Author Interviews, Diabetes, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 16.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine Bowers, PhD, MPH Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Cincinnati Children's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Bowers: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 68 children and the prevalence continues to rise. Past studies have suggested that conditions experienced by women during pregnancy (for example, obesity and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)) may be associated with having a child with ASD. We collected medical record data from patients who resided in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s primary catchment area and linked those data to data from birth certificates to identify metabolic risk factors. Two comparison groups were analyzed; one with developmental disabilities; and the other, controls without a reported ASD or other developmental disability. Descriptive statistics and regression analyses evaluated differences. We found that maternal obesity and  gestational diabetes mellitus were associated with an increased risk of Autism spectrum disorder in the offspring; however, no difference in risk of Autism spectrum disorder according to BMI and GDM was seen when comparing to the group with other developmental disabilities. The strongest observed association was the joint effect of obesity and GDM (compared to neither obesity nor GDM) :OR=2.53 (95% CI: 1.72, 3.73). (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Francis Tayie, PhD, MPhil, MS. BSc(HONS) Food, Nutrition and Dietetics Department of Human Environmental Studies Southeast Missouri State University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Tayie: This article which is the first report to show a positive link between alcoholic beverage consumption and increased moisture intake, also reports increases in calorie intake above what is supplied by alcohol, as well as increased body weight status. The general view is that alcoholic beverages do not contribute to moisture intake. This view is generally due to the diuretic effect of the ethanol in alcoholic beverages, specifically depression of vasopressin resulting in increased loss of moisture via the kidneys. Nevertheless, much of the water in alcoholic beverages, especially in light drinks such as beer and wine may be retained, as indicated in this study. Alcoholic calories count!! The view that alcoholic beverages do not contribute calories to the intake of drinkers is largely debatable. Most of the confusion results from the complex metabolism of the ethanol in alcoholic beverages. Metabolism of ethanol utilizes specific metabolic pathways different from the metabolism of macronutrients. Notably, the
  • 1) alcohol dehydrogenase system,
  • 2) MEOS (microsomal ethanol oxidizing system),
  • and 3) the catalase system.These metabolic systems variably yield some calories but some calories are lost as body heat. It is likely that all of these pathways are not activated simultaneously, and their activities depends on drinking experience. Some calories become available via the alcohol dehydrogenase system, and to a lesser extent via the MEOS. In addition, alcoholic beverage consumption associates with decreased self-restraint, one consequence of which is increased food intake. The promoting effects of alcohol on food intake is multipronged, from social components, to alterations in the effects of appetite regulating neuropeptides.
(more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Pancreatic, Weight Research / 13.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joao Incio, MD Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology Massachusetts General Hospital | Harvard Medical School | Boston, MA, U.S.A Department of Internal Medicine | Hospital S. Joao | Porto, Portugal  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Incio:  The study focused on the effects of obesity on pancreatic and breast cancer, since more than half of those diagnosed with such tumors are overweight or obese. In addition, a number of large-scale studies have found that obesity leads to an increased risk of death in pancreatic, breast and other types of cancer. But prior to the current study the mechanism of obesity-induced pancreatic and breast cancer progression was unclear. We have uncovered a novel mechanism behind the ability of obesity to promote cancer progression.  We found an association between obesity and an overabundance of a factor called PlGF (placental growth factor) and that PlGF’s binding to its receptor VEGFR-1, which is expressed on immune cells within tumors, promotes tumor progression. We found that obesity increased infiltration of tumor-promoting immune cells and the growth and metastasis of pancreatic cancers. Blocking VEGFR-1 signaling shifted the immune environment towards prevention of tumor progression in obese but not in lean mice in both pancreatic and breast cancer models. We also found that PlGF was present in excess in obesity and that reduction of PlGF produced similar results to VEGFR-1 inhibition in the tumors of obese mice. We also discovered that targeting the PlGF/VEGFR-1 interaction prevents weight gain in a genetically obese mouse model but worsens a diabetes-like condition, a worsening that was alleviated by use of the common diabetes drug metformin, which also had beneficial anti-tumor effects. Our findings in cellular and animal models, as well as in patient tumor samples, indicate that targeting the PlGF/ VEGFR-1 pathway may be particularly effective in obese patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 12.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Tine Rask Licht, Professor Head of Research Group on Gut Microbiology and Immunology Technical University of Denmark National Food Institute Søborg Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  During childhood, the intestinal microbiota is under establishment. This period thus represents a ’window’, where the microbiota is likely to be more susceptible to be affected by external factors such as diet. Currently, it is well known that breast feeding has a major impact on the microbiota of young infants, but only very few studies have addressed the effect of the ‘next step’ in diet exposure, represented by complementary feeding. We studied two cohorts of children, born to normal-weight and obese mothers, respectively, and mapped the composition of bacteria in their fecal microbiota at age 9 months and 18 months.  We found that at 9 months, the microbiota was clearly affected by the composition of the complementary diet, but not by maternal obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 11.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lance Davidson, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Exercise Sciences Brigham Young University Provo, UT  84602  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Davidson: A growing body of literature indicates that bariatric surgery imparts a mortality benefit in severely obese individuals.  Whether age at surgery affects this relationship is not well established.  One might suppose that a person who has been severely obese for several decades may already have sustained enough metabolic damage that weight loss surgery would have less influence on subsequent mortality.  We conducted an age-specific analysis of a previously-published mortality cohort in gastric bypass patients and severely obese controls, following them for up to 18 years (mean 7.2 years), and examined mortality rates in four age categories: under 35, 35-44, 45-54, and 55-74. The primary finding of this retrospective cohort study was that gastric bypass surgery attenuated the age-related increase in mortality, demonstrating a widening gap in mortality risk when compared to age-matched severely obese controls as age-at-surgery increased, with a 66% reduction in mortality in the oldest group.  Another interesting result, highlighted in our previous publication on this cohort (Adams et al. NEJM 2007), was a higher mortality rate from external causes (accidents, poisonings, suicides, homicides) in surgery patients.  We explored this phenomenon further by age at surgery and found that externally-caused deaths were only increased in women (not men) who had surgery before age 35. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Weight Research / 09.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yoosoo Chang MD PhD Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine Seoul, Korea Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is substantial controversy and a lot of interest on the health implications of metabolically healthy obesity, that is, subjects who are obese but do not have metabolic abnormalities in spite of their high body mass index. The risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) among obese patients without metabolic abnormalities is unknown. In this cohort study of South Korean men and women, metabolically healthy overweight and obese participants had increased incidence of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) compared with normal-weight participants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, JAMA, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 02.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Profa. Patrícia Pelufo Silveira, MD, PhD Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Brazil Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that women who carry a certain gene variant (namely the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine type 4 receptor) have increased risk for obesity, especially if they also suffer from eating disorders. We have also demonstrated that girls who have this gene variant prefer to eat more fat when allowed to choose. However, for some neuropsychiatric conditions, this gene was shown to function as a “plasticity gene”. That is to say that being a carrier makes the individual more or less vulnerable to the disease, depending if the environment in which the person lives is bad (more risk) or good (less risk for the disease). This is called the “differential susceptibility” model. Therefore, in this paper, we wondered if the above described higher fat intake already reported in 7-repeat girls could be modified by the social environment in which they are raised. We saw that if a girl has the gene variant and is raised in a poorer environment, she is more likely to prefer to eat fat in her diet as we knew. However, if she has the gene variant but is raised in a better socioeconomic environment, she actually eats less fat in her regular diet compared to her counterparts who do not carry the gene variant. This is important because we change the focus from the gene (previously "blamed" for increasing fat preference and obesity as the years pass by) to the environment, as the genetic association will increase or decrease the risk according to the conditions in which the child is raised. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, JAMA, Mayo Clinic, Weight Research / 01.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rosebud O. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B. Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn.  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Roberts: Decline in weight has been observed 10-20 years prior to onset of dementia. We wanted to study whether this decline also occurs for mild cognitive impairment (an intermediate stage in the progression from normal cognition to dementia). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Roberts: The main finding was that there was indeed a decline in weight (from the maximum weight in midlife to weight assessed in late life) was associated with a increased risk of mild cognitive impairment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Nutrition, Protein, Weight Research / 29.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Stuart M. Phillips Ph.D., FACSM, FACN Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Canada Exercise Metabolism Research Group – Protein Metabolism Research Lab Director, Physical Activity Centre for Excellence Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Phillips: During weight loss with diet only people lose both muscle and fat and muscle. The long-term health consequences of losing metabolically active muscle versus fat are not likely to be beneficial. In the context of this study we thought perhaps the preservation of muscle would also be important in very active young men. We wanted to see whether when men were in a very large energy deficit (40% less energy than they required) higher protein (2.4 g/kg/d) could preserve muscle mass and still result in increased function (strength) and fitness. Our results show that during a marked energy deficit that consumption of 2.4 g protein/kg/d was more effective than consumption of a diet containing 1.2 g protein/kg/d in promoting increases in LBM (1.2 vs 0.1kg increase) and losses of fat mass (-4.8kg vs. -3.5kg) when combined with a high volume of resistance and anaerobic exercise. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Weight Research / 29.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Monica L. Bertoia, MPH, PhD Instructor in Medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School Research Associate, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most weight loss studies have focused on one type of flavonoid, the flavan-3-ols found in green tea, and are limited to small numbers of overweight and obese study participants. We examined 7 subclasses of flavonoids and weight change in 124,086 healthy adults who reported their diet and weight repeatedly over up to 24 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 27.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Fiechtner MD MPH Director of Nutrition Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Massachusetts General Hospital for Children MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fiechtner: In previous studies, we investigated if distance to a supermarket was associated with a child’s BMI or weight status. These were cross-sectional studies measuring only one point in time. We wondered if distance to a supermarket modified how much children in a behavioral intervention improved their weight or dietary intake. In particular we examined 498 children participating in the Study of Technology to Accelerate Research, which was a randomized controlled trial to treat childhood obesity in Eastern Massachusetts. The intervention included computerized clinician decision support plus a family self-guided behavior change intervention or a health coach intervention, which included text messages to the family to promote behavior change. We found that children living closer to supermarkets were able to increase their fruit and vegetable intake and decrease their BMI z-score more during the intervention period than children living farther from supermarkets. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, NYU, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 20.01.2016

More on Obesity from MedicalResearch.com MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, NYU Langone Medical Center Amy Schwartz, PhD, Director, New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy, and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs, Syracuse University Michele Leardo, MA, Assistant Director New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: New York City, as well as other school districts, is making tap water available to students during lunch by placing water dispensers, called water jets, in schools. Surprisingly, drinking water was not always readily available in the lunchroom. Water jets are part of a larger effort to combat child obesity. We find small, but statistically significant, decreases in weight for students in schools with water jets compared to students in schools without water jets. We see a .025 reduction in standardized body mass index for boys and .022 for girls. We also see a .9 percentage point reduction in the likelihood of being overweight for boys and a .6 percentage point reduction for girls. In other words, the intervention is working. (more…)
Author Interviews, Eating Disorders, Psychological Science, Weight Research / 18.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samuel Chng PhD Researcher in Psychology Applied to Health University of Exeter Medical School St Luke’s campus Exeter, EX1 2LU, United Kingdom Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was conceptualised from the curious question from my childhood, “How did my parents influence my behaviours?” Together with my co-author, Dr. Daniel Fassnacht, we decided to explore how a specific form of parental influence, their comments, would influence the development of disordered eating symptoms. From studies conducted with Western samples that parental comments play a role in the development of eating disorder symptoms, and body dissatisfaction is one of the more studied mediator of this relationship. However, we could not find any study that investigated the influential nature of parent comments in Asia. So, we decided to focus our study on Asian parents and their children. Singapore, a developed Asian country that continues to have strong familial roots, provided an ideal population for our study, and we would expect, the relationships we found indicated some potential differences in amongst Asian families. We found that young women, compared to young men, in Singapore generally reported higher levels of parental comments (about their weight, body shape and eating habit), body dissatisfaction and disordered eating symptoms. However what we found for both young women and men was that negative comments from mothers (for example, ‘You need to lose weight’) was the only category of comments that predicted disordered eating and this was mediated by the presence of body dissatisfaction. Positive comments from parents, though suggested from past studies to be a protective factor, did not influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NIH, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 12.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Caroline Fox, MD MPH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fox: There is evidence linking sugar sweetened beverages with obesity and type 2 diabetes. There is also evidence suggesting that specific adipose tissue depots may play a role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. We found that higher levels of sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) intake was associated with more visceral fat (fat in the stomach cavity) over 6 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Surgical Research, UCLA, Weight Research / 12.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron J. Dawes, MD Fellow, VA/RWJF Clinical Scholars Program Division of Health Services Research University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 90024 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dawes: We reviewed the published literature to answer three basic questions about bariatric surgery and mental health conditions. First, how common are mental health conditions among patients being referred for or undergoing bariatric surgery?
  • Second, do patients who carry a diagnosis of one of these conditions lose less weight after surgery than patients without these conditions?
  • And, third, what happens to the clinical course of mental health conditions after patients undergo surgery? Do they get better, worse, or stay the same?
We found that mental health conditions are surprisingly common among bariatric patients, especially depression and binge eating disorder, which occur at almost twice the rate among bariatric patients than in the general U.S. population. We also found no strong evidence to suggest that patients with depression lose less weight after surgery and some evidence that the condition may actually improve after surgery. Eleven of the twelve studies on the topic found either lower rates or fewer symptoms of depression, at least during the first 3 years post-operatively. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sigrid Bjerge Gribsholt MD, PhD Student Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital 8000 Aarhus C Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Based on our clinical experiences we became aware that surgical, medical and nutritional symptoms were common in this group of patients. To enlighten the prevalence and severity we decided to undertake the study. Our main findings include that 88% of the patients felt better or much better than before surgery and 8% felt worse. Furthermore, we found that 68% of the patients had been in contact with the health care system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 08.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Russell Keast Ph.D., CFS Professor Centre for Advanced Sensory Science (CASS) School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health Deakin University Melbourne Burwood Campus Burwood, VIC 3125 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Keast: Fatty acids are detected at various stages of food consumption and digestion via interactions with nutrient receptors upon the tongue and within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This chemoreception initiates functional responses, i.e., taste perception, peptide secretion and alterations in GI motility that play a fundamental role in food consumption, hedonics and satiety. In obesity, both GI and taste detection of fatty acids is attenuated and this may predispose individuals to increased consumption of high-fat foods, or foods containing greater concentrations of fat.  In other word overweight and obese people are less sensitive to fat and this is associated with overconsumption of fatty foods leading to weight gain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 08.01.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kawther Hashem MSc RNutr (Public Health) Nutritionist and Researcher Action on Sugar Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London London UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The calculations showed that a 40% reduction in free sugars added to Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) over five years would lead to an average reduction in energy intake of 38 kcal per day by the end of the fifth year. This would lead to an average reduction in body weight of 1.20kg in adults,  resulting in a reduction in overweight and obese adults by approximately half a million and 1 million respectively. This would in turn prevent between 274,000-309,000 obesity-related type 2 diabetes over the next two decades. Policies such as this will reduce cases of overweight and obesity and type 2 diabetes, this will have a major clinical impact and reduce healthcare costs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 28.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Rebold, PhD, CSCS Assistant Professor Department of Exercise Science Bloomsburg University Bloomsburg, PA 17815 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Rebold: The obesity epidemic seen in children.  If we can make children at a young age physically active then maybe they will be more likely to be physically active into their adult years.  Since parents are the primary role models for younger children we must find ways to get the parents involved in physical activity as well, because children will model their parent's behaviors. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Rebold: The main findings from this study are that when parents are actively participating in activities with their children, their children spend more time in physical activities and less time in sedentary activities. When parents are not present and children are alone, then they spend more time engaging in sedentary activities and less time in physical activities.  When parents are actively watching their children, children still engaged in a significant more amount of time in physical activities than sedentary activities when compared to the alone condition but still not as great as with parents participating. Children also liked and were motivated to engage in additional physical activity time when parents were participating with them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 23.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Bryn Austin, ScD, Professor Dept. of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Director, Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders and Katherine L. Record JD, MPH Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Boston  Medical Research: What is the background for this editorial? What are the main concerns regarding thinness in 'Paris' models? Response: The fashion industry has long been criticized for promoting unrealistic and patently unhealthy standards of thinness for girls and women. Furthermore, decades of psychological research have documented the pervasive and pernicious harm caused to body image and sense of self especially for adolescent girls during a most vulnerable time of development. What is often left out of the discussion, though, is the immediate and sometimes deadly harm caused to the girls and young women working as professional models as a result of what amounts to coerced starvation as a condition of employment. Most models begin working in the industry in their early or mid teens -- in other words, as children. We must ask ourselves, what other industry or employer in the United States would ever be allowed by our government to foster practices of coerced starvation of American child labor? (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, UCSD, Weight Research / 17.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geert W. Schmid-Schonbein, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor and Chairman Department of Bioengineering Adjunct Professor in Medicine University of California San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schmid-Schonbein: Most approaches to control/reduce body weight focus on reducing food quantity, improving quality and promoting daily activity. These approaches, effective in the short term, only yield modest weight control. Weight management strategies recommended in the past have not significantly diminished the current trend towards childhood and adolescence obesity. We developed and tested an alternative approach to control weight gain in healthy individuals to reduce the risk for development of obesity and diabetes complications. The essence is to: “Eat deliberately slow AND stop eating when you feel no longer hungry”. The approach avoids any form of special diet, uses no drugs, can be adopted for a lifetime and used in any ethnic environment. Children in a Mexican School in Durango were instructed by a pediatrician to learn to eat deliberately slow and to stop eating when the satiety reflex sets in, i.e. the moment when the feeling of hunger has disappeared. They were instructed to:
  • quench the thirst at the beginning of a meal with water,
  • use a portable 30 second hourglass sand timer,
  • take a bite only when the sand timer was turned, and
  • stop eating when they were no longer hungry (as compared to feeling of fullness), and
  • limit food consumption after the point of satiety.
Over a one-year period, children not using the hourglass excessively increased their body-mass index, while in contrast children using the hourglass grew normally their body-mass index. Body surface area and waist hip ratio followed the same trend. The study shows feasibility of regulating food intake by education that is directed at developing slow eating habits and cessation of eating at satiety. A combination of behavioral training and focused eating monitoring may constitute a weight control method that may serve a life-time and can be promoted for children and adolescents at moderate costs, on a national basis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Weight Research / 16.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Anne Martin PhD Research Associate/Research Fellow Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) Institute for Sport, PE & Health Sciences University of Edinburgh TeleScot Research Group Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics Edinburgh Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Martin: Impairments in cognitive development during childhood can have detrimental effects on health behaviour, educational attainment, and socio-economic status later in life. Epidemiological evidence indicates an association between childhood obesity and cognition and educational attainment. Knowledge of when obesity related deficits in cognition and attainment emerge, and how large the deficits are at various ages, may be useful to support arguments for school-based obesity prevention initiatives and in translating evidence on this topic into policy aimed at preventing obesity. In this study we explored whether the adverse association between obesity and cognition emerges in early childhood. Measures of cognitive abilities included visuo-spatial skills, expressive language skills and reasoning skills. Our findings indicated that obesity in the pre-school years may be weakly associated with some poorer cognitive outcomes at age 5 years in boys, independently of socioeconomic status. Stronger relationships between obesity and cognition or educational attainment may emerge later in childhood. Evidence from an English cohort study suggested an adverse association between obesity in teenage girls and lower academic attainment in Mathmatics, Science and English. (more…)
Author Interviews, Rheumatology, UCSF, Weight Research / 07.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexandra S. Gersing, MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gersing:  This study is part of a larger NIH-funded project focusing on the effects of weight change in individuals at risk for and with osteoarthritis. Our group has previously shown that weight gain causes substantial worsening of knee joint degeneration in patients with risk factors for osteoarthritis and now we aimed to show that weight loss could protect the knee joint from degeneration and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is one of the major causes of pain and disability worldwide; and cartilage plays a central role in the development of joint degeneration. Since cartilage loss is irreversible, we wanted to assess whether lifestyle interventions, such as weight loss, could make a difference at a very early, potentially reversible stage of cartilage degradation and whether a certain amount of weight loss is more beneficial to prevent cartilage deterioration. To measure these early changes we used a novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, called T2 mapping, which allows us to evaluate biochemical cartilage degradation in the patient on a molecular level. The most relevant finding of this study is that patients with more that 10% of weight loss benefited significantly more from losing weight compared to the obese controls that did not lose weight or only lost little weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Weight Research / 06.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ida Donkin MD, PhD Postdoc, Medical Doctor, PhD University of Copenhagen Faculty Of Health Sciences Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Donkin: We know that children of obese fathers are more prone to develop obesity themselves – regardless of the weight of the mother. We also know that obesity and diabetes are diseases with a very big inheritable components in their aetiology. If your parents are obese, you have a risk of about 75% percent of developing obesity yourself. But we do not know how the disease is inherited from one generation to the next. Despite exhaustive research trying to investigate genes potentially responsible for this, and more than 125 genetic mutations have been discovered to associate to the development of obesity, all the genetic mutations put together cannot explain more than about 10% of the actual inheritance. So how is obesity inherited from parents to children? One explanation could be the transfer of epigenetic information from one generation to the next. Epigenetic information is established in our body’s cells in response to our lifestyle and the environment around us. We discovered that the epigenetic factors of semen cells also responds to changes in our lifestyle, and we speculated whether these might be the key to understand how obesity in dads can lead to obesity in children. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Donkin: In this study we discovered that the information kept in our semen cells responds dynamically to changes in our lifestyle. If you are obese, your semen cells will contain a different epigenetic pattern than if you are lean. Weight loss induced by gastric bypass surgery will dynamically change these epigenetic patterns, meaning that by changing our lifestyle, we can actively change the epigenetic information we pass on to our children. Other research groups have created solid evidence showing us that most these epigenetic marks kept in the sperm cells will be passed on to the embryo at fertilization. The epigenetic information can affect the development of the embryo, and thereby change the health – and the risk of disease – of our children. Our study thus provides a likely explanation for the mechanism of the inheritance of acquired traits and diseases through generations, and gives us a likely explanation as to why children of obese fathers are more prone to develop obesity themselves. (more…)
Author Interviews, Karolinski Institute, Lancet, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 03.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Sven Cnattingius Professor in reproductive epidemiology Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine Karolinska University Hospital Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Cnattingius: Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with increased risks of stillbirth and infant mortality. Weight gain between pregnancies increases risks of other obesity-related complications, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm birth. Weight gain appear to increase these risks especially in women who start off with normal weight. As these complications increases risks of stillbirth and infant mortality, we wanted to study the associations between weight change between successive pregnancies and risks of stillbirth and infant mortality (deaths during the first year of life). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Cnattingius: The main findings include:
  • Weight gain increases risk of stillbirth in a dose-response manner.
  • In women starting off with normal weight (BMI <25), weight gain  increases risk of infant mortality in a dose-response manner.
  • In women starting off with overweight or obesity (BMI >25), weight loss reduces the risk of neonatal mortality (deaths during the first four weeks of life).
(more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Weight Research / 28.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eran Elinav PhD Immunology Department and Prof. Eran Segal PhD Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot , Israel Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity and diabetes are rising epidemics, affecting a significant portion of the world’s population. Blood glucose levels are a major contributor to these epidemics, as they are associated with obesity and with risk to develop diabetes. Normalizing blood glucose can have highly beneficial effects on the health of individuals. Therefore, we decided to study the factors that affect blood glucose. Among these factors are the macro- and micronutrient content of the meal, a person’s lifestyle, medical state, and their microbiome. We then started collecting from participants these exact parameters, and studied their effect on blood glucose. We managed to successfully predict the blood glucose response of many people to many meals and to assign for people beneficial diets based on this prediction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, Weight Research / 26.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrew Whittle, joint first-author of the paper and a postdoc in the Prof. Vidal-Puig’s lab at the time the research was conducted. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Whittle: Antonio Vidal-Puig heads the disease model core of the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science (IMS). His laboratory has a long-standing interest in the mechanisms that regulate how adipose tissue stores, burns or releases energy. The group studies mice that have increased or reduced susceptibility to obesity and its metabolic complications, in order to dissect the molecular pathways that underpin these phenotypes. Their long-term goal is to develop more effective strategies to manipulate the body’s own regulatory pathways, both to reduce obesity itself or limit the negative impact that excess lipids have on other important metabolic organs. Professor Hideaki Bujo from Toho University Medical Center in Japan has been working for a number of years to understand the role of specific lipoprotein receptors in vascular biology. Specifically he has shown that LR11 is cleaved to release a short soluble for of the protein, sLR11, which can effect changes to vascular smooth muscle cell migration. To further his studies he generated a knock-out mouse model completely lacking LR11. One of the first observations his group made was that these mice remained leaner than control animals. I and Meizi Jiang (a postdoc in the Bujo lab) conducted a collaborative study of the LR11 knockout mice (Lr11-/-), to investigate the mechanisms by which a lack of LR11 resulted in mice being protected from diet-induced obesity.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, CDC, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 20.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Quanhe Yang, PhD Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 30341 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yang: Body mass index (BMI) is an important risk factor for high blood pressure among adolescents. Despite a recent leveling off in the numbers of overweight and obese youths, weight-associated health outcomes remain a problem in the U.S. Some researchers have suggested that the increased prevalence of high blood pressure among adolescents is associated with the epidemic of overweight and obesity in the U.S. As a result, we analyzed trends in pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure among U.S. youth using data from a series of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Nearly 15,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were included in the surveys, which were conducted between 1988 and 2012. During that 24-year timeframe, the prevalence of high blood pressure actually decreased overall, while pre-high blood pressure remained largely unchanged. However, those rates differed based on body weight category. For example, pre-high blood pressure was consistently higher among overweight/obese adolescents (18 to 22 percent) than those of normal weight (11 to 12 percent). The observed changes in both pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure prevalence were consistent across age group, sex and race/ethnicity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Surgical Research, Transplantation, Weight Research / 17.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barry Schlansky, M.D., M.P.H Assistant Professor of Medicine Oregon Health & Science University Medical Research: What are the main findings and significance of this study? Dr. Schlansky: This study examines how obese patients fare before and after liver transplantation. Similar to other researchers, we found that obese patients do just as well as normal weight patients after liver transplantation. We were surprised, however, to find that very obese patients died more often while on the wait list before liver transplant. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research, Weight Research / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph M. Braun PhD Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology in the Program in Public Health Brown University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Braun:  Perfluoroalkyl substances are a class of chemicals used to produce stain/water repellent textiles, fire fighting foams, and non-stick coatings. Virtually all people in the US have measurable levels of several different perfluoroalkyl substances in their blood. There is concern that early life exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of obesity by reducing fetal growth or promoting adipogenesis. What are the main findings? Dr. Braun:  Pregnant women in our study had perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) concentrations in their blood that were over 2-fold higher than pregnant women in the United States (median: 5.3 vs. 2.3 ng/mL) during the same time period (2003-2006). Children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy had a higher body mass index, greater waist circumference, and more body fat at 8 years of age compared to children born to women with lower serum PFOA concentrations. In addition, children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy gained more fat mass between 2 and 8 years of age than children born to women with lower PFOA concentrations. (more…)