than average BMI through childhood, he’d begun dieting at the age of 12, first by eliminating sweets, fats, and carbohydrates, and ultimately resorting to eating 600 calories per day. He developed hallmark symptoms of an eating disorder: difficulty concentrating, low moods, bloating, constipation, social withdrawal, fatigue, and intolerance to cold. His health care providers tested him for a number of GI disorders (celiac sprue, GiardiaH. pylori), and thyroid abnormalities. In spite of the fact that he began to show heart irregularities and dehydration, eating disorders weren’t suggested.

The study states,

In spite of having lost over half of his body weight, the medical documentation associated with the evaluation stated, ‘there is no element to suggest that he has an eating disorder at this particular time.’ At the request of his mother, however, Daniel was referred for an ED evaluation. Of note, Daniel’s weight was a focus of discussion at all medical appointments throughout his childhood. However, during the 13 medical encounters that took place when he was losing weight, there was no discussion of concerns regarding weight loss.

Italics are mine.

The next case study is equally disturbing. An eighteen year old girl was sent to an ED evaluation because she was demonstrating extreme fear of weight gain, amenorrhea, intolerance to cold, stress fractures, excessive exercise, food restriction, and binge eating. She, too, came from a history of obesity. She had begun dieting at the age of fourteen, ultimately going from 97th percentile for weight to the 10th percentile in only three years. After the first year of her weight loss, she developed amenorrhea, but the suggested explanations were PCOS or her long distance running, and she was put on birth control pills. She was referred to a dietitian after her stress fractures developed. The dietitian didn’t suggest ED treatment or express concern over her severely low fat diet, even when the girl’s mother suggested that she might have an ED. According to the study, the girl’s physician noted, “‘given that her BMI is currently appropriate, it is reasonable to do a trial off the birth control pill and see if her menses resume.’”

Italics are mine again.

In our green recovery discussions, we have often touched on how flawed BMI is as a marker of health. The USA Today coverage of the new study discusses this problem. It notes that many of the people who need ED treatment aren’t immediately identified as being at risk because they aren’t underweight:

It’s a “new, high-risk population that is under-recognized,” says Hagman, medical director of the eating disorders program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, who was not involved in the new report.

The kids she sees in this condition “are just as ill in terms of how they are thinking” as they are in terms of physical ailments, she says. “They come in with the same fear of fat, drive for thinness, and excessive exercise drive as kids who would typically have met an anorexia nervosa diagnosis. But because they are at or a even a little bit above their normal body weight, no one thinks about that.”

These cases are no surprise, says Lynn Grefe, president of the National Eating Disorders Association. “Our field has been saying that the more we’re pushing the anti-obesity message, the more we’re pushing kids into eating disorders” by focusing on size or weight instead of health and wellness.

Medicine is not a perfect science. BMI can help physicians to quickly identify someone who is very overweight or underweight, but like any diagnostic tool, it has limitations. One way to circumvent these limitations is to use multiple diagnostic criteria when it comes to complex conditions like EDs. Weight may be telling, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Listening to a patient’s symptoms, history, and habits is equally, if not more, crucial. It’s time for treatment providers to stop equating eating disorders with the state of being underweight. People who are not underweight by the books can have eating disorders, and–as one of my commenters noted–people who are underweight don’t necessarily have them.

What struck me most about this study was the bias it unearthed. It is the idea that there are two types of people– people who have been overweight, and people who are, or could become, restrictive– and that those two types of people are not and cannot be one in the same. This is the bias that leads a primary care physician to miss overwhelmingly evident ED symptoms in a kid who used to be obese. It is the bias that, left uncorrected, may allow countless adolescents and adults who are in need of care to go unnoticed.

US News and World Report interviewed Dr. David Katz as a part of its coverage. Katz is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, President-Elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder and President of the non-profit Turn the Tide Foundation, and the founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. He has devoted much of his career to combating childhood obesity through education about healthy eating and a comprehensive approach to patient care. He echoed the dangers of treating obesity and disordered eating as mutually exclusive phenomena, and underscored the fact that there is quite a bit of fluidity between them:

“First, obesity itself is a risk factor for eating disorders,” Katz said. “This link is well established for binge-eating disorder, where obesity is potentially both cause and effect…Second, while weight loss in the context of obesity may appear beneficial, there is a point at which the methods used — or the extremes reached — may indicate an eating disorder,” Katz said.

“Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss — it must be about the pursuit of health,” Katz said. “An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity.”

Just as weight restoration alone cannot remedy anorexia, neither is weight loss, in and of itself, an adequate treatment for obesity. In both cases, changes in weight should be accompanied by an emphasis on the importance of nourishing foods and an attempt to foster lasting, positive body image.

✵          ✵          ✵

Between the ages of eight and ten, right after my parents’ divorce and during a turbulent moment in my childhood, I gained some weight. My pediatrician remarked on it during an annual checkup when I was eleven–he wasn’t overly worried, he said, but a diet might help me get back to a more “appropriate” weight for my frame. He left it at that, and I took matters into my own hands. This was that summer that I discovered rules and restriction. It was the summer I realized that I could make my body “behave” itself. It was also the year that my weight took its first major plunge, and the roller coaster in and out of my ED began.

In bringing up my own story, I don’t mean to draw a direct or easy comparison between what I remember and what the two individuals profiled in the study experienced. Nor am I putting all of the blame on my physician, because he was acting in good faith, and there were many, many factors involved with my ED. But I couldn’t help but feel a sense of recognition as I read, an empathy that having comes from having once felt as if someone–someone who was supposed to be taking care of my health–had given me the message that I ought to reject my body. While I recognize the seriousness of childhood obesity, and support all healthful measures undertaken to treat and prevent it, I believe that the onus is upon health care practitioners to do so in a way that will encourage children to embrace their bodies, rather than renounce them. I’m hopeful that it can be done.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the study, which can be found here (Sim LA, Lebow J, Billings M. Eating disorders in adolescents with a history of obesity. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep 9. [Epub ahead of print]).

In the meantime, I wish you a happy Sunday, and a great start to the week ahead.

xo



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Healthy gut bacteria prevent obesity: Study




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(NaturalNews) The key to shedding those excess pounds and achieving that lean figure you have always dreamed about could be as simple as eating more bacteria. A new study out of Washington University in St. Louis has found that maintaining healthy and balanced gut bacteria — that is, the beneficial microbes that naturally populate your intestinal tract — may help prevent weight gain and actually fight obesity, which now plagues more than one-third of all Americans.

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon and his colleagues made this important discovery after observing the effects of intestinal germs implanted into several groups of pathogen-free mice. WU graduate student Vanessa Ridaura, who worked alongside Dr. Gordon for the study, took gut bacteria from four pairs of twins, each of which included both an obese and a lean sibling. One pair of the twins was also identical, which was meant to rule out any possibility that weight differences might somehow be inherited.

The team transplanted gut bacteria from these eight individuals into the intestines of young mice, which were specifically bred to lack their own natural bacteria, and watched for variations in how these mice developed over time. In the end, it was noted that the mice who received gut bacteria from the obese individuals tended to not only gain more weight than the other mice but also undergo some serious metabolic changes that left them significantly more unhealthy.

What helped further prove that the bacterial source made all the difference was the fact that all the mice ate the same amount of food, and yet only those implanted with the obese bacteria experienced weight gain and health deterioration. The reason, say experts, is that obese people tend to harbor a less diverse array of beneficial bacteria in their guts, while leaner people possess the bacterial variations and balance necessary to maintain a proper and healthy weight.

But the findings do not stop here. After performing this first set of experiments, the team decided to put mice from both the lean and obese groups into cages with one another to observe how cross-exposure to different bacterial profiles might affect the mice’s health and weight. For those who are unaware, mice tend to eat feces, which contain intestinal bugs and other markers of gut composition.

Not surprisingly, this grouping of the mice and the resultant exposure to varying bacterial profiles led to a phenomenon called bacterial swapping, in which bacteria from each of the mice comingled with one another to create new bacterial profiles. But what came as a surprise was the fact that bacteria from the lean mice invaded the intestines of the obese mice, triggering positive changes in both weight and metabolism.

“It was almost as if there were potential job vacancies,” explained Dr. Gordon about the apparently deficient bacterial profiles of the obese mice. At the same time, the positive changes observed in the obese mice were not reciprocal in the lean mice, meaning the introduction of bacteria from the obese mice did not result in any negative changes in the lean mice.

According to Michael Fischbach from the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study but spoke to The New York Times about it, these findings provide “the clearest evidence to date that gut bacteria can help cause obesity.” Adding to this sentiment, Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier from Harvard Medical School told reporters that the findings, which were recently published in the journal Science, are “pretty striking.”

Sources for this article include:

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com

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Healthy gut bacteria prevent obesity: Study

Obesity May Increase Migraine Odds – WebMD

Obesity May Increase Migraine Odds

Study found risk of painful headaches rose with

By Marijke Vroomen Durning

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) — Obese people may be at higher risk for episodic migraines, a new study suggests.

Episodic migraines — the more common type of migraine — occur 14 days or fewer per month, while chronic migraines occur at least 15 days per month.

Migraines involve intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head, according to the American Academy of Neurology. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines affect more than 10 percent of the population.

In the study of more than 3,800 adults, those with a high body-mass index (BMI) — a measure of body fat determined using height and weight — were 81 percent more likely to have episodic migraines than those with a lower BMI. This was particularly true among women, whites and those under the age of 50.

The cross-sectional study doesn’t prove that obesity causes episodic migraines, but it does demonstrate that people who are obese have an increased risk of having more of them, even low-frequency ones, said lead author Dr. Barbara Lee Peterlin, director of headache research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

“These results suggest that doctors should promote healthy lifestyle choices for diet and exercise in people with episodic migraine,” Peterlin said in a statement. “More research is needed to evaluate whether weight-loss programs can be helpful in overweight and obese people with episodic migraine.”

The study was published in the Sept. 11 issue of the journal Neurology. The researchers also presented the findings in June at the International Headache Congress in Boston.

Dr. Gretchen Tietjen, director of the headache treatment and research program at the University of Toledo, in Ohio, said she found the findings interesting because previous studies had looked for connections between obesity and chronic migraines.

“That the researchers were able to show an association between obesity and episodic migraine lends more credence to some of the earlier studies that found similar things,” she said.

She pointed out, however, that it still isn’t known which came first — the obesity or the migraine. There are many possible scenarios, Tietjen said. “Maybe the person had the migraines first and then started taking medications like amitriptyline or valproic acid,” she said. “Those medications are associated with weight gain.”

The possible connection between obesity and migraines is still under debate. One theory supporting the link centers on inflammatory substances from fat tissue (adipose) that are released into the system, Tietjen said.

Premenopausal women have more total adipose tissue in general than men, and women have more superficial and less deep adipose tissue, Peterlin said. But after menopause, adipose tissue is more similar between the two sexes.

Adipose tissue secretes different inflammatory proteins based on how much tissue there is and where it is located. Since younger women and obese people have more adipose tissue, this could, at least in part, explain why they get more headaches.

Feds Spending $2.2 Million to Study Lesbian Obesity | Washington …

AP

AP

BY:

September 5, 2013 11:35 am

The federal government has spent $2.2 million studying why three quarters of lesbians are obese despite sequestration-mandated budget cuts that critics warned could “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

The National Institutes of Health awarded an additional $682,873 to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the study on July 17. The project had received previous grants of $778,622 in 2011, and $741,378 in 2012. Total funding has reached $2,202,873.

The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

The study, being led by S. Bryn Austin, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sets out to find the biological and social factors for why “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not.

At the time this study was first reported, a spokesman for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is administering the project, said its future was uncertain because of the sequester.

“The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration,” said Robert Bock, press officer for the NICHD, in March. “It is not possible to say how this (or any other NIH grant) will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place.”

The NIH said the automatic budget cuts forced the agency to cut 5 percent of its fiscal year 2013 budget, amounting to a $1.55 billion reduction in spending.

“NIH must apply the cut evenly across all programs, projects, and activities (PPAs), which are primarily NIH institutes and centers,” the agency said in June. “This means every area of medical research will be affected.”

The NIH said cuts to research are “delaying progress in medical breakthroughs,” including the development of cancer drugs and research on a universal flu vaccine.

The study on disparities between sexual orientation and obesity continues to receive funding.

“Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today,” the grant’s “public health relevance” statement reads. “Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention; however, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities.”

“It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women,” the project’s abstract states. “In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

Though Bock declined to comment for this story, the NIH issued a general statement to the Washington Free Beacon defending the study as part of its overall mission to reduce obesity in the United States.

“NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans,” the NIH said. “Research into unhealthy human behaviors that are estimated to be the proximal cause of more than half of the disease burden in the U.S. will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH.”

“Only by developing effective prevention and treatment strategies for health-injuring behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, inactivity, and poor diet, can we reduce the disease burden in the U.S. and thus enhance health and lengthen life, which is the mission of the NIH,” they said.

Thus far, the study has yielded one report, published in January, which found that gay and bisexual males had a “greater desire for toned muscles than completely and mostly heterosexual males.”