Health Updates 28 October 2011

  • Why can’t we keep the weight off?  “They recruited healthy people who were either overweight or obese and put them on a highly restricted diet that led them to lose at least 10 percent of their body weight.  They then kept them on a diet to maintain that weight loss.  A year later, the researchers found that the participants’  metabolism and hormone levels had not returned to the levels before the study started…As expected, their hormone levels changed in a way that increased their appetites, and indeed they were hungrier than when they started the study.”  (NY Times)
  • Researchers study the DNA of the elderly to learn the secrets of longevity: “George Eberhardt turned 107 last month, and scientists would love to know how he and other older folks like him made it that far.  So he’s going to hand over some of his DNA.  He’s one of the 100 centenarians taking part in a project announced Wednesday that will examine some of the oldest citizens with one of the newest scientific tools: whole-genome sequencing, the deciphering of a person’s complete collection of DNA.  Scientists think DNA from very old healthy people could offer clues to how they lived so long.  And that could one day lead to medicines to help the rest of us stay disease-free longer.” (USA Today)
  • Researchers study python blood and hearts for clues on treating humans: “A day after a Burmese python feeds, the mass of the snake’s heart increases by 40 percent and the triglycerides in its bloodstream grow 50 times beyond normal levels.  Since triglycerides are the main component in natural fats and oils, this results in massive amounts of fatty acids circulating through the python’s bloodstream.  ‘Fats in blood is usually associated with bad things in humans,’ lead researcher Leslie Leinwand said.  ‘We wanted to find out how the python manages to not have something toxic happen to it.'” (Denver Post)
  • Flu linked to 115 deaths among US children: Influenza was associated with the deaths of 115 children in the US over the past 12 months, the CDC reported.  And nearly half of those were without high-risk medical conditions that might have predisposed them to more serious illness, the agency reported in the Sept. 16 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Not surprisingly, the agency found that only a handful of the children who died and were eligible for vaccination had actually been immunized against the flu….’It’s vital that children get vaccinated,’ [Lyn] Finelli [DrPH] said in a statement, adding that treatment with antiviral drugs is a second line of defense against flu-related deaths among children.  ‘We know the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, especially not in children with high-risk medical conditions….That’s why it’s essential that these two medical tools be fully utilized.'” (Michael Smith, MedPage Today)

One response to “Health Updates 28 October 2011

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