Monthly Archives: October 2008

Brain Inflammation Pathway Linked to Murine Obesity

Medical News: Brain Inflammation Pathway Linked to Murine Obesity – in Neurology, General Neurology from MedPage Today:

By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent,
MedPage Today

Published: October 02, 2008

Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

MADISON, Wis., Oct. 2 — Blocking an inflammatory pathway in the hypothalamus can prevent obesity, at least in mice, researchers here said.

The pathway involves a mediator of metabolic inflammation — dubbed IKKß/NF-kB — that is normally inactive in the hypothalamus, even though it is enriched in hypothalamic neurons, according to Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, and colleagues.

A series of animal and in vitro experiments showed that IKKß/NF-kB can be activated by either an acute or chronic oversupply of nutrients, Dr. Cai and colleagues reported in the Oct. 3 issue of Cell.

The ‘discoveries offer potential for treating these serious diseases’ caused by overnutrition, such as type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.” More on this…

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Central Obesity & Dementia; Diet, Vitamin D, Calcium, & Colon Cancer

Central Obesity & Dementia; Diet, Vitamin D, Calcium, & Colon Cancer | MND: Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory:

Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Central Obesity & Dementia; Diet, Vitamin D, Calcium, & Colon Cancer

2008-10-05 at 5:09 pm ·

The information in this column is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or recommendations by the author. Please consult with your physician before making any lifestyle or medication changes, or if you have any other concerns regarding your health.


We are, quite plainly, the heaviest society in the recorded history of mankind. More than 60% of adult Americans are overweight, and one-fourth of the U.S. population is frankly obese.

There is ample clinical evidence showing that obesity is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and premature death. Some cancers also appear to be more common among obese patents, including cancers of the breast, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, uterus and kidney.

Although generalized obesity is a risk factor for all of the life-threatening diseases that I have described, the accumulation of excess body fat within and around the abdomen (central obesity) appears to be linked with an especially high risk of obesity-associated illnesses. Now, a new research study, just published in the journal Neurology, suggests that dementia may also be more common among patients with central obesity. ” More on this…

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Drink Lots of Cold Water

First of all, if you don’t, you should develop the habit of always drinking water.

If you drink you water chilled you will burn 27 calories more every day.

That may not sound like many calories, but look at the math:

1 lb = 3500 calories

3500 calories / 27 calories = 130 days

This simple tip has the potential of helping you loose (or not gain) 1 pound every 130 days.

Food Restriction Increases Dopamine Receptor Levels in Obese Rats

Food Restriction Increases Dopamine Receptor Levels in Obese Rats:

“Food Restriction Increases Dopamine Receptor Levels in Obese Rats Evidence for interplay of brain’s ‘reward’ chemical with availability of food in obesity October 25, 2007 Photo of Thanos Peter Thanos

UPTON, NY – A brain-imaging study of genetically obese rats conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory provides more evidence that dopamine – a brain chemical associated with reward, pleasure, movement, and motivation – plays a role in obesity. The scientists found that genetically obese rats had lower levels of dopamine D2 receptors than lean rats. They also demonstrated that restricting food intake can increase the number of D2 receptors, partially attenuating a normal decline associated with aging.

‘This research corroborates brain-imaging studies conducted at Brookhaven that found decreased levels of dopamine D2 receptors in obese people compared with normal-weight people,’ said Brookhaven neuroscientist Panayotis (Peter) Thanos, lead author of the current study, which will be published online in the journal Synapse on Thursday, October 25, 2007.

It’s not clear whether reduced receptor levels are a cause or consequence of obesity: Overeating may chronically reduce receptor levels, which, over the long term, could eventually contribute to obesity. But having genetically low receptor levels may also lead to obesity by predisposing the individual to overeating in an attempt to stimulate a ‘blunted’ reward system. Either way, revving up receptor levels by restricting food intake could enhance the impact of this common strategy for combating obesity.

‘Consuming fewer calories is obviously important for people trying to lose weight, plus improving the brain’s ability to respond to rewards other than food may help prevent overeating,‘ Thanos said. Because food intake can have such a dramatic effect on dopamine receptor levels, ‘this study also provides further evidence for the interplay of genetic factors with the environment in the development of obesity in our society,’ he said.

The finding that food restriction can attenuate the effects of aging on the brain’s ability to respond to dopamine may also help explain why food restriction slows down other changes associated with aging, such as declines in locomotor activity and sensitivity to reward. “

(Via Food Restriction Increases Dopamine Receptor Levels in Obese Rats.)

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Obesity, Abnormal ‘Reward Circuitry’ In Brain Linked: Gene Tied To Dopamine Signaling Also Implicated In Overeating

Obesity, Abnormal ‘Reward Circuitry’ In Brain Linked: Gene Tied To Dopamine Signaling Also Implicated In Overeating:

“Obesity, Abnormal ‘Reward Circuitry’ In Brain Linked: Gene Tied To Dopamine Signaling Also Implicated In Overeating ScienceDaily (Oct. 17, 2008) — Using brain imaging and chocolate milkshakes, scientists have found that women with weakened ‘reward circuitry’ in their brains are at increased risk of weight gain over time and potential obesity. The risk increases even more for women who also have a gene associated with compromised dopamine signaling in the brain.”

(Via Obesity, Abnormal ‘Reward Circuitry’ In Brain Linked: Gene Tied To Dopamine Signaling Also Implicated In Overeating.)

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Anxiety and Depression 101

Summary: Anxiety and depression are familiar conditions to us, but are also among the most serious illnesses in the world.

There are times when we feel anxious and moody. So what? We all go through the same things from time to time, donít we? Anxiety and depression are normal part of life. Who has not studied for an exam without having test anxiety, and then scored much higher for it? Anxiety can keep us alert. Depression, on the other hand, can slow us down, giving us time to reflect and recollect ourselves. In other words, anxiety and depression express moods that are familiar to everybody.

But, when anxiety and depression seem to come from nowhere, last for weeks without relief, and get in the way of everyday activities, then we are not talking ordinary moods anymore; they are now illnesses. Anxiety and depressions are one of the most common mental illnesses in the world today.

People with anxiety disorder may have several physical symptoms, like trembling, sweating, muscle aches, nausea, fatigue, palpitation, dry mouth, cold and clammy hands. Emotionally, they are apprehensive, irritable; they have the feeling of impending doom, and they are self-conscious- feeling like being watched and criticized, etc. Obviously, people with anxiety disorder are often left immobilized. Anxiety keeps them house-bound, away from people, not able to do normal and simple for fear of this or that. People experiencing anxiety symptoms should know that it is a common disorder and is very curable.
The anxiety symptoms that you may experience include:
o Palpitations
o Increased sweating
o Shaking
o Shortness of breath
o Chest pain
o Nausea or stomach discomfort
o Feeling of light-headedness
o A feeling of unreality
o Feeling of being detached from oneself
o Fear of losing control or going crazy
o Fear of dying
o Feeling of impending doom

Depression, on the other hand, is a serious medical condition that affects the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, oneís self concept, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as passing blue mood. It is not an indication of personal weakness or a state that can be willed or wished away. A person with depressive disorder usually canít pull themselves together and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks to years. The treatment involves medications and/or temporary psychotherapy, which can be more helpful with depression sufferer. The symptoms of depressions may include:
o Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
o Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
o Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
o Guilty feelings, worthlessness, helplessness
o Decreased energy, fatigue
o Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
o Appetite and/or weight changes
o Trouble sleeping or oversleeping, early morning awakening
o Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
o Restlessness and irritability
o Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that does not respond to routine treatment.

Anxiety and depression are two different conditions, but they are the same in the sense of the intensity of how serious these conditions can be. They are among the most common and most treatable mental illnesses in the world.

Start Your Exercise Program with Stretching

If you are trying to lose weight, stretching should be part of the process. There is nothing like getting started with weight loss exercises and feeling that dull ache running through your body. If you are even slightly overweight, exercising is hard work and it is quite taxing on your body as well as your mind. One way that you can improve the way that exercise affects your body is to stretch before and after each of the workouts that you do. While stretching itself won’t allow you to actually lose weight, it prepares your body for all that is to come later. That’s what you need to take into consideration.

Stretching Before

Before you get started with your workout, take a few minutes to stretch. Work on stretching each of your muscles groups and rotating all of your joints from the head down. Relax as you do this and allow for your body to really feel the stretching happening. When this happens, you will fully wake up your body so that it can experience a full benefit of the workout that is to come. In addition, you’ll be able to provide your body with the best protection from injury later on. Once you have safely, slowly and actively stretched each muscle in your body, you can begin your workout.

After Your Workout

After you have completed your workout, it is time to begin stretching again. Why should you stretch now? The stretching that you do before you workout allows your body to be prepared and to avoid injury. The stretching that you will be doing now helps your body to begin to repair the muscles and also helps you to be less sore tomorrow. By stretching now, you allow your body to cool down and to come to terms what the routine that you just did, already starting to heal.

Stretching in this manner allows you to feel good before, during and after your workout. Not only do you get more from that workout because you did the stretching, but you also keep yourself from being hurt along the way. This allows for the most overall beneficial workout that you can gain. That means that you won’t be too sore to work out again tomorrow. All of this leads to the fact that you will be able to lose weight faster and more effectively.

Screening and Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism, Prt. 1

Because middle-aged women are in a high-risk category for developing hypothyroidism, it should be considered as a possible and even probable contributing factor for women over 40 who are having difficulties maintaining there weight.

Some doctors recommend a screening for the disorder as a part of the annual physical examination. Some doctors also recommend pregnant women or those of childbearing age to be tested for hypothyroidism. In addition, your doctor may recommend a test for hypothyroidism if you’re suffering from fatigue, have dry skin, constipation, and hoarseness, or if you have had any previous problems with either thyroid or goiter. 

Diagnosis for hypothyroidism is the administration of a blood test that measures the TSH level and sometimes the thyroxine level. The indicators are that a low level of thyroxine and high level or TSH means you have an underactive thyroid because your pituitary produces more TSH in order to stimulate your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. In the past, it was impossible for doctors to detect hypothyroidism until the symptoms were well advanced, but with the sensitive TSH test that is now available, they can diagnose the disorder often before any symptoms are present. 

The TSH test is the best screening test, so your doctor will more than likely check the TSH first, and then if it’s needed, he will follow up with a thyroid hormone test. TSH tests are important as more than just a diagnostic tool because they also help the doctor determine the right dosage of medication for your hypothyroidism initially and over time. TSH tests also help diagnose sub clinical hypothyroidism, which is a condition with no outward signs or symptoms but higher than normal levels of TSH with normal levels of T-3 and T-4.

Modern medicine has come a long way in both the diagnosis of treatment of hypothyroidism, and one only knows how far it will take us. Perhaps the time will come when we will be able to prevent the condition, or to cure the condition, but in the meantime, the best course of action is to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible in order to minimize the symptoms and retain the best quality of life. In addition, you want to prevent the potential for more serious problems later on. It’s important to report any symptoms to your doctor so that he can monitor your condition and adjust your medication accordingly. 


Note: This is a traditional medical perspective.