Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mind Out Of Balance, Body Out Of Balance

Mind Out Of Balance, Body Out Of Balance:

"Many of the 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety disorders also have problems with balance. As increasing numbers of children are diagnosed with anxiety, Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that the link between balance and anxiety can be assessed at an early age and that something can be done about it before it becomes a problem.


Anxiety has a significant impact on children’s personal and academic well-being. While not all kids with anxiety have balance problems, all those with balance problems do exhibit symptoms of anxiety, pointing to a link between the two conditions.

“This is a breakthrough in the field of occupational therapy,” says Dr. Bart.


After a 12-week intervention of sensory-motor intervention, the children in Dr. Bart’s study improved their balance skills. The therapy also reduced the children’s anxiety to normal levels, she reports. As their balance and anxiety issues improved, the children’s self-esteem also increased.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Killer Carbs: Scientist Finds Key To Overeating As We Age

Killer Carbs: Scientist Finds Key To Overeating As We Age:

"A Monash University scientist has discovered key appetite control cells in the human brain degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight-gain as we grow older. The research by Dr Zane Andrews, a neuroendocrinologist with Monash University's Department of Physiology, has been published in Nature.

Dr Andrews found that appetite-suppressing cells are attacked by free radicals after eating and said the degeneration is more significant following meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars.

'The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged, and potentially you consume more,' Dr Andrews said."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effect...[Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003] - PubMed Result

Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effect...[Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003] - PubMed Result

Dietary restriction has been shown to have several health benefits including increased insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. The mechanism remains unknown, but the need for a long-term reduction in caloric intake to achieve these benefits has been assumed. We report that when C57BL6 mice are maintained on an intermittent fasting (alternate-day fasting) dietary-restriction regimen their overall food intake is not decreased and their body weight is maintained. Nevertheless, intermittent fasting resulted in beneficial effects that met or exceeded those of caloric restriction including reduced serum glucose and insulin levels and increased resistance of neurons in the brain to excitotoxic stress. Intermittent fasting therefore has beneficial effects on glucose regulation and neuronal resistance to injury in these mice that are independent of caloric intake.

Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects

Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects

Objective Obesity is closely linked to the incidence of type II diabetes. It is found that effective management of body weight and changes to nutritional habits especially with regard to the carbohydrate content and glycemic index of the diet have beneficial effects in obese subjects with glucose intolerance. Previously we have shown that ketogenic diet is quite effective in reducing body weight. Furthermore, it favorably alters the cardiac risk factors even in hyperlipidemic obese subjects. In this study the effect of ketogenic diet in obese subjects with high blood glucose level is compared to those with normal blood glucose level for a period of 56 weeks.
Materials and methods A total of 64 healthy obese subjects with body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, having high blood glucose level and those subjects with normal blood glucose level were selected in this study. The body weight, body mass index, blood glucose level, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, urea and creatinine were determined before and at 8, 16, 24, 48, and 56 weeks after the administration of the ketogenic diet.
Results The body weight, body mass index, the level of blood glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and urea showed a significant decrease from week 1 to week 56 (P < 0.0001), whereas the level of HDL-cholesterol increased significantly (P < 0.0001). Interestingly these changes were more significant in subjects with high blood glucose level as compared to those with normal blood glucose level. The changes in the level of creatinine were not statistically significant.
Conclusion This study shows the beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects following its long-term administration. Furthermore, it demonstrates that in addition to its therapeutic value, low carbohydrate diet is safe to use for a longer period of time in obese diabetic subjects.

Keywords Obesity - Blood glucose - Cholesterol - LDL - HDL - Triglycerides - Low-carbohydrate diet - Ketogenic diet

Friday, January 09, 2009

Research shows vitamin D has natural anti-depressant action | Dr Briffa's Blog

Research shows vitamin D has natural anti-depressant action | Dr Briffa's Blog

One might ask that if vitamin D has the potential to combat SAD, might it help relieve other forms of depression or mood disorder? Some evidence which supports this comes from evidence which links low vitamin D status with mood disturbance [1,2]. This epidemiological evidence is interesting, I think, but it’s never going to be as powerful as assessments of vitamin D on mood via clinical research.

Just such a study was published recently in the Journal of Internal Medicine [3]. This study treated 441 overweight or obese individuals with either 20,000 international units (IU) or vitamin D per week, 40,000 IU per week, or placebo for a period of 1 year.

The researchers also, at the start of the study, assessed the relationship between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms. As expected, they found low vitamin D status was associated with more severe depressive symptoms.

The results of the intervention element of the study were more telling, in that they showed vitamin D therapy, compared to placebo, led to significant improvement in depressive symptoms during the course of the study. These results suggest that vitamin D deficiency has the ability to cause depression, and it adds weight to the argument that keeping vitamin D levels up may help to combat depression, particularly in the winter when vitamin D levels tend to be at their lowest.

Low-carb diet shown to be hugely effective for type 2 diabetics | Dr Briffa's Blog

Low-carb diet shown to be hugely effective for type 2 diabetics | Dr Briffa's Blog

Low-carb diet shown to be hugely effective for type 2 diabetics

Posted By Dr John Briffa On January 8, 2009

Diabetes is a condition characterised by elevated levels sugar in the bloodstream, derived primarily from sugars and starches in the diet. One obvious approach to this condition would be, then, to cut back on carbohydrate intake. I have known many, many diabetics take this approach and reap the reward in terms of better blood sugar control and less need for medication. In the case of type 2 diabetes, I’ve seen many individuals who were previously on medication, find they have no need for it after all once their diets are essentially devoid of offending foods.

In a recent study a low-carb diet (less than 20 grams of carb a day) was tested in a group of obese type 2 diabetics. The group also received nutritional supplementation, group support and recommendations regarding exercise. The study randomised other type 2 diabetics to another diet, this one being based on foods of low glycaemic index (GI), and restricted in calories (individuals were to eat 500 calories less per day than would be required to maintain their weight). As with the other group, the low GI eaters received nutritional supplements, group support and exercise recommendations. The study lasted for 24 weeks.

One of the main outcome measures used in this study was levels of HBA1c (also known as glycosylated haemoglobin). This gives a measure of blood sugar control over the preceding 3 months or so. This measure fell significantly more in the low-carb versus the low GI group (by 1.5 v 0.5 per cent). Weight loss was also greater in the low-carb group (an average of about 11 kg v about 7 kg) even though the low-carb group was not instructed to restrict calories and the low GI group was. The low-carb group also saw a rise in levels of supposedly ‘healthy’ HDL cholesterol, while the low GI group did not. All in all, the low carb group won hands down.

Another outcome measure the authors of this study used was whether or not individuals were able to discontinue their diabetes medication(s). In the case of the low-carb group, more than 95 per cent were able to do so (compared to 62 per cent of the low GI, calorie restricted group). I see these results as pretty astounding: almost all the type 2 diabetics on the low carb regime were able to kiss goodbye to their meds.

This study is, I think, a clear vindication of the low-carb approach in type 2 diabetes, despite being relatively small in size (84 people were enrolled in the study and 49 completed it). And it adds some scientific validation (should we require it) to the common sense of diabetics eating less of the very foods they have difficulty handling metabolically.


Westman EC, et al. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition & Metabolism 2008;5:36

News Release Detail

News Release Detail

Physical activity has many proven benefits. It strengthens bones and
muscles, improves mental health and mood, lowers blood pressure,
improves cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular
disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

But Loyola research suggests that weight control might not be among
the main benefits. People burn more calories when they exercise. But
they compensate by eating more, said Richard Cooper, Ph.D., co-author
of the study and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and
"We would love to say that physical activity has a positive effect on
weight control, but that does not appear to be the case," Cooper said.
"Evidence is beginning to accumulate that dietary intake may be more
important than energy expenditure level," Luke said. "Weight loss is
not likely to happen without dietary restraint."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Light Activity Can Help Avoid Chronic Disease

Light Activity Can Help Avoid Chronic Disease

Reducing time spent sitting and increasing light physical activity has important health benefits that may reduce the risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. This is according to new research undertaken by The University of Queensland and Melbourne's International Diabetes Institute.

The research, published in Diabetes Care, has not only confirmed that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with high blood glucose levels, but for the first time has shown that light intensity physical activity, like washing dishes, ironing and other routine domestic or occupational tasks, was associated with lower blood glucose levels.

High glucose levels are a precursor to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Stand Up For Your Health -- Physiologists And Microbiologists Find Link Between Sitting And Poor Health

Stand Up For Your Health -- Physiologists And Microbiologists Find Link Between Sitting And Poor Health:

"Physiologists analyzing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes found that the act of sitting shuts down the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase. They found that standing up engages muscles and promotes the distribution of lipase, which prompts the body to process fat and cholesterol, independent of the amount of time spent exercising. They also found that standing up uses blood glucose and may discourage the development of diabetes.

"The existing data, by numerous studies, are starting to show that the rates of heart disease and diabetes and obesity are doubled or sometimes even tripled in people who sit a lot," Dr. Hamilton explains. One reason, he says, is an enzyme called lipase. When it's on, fat is absorbed into the muscles, but when we sit down, lipase virtually shuts off.

"Instead, the fat will recirculate in the blood stream and go and be stored as body fat or it can clog arteries and cause diseases," Dr. Hamilton says. And it's not a small amount of fat. Plasma samples were taken from the same person after eating the same meal. When they ate sitting down, the sample was cloudy, but when they ate while standing up, it was clear.

"If you can perform a behavior while sitting or standing, I would choose standing," Dr. Hamilton says."

Control Of Blood Vessels A Possible Weapon Against Obesity

Control Of Blood Vessels A Possible Weapon Against Obesity:

"Mice exposed to low temperatures develop more blood vessels in their adipose tissue and metabolise body fat more quickly, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet. Scientists now hope to learn how to control blood vessel development in humans in order to combat obesity and diabetes.

The growth of fat cells and their metabolism depend on oxygen and blood-borne nutrients. A possible way to regulate the amount of body fat – in order, for instance, to combat obesity – can therefore be to affect the development of blood vessels in the adipose tissue.

A team of researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now demonstrated the rapid development of blood vessels in the adipose tissue of mice exposed to low temperatures. This is followed in its turn by a transformation of the adipose tissue from ‘white’ fat to ‘brown’ fat, which has higher metabolic activity and which breaks down more quickly.

“This is the first time it’s been shown that blood vessel growth affects the metabolic activity of adipose tissue rather than vice versa,” says Professor Yihai Cao, who led the study. “If we can learn how to regulate the development of blood vessels in humans, we’d open up new therapeutic avenues for obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes.”

Brown fat releases heat when it breaks down, and is mainly found in hibernating animals. In humans, it is found in newborn babies, but scientists believe by controlling blood vessel development that it might be possible to transform white fat to brown fat in adults as well."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Vitamin status in morbidly obese patients: a cross-sectional study -- Aasheim et al. 87 (2): 362 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Vitamin status in morbidly obese patients: a cross-sectional study -- Aasheim et al. 87 (2): 362 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

"Background:Morbid obesity is associated with low circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Few data on the concentrations of other vitamins in morbidly obese patients are available."

It seems like low vitamin D and abundant fructose are two of the major factors involved with insulin insensitivity. I'm sure magnesium is big in there too.

Therapeutic fasting in morbid obesity. [Arch Intern Med. 1977] - PubMed Result

Therapeutic fasting in morbid obesity. [Arch Intern Med. 1977] - PubMed Result

Therapeutic fasting in morbid obesity.
Johnson D, Drenick EJ.

The weights of 207 morbidly obese patients were reduced via prolonged fasting. Half the patients fasted for close to two months, losing a mean of 28.2 kg; one fourth fasted for less than one month; and the other fourth fasted for more than two months, with a mean 41.4-kg loss(91 lbs). This latter group was heavier initially, and more than 50% attained near-normal weight. Patients with onset of obesity in childhood had the lowest tolerance for fasting and the lowest success rate in attaining normal weight. Over a 7.3-year follow-up period in 121 patients, the reduced weight was maintained for the first 12 to 18 months. Subsequently, regain proceeded equally in all groups irrespective of length of fast, extent of weight loss, or age at onset of obesity. Regain to original weight occurred in 50% within two to three years and only seven patients remained at their reduced weights. Regain to greater than original weight was more common in childhood-onset obesity.