AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Weight Research / 17.10.2015

Dr. Eric J. Belin de Chantemèle PhD Georgia Regents University Augusta Georgia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eric J. Belin de Chantemèle PhD Georgia Regents University Augusta Georgia  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Obesity is currently a worldwide epidemic and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease including among others hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Despite decades of research, the mechanisms linking obesity to cardiovascular disease still remain incompletely understood. Obesity is commonly associated with increased levels of the mineralocorticoid hormone aldosterone. Excessive amounts of aldosterone promote hypertension, vascular and heart disease but also lead to inflammation, and facilitate the development of diabetes. The present study aimed at deciphering the origin of these high aldosterone levels. We have been the first to demonstrate that the adipocyte derived hormone leptin controls the level of expression of the enzyme producing aldosterone: aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2), in the adrenal glands, and leptin stimulates the release of aldosterone. This was demonstrated in different mouse models as well as in cultured human adrenocortical cells. We also demonstrated that leptin-mediated aldosterone production promotes the development of cardiovascular disease, notably impairs endothelium-dependent relaxation in major arteries and promotes the development of cardiac fibrosis. Both endothelial dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis are precursors of major cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Smoking, University of Pennsylvania, Weight Research / 16.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Samuel H. Preston Ph.D Professor, Department of Sociology and Population Studies Center University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Medical Research: What is meant by the Obesity Paradox? Is it reported more in some groups? Dr. Preston: The obesity paradox is a term that is used when a study finds that obese people have lower mortality than non-obese people. The finding is considered paradoxical because the obese do not have lower mortality in cross-sections of the general population. The paradox is, however, commonly observed among people who suffer from a particular illness such as heart disease or diabetes Medical Research: What are the main findings of your study? What is reverse causation and how does it affect obesity studies? Dr. Preston: We find in a nationally representative sample that, among people suffering from cardiovascular disease, mortality is indeed lower for people who are overweight or obese than for people of normal weight. So the paradox appears among this group. However, when we study people's mortality according to their maximum lifetime weight, the paradox disappears. We attribute its disappearance primarily to the fact that many  people who have lost weight from their maximum are doing so because they are ill. This phenomenon is referred to as "reverse causation" because illness is affecting weight rather than weight affecting illness and mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Weight Research / 14.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Guofang Chen MD Endocrine and Diabetes Center Jiangsu Province Hospital on Integration of Chinese and Western Medicine Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Guofang Chen: With the high prevalence of diabetes in China (about 11.6% in adults from 2013 data), finding a way to improve remission of diabetes, and decrease the risk of developing diabetes, can be considered urgent. Very low calorie diet (VLCD) has been reported as a quick therapeutic tool to improve glucose control in obese type 2 diabetic patients. We investigated the effects of short-term Very low calorie diet in both lean and overweight/obese type 2 diabetic patients in China. We find that short-term VLCD effectively improved insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, glucose control, and lipid profile in overweight/obese rather than lean patients with type 2 diabetes in China. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nutrition, Weight Research / 05.10.2015

Jacqueline Alvarez-Leite MD, Ph.D Full Professor, UFMG Moore Laboratory Massachusetts General HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacqueline Alvarez-Leite  MD, Ph.D Federal University of Minas Gerias in Brazil Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Alvarez-Leite : Obesity is now a global epidemic and bariatric surgery is now the main therapeutic option for those individuals with extreme obesity in which clinical treatments failed. However, a significant proportion of those patients regain the weight lost 3-4 years after surgery. Therefore, some metabolic or genetic trait may be related to weight regain. The rs9939609 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the fat mass and obesity- associated (FTO) gene is one of the most studied genes involved in obesity. However, few studies have been conducted on patients who underwent bariatric surgery. In our study, we evaluated the influence of  this FTO SNP on body weight and composition, and weight regain in 146 patients during a 60-mo follow-up period after bariatric surgery. We observed that there was a different evolution of weight loss in individual with obesity carriers of the FTO gene variant after bariatric surgery. However, this pattern is evident at only 2 y post bariatric
 surgery, inducing a lower proportion of surgery success (percentage of excess weight loss >50%) and greater and earlier weight regain after 3-y of follow-up. Multiple regression 
analyses showed that the variation in rs9939609 was a significant and independent predictor for regaining weight during the 
5-y follow-up period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 05.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr-Corinna-Koebnick Corinna Koebnick, PhD Research scientist with Research & Evaluation Kaiser Permanente Southern California MedicalResearch: Please describe your study, what you were looking for, and why.  Dr. Koebnick: This study is based on the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Children’s Health Study, which includes all children and adolescents 2–19 years of age in Southern California who are actively enrolled in a large, integrated, managed health care system. We examined the body weight from electronic health records of more than 1.3 million children and adolescents 2-19 years of age from 2008 to 2013. The objective of this study was to investigate recent trends in pediatric obesity in Southern California between 2008 and 2013. Several recent studies have investigated national trends in childhood obesity in the United States and indicated that childhood obesity rates may have reached a plateau, but are not declining. Ours is one of the few studies that is large enough to be able to detect small changes in the prevalence of obesity in time periods of less than 10 years. MedicalResearch: What are the findings of this study?  Dr. Koebnick: Our study provides strong indication that the prevalence of overweight and obesity between 2008 and 2013 has not only plateaued, but also is slowly declining. While the decline in overweight and obesity was less pronounced in girls, adolescents, some minority groups and youth living in low income and low education areas, the decline was remarkably stable across all groups and significant even in minority youth and youth of lower socioeconomic status. We found the prevalence of overweight and obesity decreased overall by 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. This change corresponds to a relative decline of 6.1 percent in overweight youth and 8.4 percent in obese youth. Although a decline was seen across all groups, the decrease was not as strong in adolescents aged 12-19 years, in girls compared to boys, and Hispanic and black children compared to non-Hispanic whites. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Weight Research / 01.10.2015

Dr Jonas Minet Kinge PhD Researcher, Department of Health Statistics, Norwegian Institute of Public Health Associate professor, Department of Health Management and Health Economics University of Oslo Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, NorwayMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jonas Minet Kinge PhD Researcher, Department of Health Statistics, Norwegian Institute of Public Health Associate professor, Department of Health Management and Health Economics University of Oslo Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that the number of people with obesity increases with the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country. Previous research has also indicated that education can be an important factor in this context. The aim of this new study was to explore the assumption from previous studies that obesity is linked to GDP and education, and to include new data from several different countries. The results from this study confirm that there is an association between obesity, education and GDP. The prevalence of obesity increases with rising GDP, but only among individuals with lower levels of education. There is no significant increase in obesity among those with higher education. This means that:
  • In countries with low GDP there is more obesity among those with high education.
  • In countries with high GDP there is more obesity among those with low education.
  • The study also found that the relationship was somewhat more marked among women than among men.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Psychological Science, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 21.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Linda J Ewing PhD RN Department of Psychiatry and Lora E Burke PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN Department of Health and Community Systems University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was the product both of work done in Dr. Burke’s lab as well as cumulative findings of other investigators demonstrating that improved self-efficacy is related to positive changes in health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, increased Intake of healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables).  Given that, we designed a behavioral weight loss study that included an intentional focus on enhancing participant self-efficacy for healthy behaviors related to weight loss maintenance.  No previous study had self-efficacy enhancement as a focus of intervention with the long-term goal of increasing weight loss maintenance.  Thus our study focused on mastery performance of weight loss related behaviors.  Findings supported our hypothesis; participants in both arms of the study (standard behavioral weight loss (SBT) and SBT with self-efficacy enhancement (SBT+SE) achieved clinically significant weight loss.  Participants in the SBT+SE group had greater weight loss maintenance while those in the SBT group had clinically significant weight regain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 16.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annemarie Schalkwijk, MSc/MD PhD candidate, GP in training Diabetes Research Group EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research VU University Medical Center Amsterdam The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Schalkwijk: Overweight and obese children are at increased risk of becoming overweight and obese adults and therefore are an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. It is known from the literature that being overweight or obese is associated with environmental, parental and socioeconomic status (SES) characteristics. However, the interdependence of these variables has not been studied before.Therefore, the aim of our study is to assess the influence of the amount of green space, accessibility to a garden and the safety of the surroundings during ages 3-5 on being overweight or obese at age 7. Furthermore, we want to assess if parental choices and SES moderate or mediate this influence. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Schalkwijk: Statistically significant associations (p≤0.05) were found between low levels green space, not having access to a garden, shabbiness of the neighborhood and childhood obesity (OR (95% CI) respectively: 1,14 (1,02-1,27), 1,35 (1,16-1,58), 1,22 (1,05-1,42)). Parental determinants were related to the environmental determinants and childhood overweight/obese but did not moderate or mediate the association between the latter two. Therefore no parental variables were left in the model. As for SES, the highest level of education in the household did diminish the magnitude of the associations found between the environmental determinants and being overweight/obese. In the final model the remaining significant associations with childhood overweight/obese were no garden access for lower educated households and shabbiness of the neighborhood for higher educated households (OR (95% CI) respectively: 1,38 (1,16-1,58), 1,38 (1,12-1,70). We can conclude from our study, that environmental factors do have an association with children being overweight or obese. However, these associations are complex and might not be as distinct as previously assumed. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 15.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica M. Robbins, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor Public Health Epidemiologist Philadelphia Department of Public Health  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The rapid increase in child obesity rates across the US in recent decades has affected Philadelphia as it has other cities.  The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has worked with the School District of Philadelphia to analyze data on students' heights and weights to determine trends in obesity since the 2006-2007 school year.  Data we had examined through the 2009-2010 school year indicated that the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity were declining in this population, and notably were declining in African-American and Hispanic students as well.  We updated the analyses with data through the 2012-2013 school year to see if that trend had continued. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Overall, the prevalence of obesity and particularly of severe obesity continued to decline, although more slowly than in the earlier period.  However, there were some disturbing disparities, with improvement largely limited to boys.  Girls in grades kindergarten through 5 and Hispanic girls actually saw increased obesity since 2009-2010. (more…)
Author Interviews, Menopause, Weight Research / 15.09.2015

Jennifer W. Bea, PhD Assistant Professor, Medicine Assistant Research Scientist, Nutritional Sciences University of Arizona Cancer Center Tucson, AZ 85724-0524MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer W. Bea, PhD Assistant Professor, Medicine Assistant Research Scientist, Nutritional Sciences University of Arizona Cancer Center Tucson, AZ 85724-0524 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bea: The analysis was based on a subgroup of the largest study of post-menopausal women in the United States, Women's Health Initiative (WHI), which has been answering important questions about health and wellness among post-menopausal women since the 1990s. In the analysis, body mass index, a proxy for body fat, and actual body composition (i.e. fat and muscle mass) determined by an imaging technique called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were used to predict risk of death. In the younger post-menopausal women,  aged 50–59 years, higher body fat increased risk of death by more than 2 times and the highest muscle mass decreased risk of death by almost 60%. Importantly, the relationships were reversed among the older women, aged 70–79 years (P < 0.05). These results were true in spite of BMIs in these groups spanning nearly the full range of possible BMIs (16.4–69.1kg/m2). These data indicate that BMI does not estimate mortality risk as well as we would hope among post- menopausal women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 12.09.2015

Dr.Manuel Fernández-Real MD, PhD Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) CIBERobn Obesity Hospital of GironaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.Manuel Fernández-Real MD, PhD Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) CIBERobn Obesity Hospital of Girona Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity is an important determinant of increased cardiovascular risk. Increased fat mass has been assumed to constitute the main prominent contributor to changes in carotid intima-media thickness (c-IMT). A link among fat free mass and total blood volume, stroke volume and cardiac output has been also previously reported. In this manuscript we describe that  carotid intima-media thickness was positively associated with lean body mass in men (r =0.328, p <0.0001) and women (r = 0.268 p =<0.0001). c-IMT values increased across lean mass quartiles (p < 0.0001).  Stepwise linear regression analysis showed that age and lean mass (but not fat mass or traditional cardiovascular risk factors) contributed to 46.2% of c-IMT variance in men (p=<0.0001). (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 02.09.2015

Brian D. Elbel, PhD, MPH Associate professor, Departments of Population Health, Division of Health and Behavior and Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine Marie Bragg, PhD Assistant professor Department of Population Health Jonathan Cantor, MS Department of Population Health, Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian D. Elbel, PhD, MPH Associate professor, Departments of Population Health, Division of Health and Behavior and Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine Marie Bragg, PhD Assistant professorDepartment of Population Health Jonathan Cantor, MS Department of Population Health, Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation NYU Langone Medical Center  MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: On July 17th, 2014 the New York City Council proposed the “Healthy Happy Meals” bill in an effort to improve the nutritional value of fast food restaurant meals marketed to children. The bill states a restaurant cannot offer an incentive item (i.e. a toy) in combination with the purchase of a meal unless the meal met several nutritional standards. The meals with toys would be required to:
  • Be less than 500 hundred calories total
  • Be less than 600 milligrams of sodium total
  • Have less than 35% of total calories come from fat
  • Have less than 10% of total calories come from saturated fat
  • Have less than 10% of total calories come from added sugar
  • Contain one half cup of fruit or vegetable or one serving of whole-grain products
This study examined potential reductions in purchased calories, sodium and percentage of calories from fat that could occur among children if the policy were to go into effect. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: Researchers collected receipts for fast food purchases for 422 children who were accompanied by 358 adults. On average, adults purchased 600 calories for each child, with 36 percent of those calories coming from fat. One third of the children in the sample had a children’s meal, with 98% of the purchased children’s combination meals would be restricted from handing out a toy with the meal if the bill passed. If the bill passed, there would be a 9% reduction in calories purchased for kid’s meals, the equivalent of 54 calories. Similarly, researchers found that there would be a 10% (83 mg) reduction in sodium purchased and a 10% reduction in the percentage of calories from fat purchased for children. This all assumes that children ordered what they did previously but the meals meet the nutrition criteria. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NIH, Weight Research / 31.08.2015

Dr. Alexandra White PhD in Epidemiology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Postdoctoral fellow National Institute of Environmental Health ScienceMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alexandra White PhD in Epidemiology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Postdoctoral fellow National Institute of Environmental Health Science MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. White: Many studies have shown that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. We know less about how obesity impacts breast cancer risk in premenopausal women. About a third of U.S. adults are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Similarly, the prevalence of abdominal obesity, measured by a person’s waist circumference, has increased by 10% in the last decade. In 2012, more than two-thirds of U.S. women had a waist circumference that indicated abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity may be a better predictor than BMI for breast cancer risk and other chronic diseases, because it is related to insulin resistance and can reflect metabolically active fat stores. In order to understand how different types of obesity (overall vs. abdominal) influence breast cancer risk, we used information from >50,000 participants in the Sister Study. The Sister Study, led by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health investigates environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Weight Research / 28.08.2015

Dr Aseem Malhotra MBChB, MRCP Honorary Consultant Cardiologist - Frimley Park Hospital Consultant Clinical Associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Science Director- Action on Sugar Saving Londoners Lives - External Advisory Board MemberMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Aseem Malhotra MBChB, MRCP Honorary Consultant Cardiologist - Frimley Park Hospital Consultant Clinical Associate to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Science Director- Action on Sugar Saving Londoners Lives - External Advisory Board Member   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Malhotra: It is a review of all the research up to date on what is the impact of diet on health. What type of diet has the most robust evidence for weight and health and how this can be translated into policy to rapidly reduce the burden of chronic disease. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Malhotra:
  • That "low fat" diets to do not improve health outcomes and the public should stop counting calories.
  • That a high fat Mediterranean diet is more powerful in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke than any medical treatment.
  • That it's effect is independent of cholesterol lowering.
  • That rapid weight loss through calorie counting combined with exercise doesn't only not improve health outcomes in the long term for diabetics but can also be potentially harmful by increasing CVD risk.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 25.08.2015

Candida Rebello, PhD candidate Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center School of Nutrition and Food Sciences Baton Rouge , Louisiana MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Candida Rebello, PhD candidate Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center School of Nutrition and Food Sciences Baton Rouge , Louisiana   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. When mixed with liquids, this fiber induces viscosity or what is commonly called thickening. The degree of thickening depends on a number of factors such as the structure and concentration of the fiber, its molecular weight, and the ease with which the fiber will absorb water. These qualities of the fiber can be affected by various processing techniques used in the preparation of food products. Viscosity affects appetite by influencing the way foods interact with the mouth, as well as the stomach and intestines. Viscosity in the stomach can cause distension and promote a feeling of fullness. Viscosity in the intestinal tract delays digestion and absorption allowing nutrients to interact with cells and release hormones that reduce hunger and keep a person full for a prolonged period after eating a meal which is termed satiety. Viscosity in the mouth also affects appetite and all these effects often work in concert. In animal studies, oat beta-glucan has been shown to influence appetite regulating hormones, as well as reduce food intake and body weight.1,2 In human trials, several studies have shown that oat beta-glucan reduces appetite.3-10 In this study, we found that instant oatmeal eaten at breakfast reduced hunger, increased fullness, and reduced food intake at lunch, compared to an oat-based ready-to-eat cereal containing equal calories. Instant oatmeal had greater viscosity than the ready-to-eat cereal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Lancet, Weight Research / 21.08.2015

Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD Professor of Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chief of Nephrology Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kovesdy: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in modern societies, and has been linked to adverse outcomes such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and mortality. In addition, obesity is also associated with chronic kidney disease through a variety of mechanisms. Our population is ageing, and previous studies have suggested that the effect of obesity on certain outcomes like mortality may be different in older vs. younger individuals, but this has not been previously examined for chronic kidney disease. We have this examined the association of granular BMI categories with progressive loss of kidney function in a very large cohort of patients with normal estimated GFR in patients of different ages. We found that the association of a BMI of >30 kg/m2 with progressive loss of kidney function was not present in younger individuals (< 40 years of age), and increased as people aged, with >80 years old displaying the strongest associations between obesity and loss of kidney function. In addition to this we also examined the association of BMI with mortality in different age groups, and found uniform U-shaped associations that did not vary by age. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Weight Research / 19.08.2015

Melanie J Davies MB ChB MD FRCP FRCGP Professor of Diabetes Medicine 
NIHR Senior Investigator Leicester Diabetes Unit
Leicester Diabetes Centre Bloom
University of Leicester MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Melanie J Davies MB ChB MD FRCP FRCGP Professor of Diabetes Medicine 
NIHR Senior Investigator Leicester Diabetes Unit
Leicester Diabetes Centre Bloom
 University of Leicester   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
 Dr. Davies: This study was designed to test the efficacy and safety of Liraglutide using a dose of 3mg for weight loss among patients with type 2 diabetes.  It was a large international study in which we compared once daily subcutaneous Liraglutide at a dose of 3mg to Liraglutide 1.8mg which is the current maximum dose licenced in patients with diabetes and placebo.  In all patients we offered a calorie deficit diet and lifestyle advice to increase physical activity.  Our main findings were that the dose of 3mg of Liraglutide resulted in greater weight loss than both other arms of the study indeed 54% of patients at 56 weeks achieved more than 5% weight loss and a further 25% were able to achieve more than 10% weight loss.  The 3mg of Liraglutide compared to the placebo, there were also significant impacts on HbA1c and other cardiovascular risk factors such as systolic blood pressure and lipids as well as improving patient quality of life particularly physical functioning and patient treatment satisfaction.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Geriatrics, UCSF, Weight Research / 13.08.2015

Meera Sheffrin MD Geriatrics Fellow Division of Geriatrics | Department of Medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meera Sheffrin MD Geriatrics Fellow Division of Geriatrics | Department of Medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sheffrin: The main drug treatments for dementia are a class of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors. They have only modest effects on cognition and function in most patients, but since they are one of the few available treatments for dementia and thus very commonly prescribed. However,they are known to cause GI side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia) in many patients when first started. It is plausible they could also caust weight loss, espeically considering they cause nausea and anorexia. However, the data on weight loss from randomized controlled trials is very limited and inconclusive, so we did a very large observational study in a real-world of the VA national healthcare system who were newly started on these medications, to see if they were associated with weight loss. We found that patient with dementia started on cholinesterase inhibitors had a substantially higher risk of clinically significant weight loss over a 12-month period compared to matched controls. 1,188 patients started on cholinesterase inhibitors were matched to 2,189 similar patients who were started on other new chronic medications. The primary outcome was time to a 10-pound weight loss over a 12-month period, as this represents a degree of loss that would be clinically meaningful – not only noticed by a clinician but would perhaps prompt further action in considering the causes of the weight loss and medical work-up. We found that starting cholinesterase inhibitors was associated with a 24% greater risk of developing weight loss. Overall, 29% of patients started on cholinesterase inhibitors experienced a weight loss of 10 pounds or more, compared with 23% of the control group. This corresponds to a number needed to harm of 21 over 1 year; meaning only 21 patients need to be treated with a cholinesterase inhibitor over the course of a year for one patient to experience a 10 pound weight loss. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 07.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Candida J. Rebello and Dr. Frank Greenway Pennington Biomedical Research Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Appethyl™ contains concentrated thylakoid membranes extracted from spinach leaves. By interacting with fats and slowing fat digestion thylakoid membranes promote the release of hormones that reduce feelings of hunger and keep consumers full for a prolonged period. In previous studies the spinach extract has been shown to promote reduction of body weight and fat mass (1-3). Studies have also shown that consuming the thylakoid membranes reduces the urge for chocolate and sweet foods in women (2) (4, 5). Research suggests that women tend to crave sweet foods whereas men prefer savory foods. Hence, thylakoids may influence reward mechanisms to promote an inhibition over eating, especially since some of the hormones released in response to delayed fat digestion influence areas of the brain that control reward-induced eating. Further, unlike pharmaceutical drugs such as orlistat, the spinach extract delays but does not prevent fat digestion. Therefore, the excretion of undigested fat which is an unpleasant side effect of these drugs is avoided. Thus, the effect of the extract on reducing the desire to eat is of great interest, especially if its effects are mediated in part through the reward system. Reward mechanisms can be activated outside of conscious control. In the current food environment which is rife with enticing food choices, reward-induced eating assumes importance. The main findings of the study are that consuming 5 g of the spinach extract reduced hunger and increased fullness over a two hour period. Males in the study ate 126 kcal less under the thylakoid condition compared to the placebo. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, University Texas, Weight Research / 28.07.2015

Junfeng Jiao, PhD Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Director, Urban Information Lab Austin, TexasMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Junfeng Jiao, PhD Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Director, Urban Information Lab Austin, Texas Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Jiao: The increase in obesity rates has been explained by dietary changes including the consumption of high-energy, low-nutrient foods. Over the past thirty years, trends reveal increases of eating away from home. Public Health professionals have hypothesized that the heightened exposure to the ubiquitous fast food establishments may be an avenue through which health and diets are impacted. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Jiao: This study examined whether the reported health impacts of eating at a fast food or quick service establishment on a frequent basis were associated with having such a restaurant near home. Results indicated that eating at a fast food or quick service restaurant two times or more per week was related with perceived poor health status, overweight, and obese. Simply living close to such establishments was not related to negative health outcomes such as being overweight or obese, having cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 25.07.2015

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, MPH, FAHA, FACC Director, Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology, Intermountain Heart Institute Adjunct Assistant Professor, Genetic Epidemiology Division, Department of Medicine, University of UtahMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, MPH, FAHA, FACC Director, Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology, Intermountain Heart Institute Adjunct Assistant Professor, Genetic Epidemiology Division, Department of Medicine, University of Utah Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Horne:  A rapidly expanding set of results from animal studies exists regarding the effects of intermittent fasting among animals. Many pilot studies of intermittent fasting have been performed now, too, but the body of literature regarding the human response to fasting is incomplete. This study sought to determine how preliminary and incomplete the evidence is in humans regarding the health benefits and the harmful side-effects of intermittent fasting. The purpose was to determine how reliable the evidence is that people should be engaging in fasting to improve their health. In particular, one major concern is that diet gurus and even some scientists are marketing intermittent fasting to the public through diet books and other methods that produce additional income for them, but it is unclear whether their claims can be supported. The main findings of the study are that only three controlled clinical trials of intermittent fasting in humans have been published that were designed rigorously and included a control group in addition to the fasting intervention arm of the study. One of the three had a pre-specified primary outcome (weight loss) and another used the Bonferroni correction to account for inflated false positive results due to multiple hypothesis tests (the third study unfortunately did neither, which is the common approach in human studies of intermittent fasting). These three controlled trials only used surrogate or intermediate endpoints, though, such as weight, cholesterol, or other risk factors for disease. The three trials also have substantial limitations, including small sample sizes (~30 people total), a fasting regimen that was studied for less than three months, and no evaluation of clinical safety outcomes. Only one of the three trials was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, a site instituted as part of the FDA Modernization Act and a pre-requisite for trials that are published in scientifically sound medical journals and are to be reviewed by the FDA. Two observational studies of the association of intermittent fasting with clinical events (i.e., coronary artery disease diagnosis and diabetes diagnosis) also have been published. These two studies included 200 patients and 445 patients. They were performed in patients drawn from a general population in which a large proportion of people engage in fasting intermittently over a period of decades. These observational studies provide the only evidence that fasting is associated with a lower risk of disease outcomes. Such studies are limited, though, by adjustment for only known or measured confounders, making it possible that some important factors may be unobserved in the studies that would account for the fasting benefit that was observed. No randomized controlled clinical trial of fasting for clinical events or disease outcomes has been performed, though, thus these five studies are the whole body of reliable evidence that intermittent fasting is beneficial to humans. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Weight Research / 20.07.2015

Fumiaki Imamura Ph.D. MRC Epidemiology Unit University of CambridgeMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Fumiaki Imamura Ph.D. MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Imamura: Soft drink consumption is associated with risk of diabetes, but whether or not the association persists after controlling for obesity status is not known. Diet drinks and fruit juice may be good alternatives to soft drinks. However, while obese individuals may consume diet drinks or fruit juice instead of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, evidence was weak to determine whether or not consuming these beverages is associated with risk of diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 20.07.2015

Maya Tabet, MS Graduate Research Assistant Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice Department of Epidemiology St. Louis, MO 63104MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maya Tabet, MS Graduate Research Assistant Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice Department of Epidemiology St. Louis, MO 63104 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: The majority of women in the U.S. have an unhealthy weight before they start pregnancy, most of them being overweight or obese. It is well-known that having an unhealthy weight before pregnancy increases the likelihood of having adverse outcomes for the mother and baby. However, this study is the first to examine the likelihood of adverse outcomes in a second pregnancy among women who had an unhealthy weight before a first pregnancy that had no complications. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: Our study involved 121,049 women in Missouri who delivered their first 2 singleton pregnancies between 1989 and 2005. Findings revealed that women who were underweight before a first uncomplicated pregnancy had a 20% increased likelihood of having a shorter gestation and a 40% increased likelihood of having a small baby for gestational age in the second pregnancy, as compared to women who had a healthy weight before their first pregnancy. Also, women who were obese before a first uncomplicated pregnancy had a 55% increased likelihood of having a large baby for gestational age, a 156% increased likelihood of having preeclampsia, and an 85% increased likelihood of having a cesarean delivery. Babies born to these women also had a 37% increased likelihood of dying in the first 28 days of their life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Duke, Weight Research / 10.07.2015

S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Duke Cancer Institute Duke Clinical Research InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Duke Cancer Institute Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Zafar: Multiple studies have suggested that obesity and colorectal cancer are related. For instance, obesity has been linked with an increased incidence of colon cancer. Obesity has also been associated with a greater risk of colon cancer recurrence. To date, no study has looked at the role of obesity in outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. In our study of over 6000 patients receiving treatment for metastatic olcolorectal cancer, we found that patients with the lowest body mass index (BMI) were at greatest risk for worse survival. This does not mean that obesity is good. More likely, it means that those who are very underweight are least able to tolerate the best treatment, or being very underweight is a biologic marker of poor prognosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Weight Research / 08.07.2015

Subhadra Gunawardana DVM, Ph.D Research Associate Professor Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN 37232MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Subhadra Gunawardana DVM, Ph.D Research Associate Professor Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN 37232 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years the general consensus has been that insulin replacement is essential for treating type 1 diabetes. Recent studies increasingly show that extra-pancreatic hormones, particularly those arising from adipose tissue, can compensate for insulin, or entirely replace the function of insulin under appropriate circumstances. Our work on mouse models show that type 1 diabetes can be effectively reversed without insulin, through subcutaneous transplantation of embryonic brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT transplantation leads to replenishment of recipients' white adipose tissue; dramatic decrease of inflammation; secretion of a number of beneficial adipokines; and fast and long-lasting euglycemia. Insulin-independent glucose homeostasis is established physiologically, through a combination of endogenously generated hormones arising from the transplant and/or newly-replenished white adipose tissue. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: If translated to human patients, this approach could provide a cure for type 1 diabetes that does not require regular exogenous administration of insulin or any other compound, and would thus avoid the many inherent difficulties with such therapies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Diabetes, NEJM, Weight Research / 03.07.2015

Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer MD Division of Endocrinology and Obesity Research Center Columbia University, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer MD Division of Endocrinology and Obesity Research Center Columbia University, New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pi-Sunye: In a large randomized trial, the drug Liraglutide was compared to placebo in overweight and obese non-diabetic volunteers. Over 52 weeks, in combination with diet and increased physical activity, Liraglutide lowered body weight by 8.4 kg as compared to 2.8 kg in placebo. 63% vs 27% lost at least 5% of baseline weight, 33% vs 10% lost more than 10% of baseline weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 02.07.2015

Anita P. Courcoulas M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S Professor of Surgery Director, Minimally Invasive Bariatric & General Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anita P. Courcoulas M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S Professor of Surgery Director, Minimally Invasive Bariatric & General Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Courcoulas: This study is a randomized clinical trial that was originally funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) as a high priority comparative effectiveness topic; the goal of which was to better understand the role of surgical versus non-surgical treatments for Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in people with lower Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 40 kg/m2. This report highlights longer-term outcomes at 3 years following random assignment to either an intensive lifestyle weight loss intervention for 1 year followed by a low-level lifestyle intervention for 2 years or surgical treatments (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass [RYGB] or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding [LAGB]) followed by low-level lifestyle intervention in years 2 and 3. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Weight Research / 30.06.2015

Dr. Karine Clément M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Nutrition Department Hotel-Dieu hospital ParisMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Karine Clément MD, PhD Director ICAN - Institute of Cardiometabolism And Nutrition Hôpital La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris www.ican.paris [email protected] Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Clément: Obesity, associated with insulin resistance, is a chronic inflammatory disease revealed by a moderate but long-term increase in the levels of inflammatory molecules in the blood. Our groups and others have shown that several organs such as adipose tissues, liver, pancreas and muscles are also sites of inflammation with accumulation of immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes. This low-grade inflammatory state perturbs the tissue biology and contributes to the development and/or maintenance of insulin resistance and diabetes. In addition our teams and others showed that the intestinal functions are altered in obesity such as sugar and lipid absorption of and enteroendocrine nutrient signaling to the whole body. Our teams showed modifications of immunity in the obese intestine, and particularly in the jejunum part where most of sugar and lipid absorption takes place. Obesity increases the absorptive surface of the intestine and the colonization of the epithelium by CD8αβ T lymphocytes not affecting tissue integrity, thus differing from IBD inflammation. The cytokines secreted by the CD8 T cells of obese, but not lean subjects, are able to inhibit insulin action in enterocytes. In these patients, the increase of intestinal CD8 T cell density correlates with sugar absorption capacity and with the level of obesity and associated complications such as liver disease (NASH – Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis) and dyslipidemia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues, Weight Research / 24.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ruopeng An, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health College of Applied Health Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 61820 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic and environmental disadvantage. One fundamental goal in the Healthy People 2020 is to “achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups”. Obesity is a leading risk factor for many adverse health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Sweeping across the nation during the past 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity increased from 15% in 1980 to 35% in 2012 among U.S. adults. The obesity epidemic is marked by salient demographic and socioeconomic disparities pertaining to gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and geographic location. In this study, we examined the annual trends in educational disparity in obesity among U.S. adults 18 years and older from 1984 to 2013 using data from a nationally-representative health survey. We found that the obesity prevalence among people with primary school or lower education increased from 17.46% or 3.41 times the prevalence among college graduates (5.12%) in 1984 to 36.16% or 1.73 times the prevalence among college graduates (20.94%) in 2013. In any given year, the obesity prevalence increased monotonically with lower education level. The obesity prevalence across education subgroups without a college degree gradually converged since early 2000s, whereas that between those subgroups and college graduates diverged since late 1980s. Absolute educational disparity in obesity widened by 60.84% to 61.14% during 1984-2013 based on the Absolute Concentration Index and the Slope Index of Inequality, respectively; meanwhile, relative educational disparity narrowed by 52.06% to 52.15% based on the Relative Index of Inequality and the Relative Concentration Index, respectively. The trends in educational disparity in obesity differed substantially by gender, race/ethnicity, age group, and obesity severity. (more…)