The missing link between belly fat and heart disease?

By now, everyone knows that overweight people have a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and other problems that arise from clogged, hardened arteries. And people who carry their extra weight around their waist – giving them a “beer belly” or an “apple” shape — have the highest risk of all.But despite the impact on human health, the reasons behind this connection between heart disease and belly fat – also known as visceral fat — have eluded scientists. Now, a new study in mice gives the first direct evidence of why this link might exist – and a tantalizing look at how it might be broken.
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Infertility Treatment For Women Suggested By Mouse Study

A discovery in mice of immune cells that promote the formation of new blood vessels could lead to new treatments for endometriosis, a painful condition associated with infertility that affects up to 15 percent of women of reproductive age. The new research in vascular biology may point the way to treating endometriosis nonsurgically — by inhibiting angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) so that lesions remain small and harmless.
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Deficiency of immune system ‘peacekeeper’ pinpointed in mice as cause of ulcerative colitis

n a series of mouse experiments, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have pinpointed a specific immune deficiency as the likely fundamental cause of ulcerative colitis, a chronic, sometimes severe inflammatory disease of the colon or large intestine that afflicts half a million Americans. Remarkably, the researchers also found that once the disease was established in mice, it could be passed from mother to offspring and even between adult animals, with potential implications for public health and prevention.

The researchers have linked ulcerative colitis in mice to a deficiency of a molecular “peacekeeper” in the immune system, allowing harmful bacteria in the large intestine to breach the bowel’s protective lining and trigger damaging inflammation.

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New Drug May Help Treat Crohn’s Disease

Two new studies show that a new drug called Cimzia may ease symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Cimzia hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet. Patients would give themselves injections of the drug, which targets an inflammatory chemical called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha.

The two new studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, highlight Cimzia’s clinical trials in Crohn’s disease patients.

Read rest of this article at WebMD site

 

Research suggests fitness reduces inflammation

Although a number of studies have suggested that regular exercise reduces inflammation – a condition that is predictive of cardiovascular and other diseases, such as diabetes – it is still not clear whether there is a definitive link. And if such a link exists, the nature of the relationship is by no means fully understood.

A recent study by kinesiology and community health researchers at the University of Illinois provides new evidence that may help explain some of the underlying biological mechanisms that take place as the result of regular exercise.

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Serious diseases genes revealed

A major advance in understanding the genetics behind several of the world’s most common diseases has been reported.The landmark Wellcome Trust study analysed DNA from the blood of 17,000 people to find genetic differences. They found new genetic variants for depression, Crohn’s disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 and 2 diabetes.

The remarkable findings, published in Nature, have been hailed as a new chapter in medical science.

Read rest of the article at BBC Newssite

Blood inflammation plays role in Alzheimer’s disease

eople whose blood shows signs of inflammation are more likely to later develop Alzheimer’s disease than people with no signs of inflammation, according to a study published in the May 29, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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Obesity May Be Associated With A Relative Of Anti-aging Gene, Klotho

A relative of the anti-aging gene Klotho helps activate a hormone that can lower blood glucose levels in fat cells of mice, making it a novel target for developing drugs to treat human obesity and diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Dr. Makoto Kuro-o, associate professor of pathology, has reported that a relative of the anti-aging gene Klotho helps activate a hormone that can lower blood glucose levels in fat cells of mice. This discovery of a particular type of Klotho protein could eventually make it a novel target for developing drugs to treat human obesity and diabetes.
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Link found between immune system and high plasma lipid levels

Researchers at the University of Chicago have found an unsuspected link between the immune system and high plasma lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood) in mice. The finding could lead to new ways to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering elevated lipid levels.
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Inflammation is culprit in many ailments

Chronic inflammation spurred by an immune system run amok appears to play a role in medical evils from arthritis to Alzheimer’s, diabetes to heart disease. There’s no grand proof of this “theory of everything.” But doctors say it’s compelling enough that we should act as if it were true — which means eating an “anti-inflammatory diet,” getting lots of physical activity, and losing the dangerous, internal belly fat that pumps out the chemicals that drive inflammation.

This is a year old article but well written to summarize the potency of inflammation as source of age-related damage.

Plant-derived omega-3s may aid in bone health

Plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may have a protective effect on bone health, according to a team of Penn State researchers who carried out the first controlled diet study of these fatty acids contained in such foods as flaxseed and walnuts.

Normally, most of the omega-3 fatty acids in the diet are plant-derived and come mainly from soybean and canola oil. Other sources are flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil. Smaller amounts also come from marine sources, mainly fish, but also algae. Omega-3s are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect and may play an important part in heart and bone health.
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Molecular link between inflammation and cancer discovered

A team led by biochemists at the University of California, San Diego has found what could be a long-elusive mechanism through which inflammation can promote cancer. The findings may provide a new approach for developing cancer therapies.

The study, published in the January 26 issue of the journal Cell, shows that what scientists thought were two distinct processes in cells–the cells’ normal development and the cells’ response to dangers such as invading organisms–are actually linked. The researchers say that the linkage of these two processes may explain why cancer, which is normal growth and development gone awry, can result from chronic inflammation, which is an out-of-control response to danger.
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Study uncovers a lethal secret of 1918 influenza virus

In a study of non-human primates infected with the influenza virus that killed 50 million people in 1918, an international team of scientists has found a critical clue to how the virus killed so quickly and efficiently. Writing this week (Jan. 18, 2007) in the journal Nature, a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka reveals how the 1918 virus – modern history’s most savage influenza strain – unleashes an immune response that destroys the lungs in a matter of days, leading to death.

The finding is important because it provides insight into how the virus that swept the world in the closing days of World War I was so efficiently deadly, claiming many of its victims people in the prime of life. The work suggests that it may be possible in future outbreaks of highly pathogenic flu to stem the tide of death through early intervention.
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Link identified between age, cardiovascular disease

Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have discovered a fundamental mechanism that causes aging blood vessels to lose their elasticity – a literal “hardening of the arteries” that is often a prelude to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

An understanding of this mechanism, scientists say, provides an important new target for both drugs and dietary changes that might help prevent or treat atherosclerosis and heart disease. This is a leading cause of death around the world that, in some form, affects about 80 percent of older Americans.
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Scientists find gene target that may protect against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

The discovery by a six-member Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Genetics Consortium of a genetic risk factor for IBD has been reported in Science Express, the online publication of the journal Science. According to one of the Canadian principal investigators, director of the Laboratory in Genetics and Genomic Medicine of Inflammation at the Montreal Heart Institute, Dr. John D. Rioux, “This discovery may lead to a paradigm shift in our thinking from ‘genetics of diseases to genetics of health’, particularly as concerns Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.”
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Study shows altering fatty acid levels in diet may reduce prostate cancer growth rate

UCLA researchers found that altering the fatty acid ratio found in the typical Western diet to include more omega-3 fatty acids and decrease the amount of omega-6 fatty acids may reduce prostate cancer tumor growth rates and PSA levels.

Published in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, this initial animal-model study is one of the first to show the impact of diet on lowering an inflammatory response known to promote prostate cancer tumor progression and could lead to new treatment approaches.
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DNA damage study probes inflammation, disease link

New research at MIT may help scientists better understand the chemical associations between chronic inflammation and diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. The work could lead to drugs that break the link between the two.

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Calorie Restriction Appears Better Than Exercise At Slowing Primary Aging

The researchers also found that calorie restriction (CR) decreases the circulating concentration of a powerful inflammatory molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF). They say the combination of lower T3 levels and reduced inflammation may slow the aging process by reducing the body's metabolic rate as well as oxidative damage to cells and tissues.

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Research links cancer and inflammatory disease

The biological processes underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer are fundamentally linked, and should be linked in how they are treated with drugs, a series of MIT studies indicates. Key to the work: The researchers applied an engineering approach to cell biology, using mathematical and numerical tools normally associated with the former discipline.

In a series of three papers, the latest of which appeared in the March 24 issue of Cell,  members of MIT's Center for Cancer Research, looked at how cells make life-or-death decisions. Understanding what tips a cell toward survival or death is key to treating diseases and fighting cancer through radiation, drug therapy and chemotherapy. Continue reading “Research links cancer and inflammatory disease”

Research provides clues to obesity’s cause and hints of new approach for curbing appetite

Hot fudge sundaes and french fries aside, new research suggests obesity is due at least in part to an attraction between leptin, the hormone that signals the brain when to stop eating, and a protein more recently associated with heart disease. Reporting in Nature Medicine, University of Pittsburgh researchers provide evidence that C-reactive protein (CRP) not only binds to leptin but its hold impairs leptin’s role in controlling appetite. The results may help explain why obese people have so much trouble losing weight as well as point to a different target for the pharmaceutical treatment of obesity.

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Caloric restriction appears to prevent aging in the heart

Eating a very low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet is good for your heart. Studying heart function in members of an organization called the Caloric Restriction Society, investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that their hearts functioned like the hearts of much younger people.

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