Study Finds Diet Not Connected to GI Problems in Children With Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. Ferguson

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD
University of Missouri School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain, but the cause of these GI issues is not currently known. Previous research from our laboratory showed a significant positive relationship between cortisol levels and GI problems, especially for constipation. However, it is possible that other factors such as diet may affect GI functioning, especially since many children have altered diets. This study examined 32 different nutrients in the children’s diets, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire that assessed the participant’s diet over the past month, and how each nutrient was related to upper and lower GI tract symptom scores over the past month created from the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Rome III. The results showed no significant relationships between any of the nutrients and GI symptoms, suggesting that diet was not associated with GI symptoms in this sample.

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Which Diet Is Best For You? It Depends On Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD Post-doctoral Associate Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology Cornell University thaca, NY

Dr. Kaixong Ye

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate
Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology
Cornell University
thaca, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are critical for human brain development, cognitive function, immune response, and cardiovascular health. Physiologically active forms of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, such as AA, EPA, and DHA, are readily available in meat and seafood, but are absent in most plant-based foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables). Instead, plant-based foods contain two precursor fatty acids, LA and ALA, which could be metabolized in our body and converted into physiologically active forms. Fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes encode key enzymes for this biosynthesis.

We hypothesized that genetic variations in FADS genes that enhance the biosynthesis efficiency were adaptive to plant-based diets in traditional farming populations and thus became more frequent over time. Our study compiled a huge data set of genetic information (DNA) from both present-day and ancient individuals. For the first time, we examined the action of natural selection on humans for the past 30,000 years in Europe.

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Elegant Descriptions of Healthy Foods Encourages Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley P. Turnwald

Bradley Turnwald

Bradley P. Turnwald MS
Stanford University, Department of Psychology
Stanford, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study tested an intervention to encourage people to consume healthier foods. Encouraging healthy eating is difficult because many people think that healthy foods do not taste good, and most people prioritize taste over health when choosing what to eat. In fact, lab studies suggest that people rate foods as less tasty, less enjoyable, and less filling when they are labeled as healthy compared to when the same foods are not labeled as healthy. A recent study from the Stanford Mind & Body Lab published last month in Health Psychology showed that healthy foods are even described with less tasty, exciting, and indulgent descriptions compared to standard items on the menus of top-selling chain restaurants in America. This led us to ask the question, what if healthy foods were described with the tasty and indulgent descriptions that are typically reserved for the more classic, unhealthy foods?

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Calorie Restriction Extends Life Through Protein Regulation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John C. Price, Ph.D Asst. Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry Brigham Young University Provo, Utah

Dr. John Price

John C. Price, Ph.D
Asst. Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Since 1930 it has been known that the rate of biological aging could be modified by the diet.  In mice for example if you let them eat as much as they want they will live almost 3 years.  Providing essentially the same diet but controlling the number of total calories, there is an almost linear increase in lifespan as you restrict calories.  The studies in mice and rats have been repeated hundreds of times since that time.  There have been a lot of somewhat conflictive observations, like increased formation of new mitochondria, and increased autophagy which targets organelles for degradation, during stable reduced calorie intake. This expectation, that a restricted diet with fewer calories available to the animal could support increased protein synthesis and degradation and result in increased lifespan, is what got us interested in studying Calorie Restriction.  So we measured the relative synthesis rates for several hundred proteins in 18 month old calorie restricted mice which were experiencing the benefits of improved health and lifespan.  We found overwhelmingly that the calorie restricted mice had reduced synthesis rates down to as low as 25% of the age matched control group.  This observation has now been independently confirmed by multiple groups.

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Government Endorsed DASH Diet Voted Best Overall

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Janet M. de Jesus, M.S., R.D. Program Officer, Implementation Science Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Janet de Jesus

Janet M. de Jesus, M.S., R.D.
Program Officer, Implementation Science
Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the DASH diet? What are the main components?

Response: The DASH eating plan was created for a clinical trial funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The goal of the original DASH trial was to test the eating plan compared to a typical American diet (at the time in the 1990s) on the effect of blood pressure.

The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fat meats. The eating plan is a good source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The DASH eating plan was shown to reduce blood pressure and improve lipid profiles.

A second DASH trial, “DASH-sodium,” showed that adding sodium reduction to the DASH eating plan reduced blood pressure even more.

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Low Carb Meals Reduce Insulin Resistance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with>
Katarina Borer, Ph.D. Professor
Po-Ju Lin,PhD
School of Kinesiology
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was part of the doctoral dissertation of Po-Ju Lin, who is now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Rochester. With this study, we wanted to answer three questions:

(1) Is daily carbohydrate load responsible for evening glucose intolerance and post-meal insulin resistance. (Evening glucose intolerance represents well-documented higher glucose and insulin responses in the evening than in the morning when the same quantity of glucose is eaten or infused intravenously) To answer this question we offered two daily meals containing about 800 Kcal and either 30% or 60% of carbohydrates.

(2) Will exercise before the meals improve glucose tolerance (glucose clearance from the blood and insulin response) after eating? (Exercise is a well-known means of increasing glucose uptake by the muscle and of increasing muscle sensitivity to insulin action for a number of hours after exercise). To answer this question we had the subjects exercise for two hours walking on a treadmill at 45% of their maximal aerobic effort one hour before each meal.

(3) Is the upper-intestinal hormone GIP involved in any effects associated with variation in dietary carbohydrate? (GIP or glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, stimulates insulin secretion in advance of absorbed glucose).

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More People Without Celiac Disease Eating Gluten Free Diet

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brandon Hyunseok Kim, M.D., MPH Internal Medicine Resident Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Brandon Hyunseok Kim

Brandon Hyunseok Kim, M.D., MPH
Internal Medicine Resident
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background of this study was to investigate the time trends in the prevalence of celiac disease and gluten-free diet in the United States using most recent 6-year National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey. Previous studies using narrow populations or old study period mainly before mid 2000s suggested increasing prevalence of celiac disease. At the same time, there is a current popular trend of people following gluten-free diets beyond what would be expected if it were solely due to the increasing prevalence of celiac disease.

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High Fat Diet Linked To Daytime Sleepiness and Increased Sleep Apnea

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yingting Cao PhD Candidate
Population Research and Outcome Studies
School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As sleep complains have reached a public concern, increasing number studies have investigated it. Most studies focused on the adverse effect of short sleep or poor sleep quality on health but fewer looked it the other way around. Laboratory studies have suggested the potential role of diet in regulating sleep, however, it has not been confirmed in population studies. So, we examined whether dietary factors are associated with sleep in a large cohort of middle-aged and older men in Adelaide, focusing on their sleep, as well as general health including chronic conditions. In this particular paper, we focused on macronutrient intake (we focused on nutrients and food levels in other papers) and sleep.

The main finding was that comparing with the lowest 25% fat intake (mean 58g/d), people in the highest 25% of fat intake reported more daytime sleepiness and had increased number of sleep apnea during the night.

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Weight Loss and Exercise Improve Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction

Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D. Professor, Cardiology Sticht Center on Aging Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine Translational Science Institute Wake-Forest Baptist Health Winston-Salem, NC

Dr. Dalane Kitzman

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D.

Professor, Cardiology
Sticht Center on Aging
Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Translational Science Institute
Wake-Forest Baptist Health
Winston-Salem, NC

Medical Research: What is the background of the research?

Dr. Kitzman: Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFPEF) is a relatively recently recognized disorder.  It used to be thought that it was rare.  However, we now realize that HFPEF is the dominant form of heart failure in America.  It is also the fastest growing cardiovascular disorder.  Interestingly, this disorder occurs almost exclusively among older persons, particularly women.  The need is great because outcomes in persons with HFPEF (death, rehospitalization, health care costs) are worsening.  This stands in contrast to most other cardiovascular disorders which are on the decline and / or are experiencing greatly improved outcomes.  Remarkably, all of the large studies that have used medications in HFPEF that seemed they should be ‘sure bets’ showed no benefit for their primary outcomes.  Thus, this is also the only major cardiovascular disorder where there is no proven medication treatment.  That means physicians take ‘educated guesses’ in choosing treatment for this large group of patients.

The main symptom in patients with chronic HFPEF is shortness of breath and and fatigue with exertion.  We showed in 2002 in JAMA that when we objectively measured this symptom with expired gas analysis (Peak VO2), this was as severely decreased in HFPEF as in patients with HFREF (severely reduced EF), the classic, well accepted form of heart failure.  That and other studies helped lead to acceptance of HFPEF as a true Heart Failure disorder.

We first showed 5 years ago that 4 months of exercise training improves peak VO2 and quality of life in patients with HFPEF.  In fact, exercise remains the only proven means to improve these patients’ chronic symptoms.

The goal of our study was to determine if weight loss diet also improved peak VO2 and quality of life in HFPEF patients, alone and in combination with exercise training.  This was based on the under-recognized fact that over 80% of Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction patients are overweight or obese.  It was already known that weight loss diet in other groups of older persons improves peak VO2 and quality of life.  And small studies of weight loss surgery in the other form of HF (HFREF) suggested that weight loss can improves symptoms, peak VO2, and quality of life.  However, there had never been a study of weight loss, by diet or other means, in HFPEF.  In fact, it had been thought, based on observational data, that weight loss diet might be contraindicated in HFPEF.

So we recruited 100 overweight / obese patients age 60 years and older with this disorder from our community; 80% were women.  The exercise was standard exercise training that we’d previously shown was effective.  The meals for the weight loss diet were prepared in our metabolic kitchen by a regisered dietition.  Patients made out menus selecting preferred foods.  Well balanced, healthy, nutritious, but very palatable.  The portions were controlled so that there was a 350 caloric deficit per day deficit, on average.  Pateints made their own breakfast with guidance, unlimited of certain fruits and vegetables, and occasional “free days”, such as for holidays.  Patients loved the meals and wanted to continue after the 5 month study.

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Researchers Call For OSHA to End “Forced Starvation” of Models

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?

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