• Sugar is addictive

    Sugar is addictive

    Sep 22 • HEALTH, Health News • 2594 Views

    Sugar (chemically known as sucrose), is the substance used to sweeten coffee, desserts, cakes and makes food in which it operates that are very pleasant to eat. In fact, we are so accustomed to the taste that there are few who can have a coffee without sweetening and spit and make funny faces. This is due to better accept genetically sweetness.

    Sugar is addictive

    Sugar is addictive

    Sugar is addictive

    Food companies know this very well and that is why there are numerous foods that they contain added sugar: soft drinks, juices, yogurts, dairy desserts, cakes, chocolates, pastries, breakfast cereals and even tomato sauce.

    Faced with so many stimuli, the problem comes when in front of a tasty chocolate tray we can not take just one, but are falling one after another almost without realizing it. This massive sugar intake in our brain causes the stimulation of opioid receptones (drugs like heroin or cocaine also stimulates) and a large release ofdopamine , a hormone responsible for providing us the feelings of pleasure and joy (1) . Ie activates the same brain pathways to be activated with the use of addictive drugs . With what is expected to have a sugar addiction potential and that is why, increasingly, the literature suggests that it may lead to eating disorders and obesity by high intake.

    But more deeply know what addiction to sugar , since actual addiction can only speak when we are faced with three diagnostic criteria:

    1. Binge usually emerge after a period of abstinence voluntary or forced deprivation.
    2. Withdrawal effects that become visible when you stop taking a particular substance (sugar in this case).
    3. Anxiety usually increases after a period of abstinence.

    It is because of this that experts point out that only a fraction of the population is really addicted to sugar.However many people may be somewhat “dependent” of this substance.

    Also worth noting that these possible mechanisms of addiction are also other problems related to excessive consumption of sugar like all the energy you can bring (4 kcal per gram) without offering any other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals (which is why Speaking of empty calories), with no feeling of satiety which together with the creation of large “spikes” in blood glucose, followed by a rapid drop that can cause premature hunger (reactive hypoglycemia) encouraging us to consume more and more , starting the cycle is resumed.

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  • Google announces Calico

    Google announces Calico, a new company targeting healthcare and illness

    Sep 22 • HEALTH, Health News, Research • 3352 Views

    ‘[We invest in] things that are a little more long-term and a little more ambitious than people normally would. More like moon shots.’ – Google CEO Larry Page

    First they dominated the desktop. Now they’re after the afterlife.

    Google on Wednesday announced Calico, an ambitious new company that aims to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity today: illness, aging, diseases and ultimately death.

    If it were anyone but Google, the sheer audacity of the goal would be laughable. But coming from the company that redefined the Internet, funds projects to land on and mine the moon, and invented a self-driving car, it’s at least worth listening to.

    “I’m not proposing that we spend all of our money on those kinds of speculative things,” Google CEO Larry Page told Time. “But we should be spending a commensurate amount with what normal types of companies spend on research and development, and spend it on things that are a little more long-term and a little more ambitious than people normally would. More like moon shots.”

    Like Google, Calico will be no ordinary company. The company — the name is short for the “California Life Company” — will be headed up by Arthur D. Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech and the chairman of Apple. Calico’s unveiling was coordinated with a Time magazine cover story on the project, appropriately titled “Google vs. Death.”

    “It’s worth pointing out that there is no other company in Silicon Valley that could plausibly make such an announcement,” wrote Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman. “Smaller outfits don’t have the money; larger ones don’t have the bones. Apple may have set the standard for surprise unveilings but, excepting a major new product every few years, these mostly qualify as short-term.”

    “Last week Apple announced a gold iPhone; what did you do this week, Google? Oh, we founded a company that might one day defeat death itself,” they wrote.

    What the company will actually do is unclear, however, and not even Time could tease out the details. Google is good at analyzing and working with large data sets, the writers noted, and the company might research new technologies.

    Or it might not.

    Regardless, the problems Calico seeks to solve are ones that affect us all, Page said in an statement about the new company.

    “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”

    And if Calico can do that, everyone benefits — whether or not they own an iPhone.

    Google announces Calico, a new company targeting healthcare and illness-Gizmodo

    Google announces Calico, a new company targeting healthcare and illness-1

    A Google doodle transforms the familiar logo into a science lab replete with beakers, vials ... and a steaming coffee pot. (Google)

    A Google doodle transforms the familiar logo into a science lab replete with beakers, vials … and a steaming coffee pot. (Google)

     

    On Gizmodo

    Google just announced its most recent plan in a long list of crazy moonshots. This one isn’t self-driving cars or internet in the sky, instead it’s a company called Calico that’s going to try and put an end to aging and disease.

    There aren’t too many details about exactly how Calico will go about its business, but the plan is to make long-term bets that healthcare companies are generally pretty slow about. Calico will be run by Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, but he’s not giving up his day job.

    Larry Page summed up the project this way in a statement:

    Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art—one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation—to take this new venture forward.

    This project has a lot less to do with Google’s specific technical chops than the vast majority of Google’s other moonshot projects. But Google does have scads of cash, which will be its main contribution. It seems that Calico will operate mostly on its own, and big money for an ambitious, independent project seems like as good a recipe for success as any.

    Naturally it’ll be a long time before we see this pay off in any way. Here’s to hoping we get to see some results in a short decade or two. You know, before it’s too late for us. [Google viaTime]

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  • Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Sep 22 • Featured, Research • 13985 Views

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

    Carbonation Artificially Sweetens Soda and Trick the Brain

     

    According to a new study conducted at University in Naples, Italy, proves that carbonation can sweeten the diet soda by tricking the brain. It is through this process brain feel the sweetness and cannot make distinction between the real sugar sweetness and artificial sweetness.

    As per the team this is quite dangerous. This could lead to increase in sugar levels and later on result in metabolic diseases, including obesity and eating disorders.

    The author of the study Rosario Cuomo, an associate professor of gastroenterology at Federico II University in Naples, Italy, explains the study, “This study proves that the right combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners can leave the sweet taste of diet drinks indistinguishable from normal drinks. Tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss — it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink.”

     

    Did they get your diet soda order right at the drive-thru? It may not be so easy to tell.

    According to a new study, carbonation in soft drinks alters the brain’s perception of sweetness and makes it difficult to distinguish between sugar and artificial sweeteners.

    So the combination of carbonation and sugar may lead to increased sugar and food consumption since the brain perceives less sugar intake, the researchers said.

    This may explain why eating disorders, metabolic diseases and obesity are common among diet soda drinkers, according to the study, which was published in the September issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

    The researchers used functional MRI to monitor changes in brain activity when people drank carbonated beverages that contained sugar or artificial sweeteners.

    “This study proves that the right combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners can leave the sweet taste of diet drinks indistinguishable from normal drinks,” study author Rosario Cuomo, an associate professor of gastroenterology at Federico II University in Naples, Italy, said in a journal news release.

    The confusion could also have an upside, Cuomo said.

    “Tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss — it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink,” she said.

    Further research is needed to clarify the puzzling link between reduced calorie intake with diet drinks and higher rates of obesity and metabolic diseases.

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  • Placebo: Cracking the Code - BrainStrom

    Placebo: Cracking the Code

    Sep 22 • Clinical trail, Health News • 4757 Views

    Placebo: Cracking the Code - BrainStrom

    Placebo: Cracking the Code – BrainStrom

    Placebo: Cracking the Code – that includes members of the the Harvard Placebo Study cluster, “Placebo: Cracking the Code” examines the facility of belief in assuaging pain, solidifying illness, and therefore the healing of injuries.

    Acclaimed documentary regarding the science of the result. that includes the Harvard Placebo Study Group: Anne Harrington, bishop Humphrey, Fabrizio Benedetti, Dan Moerman, Howard Fields.

    Amazing placebo experiment with knee surgery – points to the finding that there is ‘grades’ within the result – massive pills area unit simpler than tiny pills, colored pills simpler than white ones, inert injections simpler than pills, and sham surgery simpler than any of them.

    Placebos play a very important role in analysis as controls to check the effectivity of medical interventions; a pill or procedure will solely be thought-about effective if it works higher than the placebo. however ought to placebos be a part of actualtreatment? may be a doctor UN agency prescribes a sugar pill – though it works to minimize symptoms – technically deceiving the patient?

    The placebo effect is a pervasive, albeit misunderstood, phenomenon in medicine. In the UK, over 60% of doctors surveyed said they had prescribed placebos in regular clinical practice. In a recent Times Magazine article, 96% of US physicians surveyed stated that they believe that placebo treatments have real therapeutic effects.Work on the placebo effect received an intellectual boost when the Harvard Placebo Study Group was founded at the beginning of 2001. This group is part of the Mind-Brain-Behavior Initiative at Harvard University, and its main characteristic is the interdisciplinary approach to the placebo phenomenon. The group is made up of 8 members: Anne Harrington (Historian of Science at Harvard), Howard Fields (Neuroscientist at Univ. of California in San Francisco), Dan Moerman (Anthropologist at Univ. of Michigan), Nick Humphrey (Evolutionary Psychologist at London School of Economics), Dan Wegner (Psychologist at Harvard), Jamie Pennebaker (Psychologist at Univ. of Texas in Austin), Ginger Hoffman (Behavioral Geneticist at Harvard) and Fabrizio Benedetti (Neuroscientist at Univ. of Turin). The main objective of the group is two-fold: to devise new experiments that may shed light on the placebo phenomenon and to write papers in which the placebo effect is approached from different perspectives.

    Read More About Placebo on Wikipedia

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  • Why You Can't Tell Your Brain to Not Think About a Thing

    Why You Can’t Tell Your Brain to Not Think About a Thing

    Sep 22 • Featured, Research • 12666 Views

    Why You Can’t Tell Your Brain to Not Think About a Thing

    Forget complex math problems, logic puzzles, memorization. The hardest thing you can try to do with your brain is to not think about something. It’s virtually impossible. But why? As New Scientist explains, it has to do with what thoughts are actually made out of.

    Your brain is a ceaseless hum of electric static as all your neurons shout back and forth to each other. But when you think—really think—all those crackles and pops coalesce into something more definite and specific. Beyond that, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on, but the thought to not think about “x” necessarily makes that thought physically appear in your brain. Tough luck.

    It’s a little trippy when you get into the nitty gritty of what your brain really is, isn’t it? Best just to try not to think about it. [New Scientist]

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  • How old memories fade away-ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTINE DANILOFF/MIT

    How old memories fade away-Brainstrom

    Sep 22 • Featured, Research • 12316 Views

    You know that scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when they’re scanning through Jim Carrey’s playdoh-faced head, looking for bad memories to erase? A bunch of eggheads from MIT just figured out how to do that for real! Sort of. In all seriousness, though, the discovery is poised to do a lot of good for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The gene in question is known as Tet1, and it controls memory by manipulating the levels of DNA methylation (read: altering access to genes). To test how Tet1 affects memories, the researchers conditioned mice that had been shocked by a particular cage to be fearful. After a while, they’d put the mice back in the same cage—without the shock—and record their reactions. Mice with normal Tet1 levels would eventually forget about the shock, letting new memories replace old ones. Mice with low Tet1 levels, however, had a hard time forgetting.

    How old memories fade away-Brainstrom

    How old memories fade away-Brainstrom

    “What happens during memory extinction is not erasure of the original memory,” says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. “The old trace of memory is telling the mice that this place is dangerous. But the new memory informs the mice that this place is actually safe. There are two choices of memory that are competing with each other.”

    In other words, bringing up Tet1 levels could help a person decide what to remember and what to block out. Turning this research into an actual treatment plan for PTSD patients is probably a few years down the road—after all, the scientists are still testing it out on the mice. But it’s exciting that we’re learning how to forget. Now if we could only figure out how to remember…

    Read Mit Article Below [MIT]’

    How old memories fade away

    Discovery of a gene essential for memory extinction could lead to new PTSD treatments.

    If you got beat up by a bully on your walk home from school every day, you would probably become very afraid of the spot where you usually met him. However, if the bully moved out of town, you would gradually cease to fear that area. Neuroscientists call this phenomenon “memory extinction”: Conditioned responses fade away as older memories are replaced with new experiences. A new study from MIT reveals a gene that is critical to the process of memory extinction. Enhancing the activity of this gene, known as Tet1, might benefit people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by making it easier to replace fearful memories with more positive associations, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. The Tet1 gene appears to control a small group of other genes necessary for memory extinction. “If there is a way to significantly boost the expression of these genes, then extinction learning is going to be much more active,” says Tsai, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and senior author of a paper appearing in the Sept. 18 issue of the journal Neuron. The paper’s lead authors are Andrii Rudenko, a postdoc at the Picower Institute, and Meelad Dawlaty, a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute. New and old memories Tsai’s team worked with researchers in MIT biology professor Rudolf Jaenisch’s lab at the Whitehead to study mice with the Tet1 gene knocked out. Tet1 and other Tet proteins help regulate the modifications of DNA that determine whether a particular gene will be expressed or not. Tet proteins are very abundant in the brain, which made scientists suspect they might be involved in learning and memory. To their surprise, the researchers found that mice without Tet1 were perfectly able to form memories and learn new tasks. However, when the team began to study memory extinction, significant differences emerged. To measure the mice’s ability to extinguish memories, the researchers conditioned the mice to fear a particular cage where they received a mild shock. Once the memory was formed, the researchers then put the mice in the cage but did not deliver the shock. After a while, mice with normal Tet1 levels lost their fear of the cage as new memories replaced the old ones. “What happens during memory extinction is not erasure of the original memory,” Tsai says. “The old trace of memory is telling the mice that this place is dangerous. But the new memory informs the mice that this place is actually safe. There are two choices of memory that are competing with each other.” In normal mice, the new memory wins out. However, mice lacking Tet1 remain fearful. “They don’t relearn properly,” Rudenko says. “They’re kind of getting stuck and cannot extinguish the old memory.” In another set of experiments involving spatial memory, the researchers found that mice lacking the Tet1 gene were able to learn to navigate a water maze, but were unable to extinguish the memory. Control of memory genes  The researchers found that Tet1 exerts its effects on memory by altering the levels of DNA methylation, a modification that controls access to genes. High methylation levels block the promoter regions of genes and prevent them from being turned on, while lower levels allow them to be expressed. Many proteins that methylate DNA have been identified, but Tet1 and other Tet proteins have the reverse effect, removing DNA methylation. The MIT team found that mice lacking Tet1 had much lower levels of hydroxymethylation — an intermediate step in the removal of methylation — in the hippocampus and the cortex, which are both key to learning and memory. These changes in demethylation were most dramatic in a group of about 200 genes, including a small subset of so-called “immediate early genes,” which are critical for memory formation. In mice without Tet1, the immediate early genes were very highly methylated, making it difficult for those genes to be turned on. In the promoter region of an immediate early gene known as Npas4 — which Yingxi Li, the Frederick A. and Carole J. Middleton Career Development Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, recently showed regulates other immediate early genes — the researchers found methylation levels close to 60 percent, compared to 8 percent in normal mice. “It’s a huge increase in methylation, and we think that is most likely to explain why Npas4 is so drastically downregulated in the Tet1 knockout mice,” Tsai says. “By demonstrating some of the ways that regulatory genes are methylated in response to Tet1 knockout and behavioral experience, the authors have taken an important step in identifying potential pharmacological treatment targets for disorders such as PTSD and addiction,” says Matthew Lattal, an associate professor of behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health and Science University, who was not part of the research team. Keeping genes poised The researchers also discovered why the Tet1-deficient mice are still able to learn new things. During fear conditioning, methylation of the Npas4 gene goes down to around 20 percent, which appears to be low enough for the expression of Npas4 to turn on and help create new memories. The researchers suspect the fear stimulus is so strong that it activates other demethylation proteins — possibly Tet2 or Tet3 — that can compensate for the lack of Tet1. During the memory-extinction training, however, the mice do not experience such a strong stimulus, so methylation levels remain high (around 40 percent) and Npas4 does not turn on. The findings suggest that a threshold level of methylation is necessary for gene expression to take place, and that the job of Tet1 is to maintain low methylation, ensuring that the genes necessary for memory formation are poised and ready to turn on at the moment they are needed. The researchers are now looking for ways to increase Tet1 levels artificially and studying whether such a boost could enhance memory extinction. They are also studying the effects of eliminating two or all three of the Tet enzymes. “This will not only help us further delineate epigenetic regulation of memory formation and extinction, but will also unravel other potential functions of Tets and methylation in the brain beyond memory extinction,” Dawlaty says. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Simons Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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  • Study suggests new way to prevent weight gain and obesity

    Study suggests new way to prevent weight gain and obesity

    Sep 22 • Research, Weight Loss • 1533 Views

    Study suggests new way to prevent weight gain and obesity

    The same message to everyone does not work if the goal is to prevent overweight andobesity in the population. It is also important to reach groups normally considered as being at low risk for gaining in weight. This is what Kristina Lindvall shows in her doctoral thesis at Ume- University, Sweden. Participants in the study come from V-sterbotten County in northern Sweden and from New York State in the US.

    It is often difficult for people to maintain their weight following weight loss. Instead people tend to return to the same weight that they were at before the weight loss or gain even more. This is why Kristina Lindvall, a dietitian and doctoral candidate at the Unit for Epidemiology and Global Health, suggests that it is important for society to broaden the focus from treatment of overweight and obesity to prevention of initial weight gain.

    “That is why I chose to focus on primary weight maintenance in my research, i.e, the possibility of preventing weight gain among normal weight and overweight individuals,” says Kristina Lindvall.

    All participants in the study were 30-65 years of age and were recruited on the basis that they had twice participated in V-sterbotten Intervention Programme (VIP), which is carried out in V-sterbotten, Sweden, or in the Upstate Health and Wellness Study, in New York State in the US.

    The thesis shows that of all VIP-participants who were of normal weight or overweight and took part in the VHU study in 1990-2004, only about one third did not gain weight. One surprising result was that younger individuals of normal weight, without type-2diabetes, and without risk factors for cardiovascular disease were those least likely to maintain weight.

    “This means that interventions and programs aiming at prevention of overweight and obesity may need to be broadened to also include these groups that are normally regarded as being at low risk for weight gain,” says Kristina Lindvall.

    Research interviews with VIP participants that managed to maintain their weight after weight loss showed that weight maintenance was seen as balancing act, not only to maintain weight but also to manage other factors in life. Four main strategies for maintaining weight were described: “to rely on heritage,” “to find the joy,” “to find the routine” and “to be in control.” Kristina Lindvall claims that these results indicate that it is important to tailoradvice given not only to individuals wishing to lose weight but also to those wanting to maintain their weight.

    A questionnaire study conducted to identify attitudes and behaviors that were of importance for weight maintenance in different subgroups of age, gender, and body-mass index (BMI) showed that there were major differencesin terms of which attitudes and behaviour that were of importance depending on which subgroup that was examined.

    “This further emphasizes the importance of tailoring interventions based on an individual’s demographic (age, sex and baseline BMI) when aiming at primary weight maintenance in a population,” says Kristina Lindvall.

    Finally, American and Swedish female study participants were compared in terms of ten year weight change. The Swedish women gained an average of 3.5 kg in weight during the years 1999-2009, while the American women gained nearly twice as much. One explanation to this may be that significantly more of the Swedish women stated that they exhibited healthy behaviors. On the other hand, the difference was greater in terms of weight gain among the American women if they chose healthy behaviors over unhealthy ones.

    Source: Umea University

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  • Sharp increase in obesity among mums

    Sharp increase in obesity among mums

    Sep 22 • Featured, FITNESS, HEALTH • 12552 Views

    THE number of grossly overweight pregnant women at WA’s maternity hospital has risen 44 per cent in six years.

    Figures obtained by The Sunday Times show the number of women at King Edward Memorial Hospital with a body mass index of 35 or above make up 19 per cent of patients, up from 13 per cent in 2007.

    A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese, while a BMI of between 35 and 40 is “class two” obesity.

    Australian Medical Association WA vice-president Michael Gannon said obesity of pregnant women was an area of significant strain on the capacity of hospitals to care for people.

    “As a rule, obese women are more likely to have troubles conceiving; they have a slightly increased rate of miscarriage; they are more likely to have pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes,” he said.
    “They are more likely to have pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia, more likely to require blood pressure medication in pregnancy; they are more likely to need caesarean sections.

    “They are more likely to have haemorrhages after delivery and they are more likely to have stillbirths, so they present challenges the whole way.

    “They present challenges in terms of clinical assessment so they need more ultrasound scans; there is an enormous amount of morbidity and it’s an enormous strain on the hospital system.”

    Dr Gannon, who is an obstetrician, said caring for a morbidly obese woman, with a BMI of more than 40, would be especially difficult.

    Sebely Pal, a Curtin University childhood obesity and nutrition expert, said the nutrition a baby received before birth could affect health in later life.

    “Basically if a child is exposed to alcohol, or smoking, or high-density fat food, these environments that the child has been in during the past nine months will have a bearing on his profile, his physical health from birth onwards,” Associate Prof Pal said.

    “The child may be predisposed to high cholesterol, high blood glucose, diabetes, at an earlier age.”

    It was important women who wanted to become pregnant started at a healthy weight and 15kg was the absolute maximum women should gain during pregnancy.

    “They shouldn’t be overweight and obese to start with because you are exposing your child to complications and yourself to complications as well,” she said. “Usually a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet can control these risk factors.

    “Most pregnant women think they can eat for two and that’s a misconception.

    “You only need a few extra 100 calories by the time you are even at the six-month point to sustain the child.” – See more at: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/sharp-increase-in-obesity-among-mums/story-fnhocxo3-1226724448696#sthash.3z0d0FYs.dpuf

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  • Handling obesity and diabetes

    Handling obesity and diabetes

    Sep 22 • HEALTH • 1155 Views

    A medical conference on gastroenterology will look at, amongst other topics, bariatric surgery as an option for both weight loss and controlling metabolic diseases.

    IF you’re obese and want another option to lose weight, consider bariatric surgery. It has been proven to be an effective and sustainable method of shedding excess kilos.

    Based on the United Nations Statistics Division 2012, among Asean countries, Malaysia has the highest percentage of obese people in the population (ie with a body mass index, or BMI of above 30 kg/m²).

    There are 19.5% obese Malaysians, followed by Thailand (9.1%), Brunei (7.9%), Singapore (6.4%), the Philippines (6.1%), Indonesia (4.8%), Myanmar (4.1%), Laos (3.5%), Cambodia (2.2%) and Vietnam (1.5%).

    Our consumption of high-caloric foods, combined with a lack of exercise, are the main culprits for this. But, thanks to medical advances, help is available.

    “Bariatric surgery is basically a procedure to change the gastrointestinal tract to initiate early fullness.

    “Most of the procedures create a restriction in the stomach. Some techniques have rearranged the gastrointestinal tract to reduce absorption of nutrients.

    “In South-East Asia, we have achieved excellent results in terms of weight loss. The percentage of weight loss and remission rate of co-morbidities (the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient) are comparable to the West, while our complication rates are as low as that in the West,” said bariatric surgeon Dr Suthep Udomsawaengsup from Chulalongkorn University’s (Thailand) Faculty of Medicine.

    The most popular bariatric procedure in this region is sleeve gastrectomy (the removal of a portion of the stomach), and gastric bypass (making the stomach smaller, causing food to bypass a large part of the stomach, as well as parts of the small intestine, so that less nutrients and calories are absorbed).

    The other bariatric procedure, gastric banding, is not common any more.

    More women are prone to obesity compared to their male counterparts, and Dr Udomsawaengsup said hormones could be a contributing aspect. However, diet and exercise are still pertinent factors in weight control.

    “For those who are morbidly obese (BMI of more than 37.5 or more than 32.5 with diabetes and/or high blood pressure and/or dyslipidaemia) and/or have obstructive sleep apnoea, bariatric surgery may be necessary,” he said.

    Dr Udomsawaengsup said: “They have to understand the process well. After the operation, their life will be totally changed, but this will lead to better health. They will lose one to two kilogrammes a week. There are some patients who can trim themselves to their ideal body weight, but the majority will be able to lose 60-80% of their excess weight within a year or two.”

    Initially, the procedure specifically targeted patients who had to lose weight, thus the name bariatric surgery. But lately, results have shown that the procedure is also effective for those who are not obese, but suffering from metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

    “The positive effects on the obese with co-morbidities such as diabetes, gave us the idea of treating those with difficulty in controlling diseases through this procedure, so the terminology has been changed to metabolic surgery.

    “The International Diabetes Federation has given approval for the surgery to be considered an option for treating diabetes,” explained Dr Udomsawaengsup

    So essentially, metabolic surgery and bariatric surgery involve similar procedures, differing only in their stated goals.

    However, he pointed out, “Bariatric surgery is a complex surgery. There are many challenges and complications that can occur at any point, but in a centre that regularly performs the procedure, the complication rate is acceptably low.”

    Dr Udomsawaengsup will be presenting a talk on “Metabolic Surgery: The Asian Perspective” at a conference organised by the Malaysian Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery Society (MUGIS) and Seremban’s Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital from Sept 27-29. His presentation will address the rationale of performing the surgery on those with a BMI of less than 35.

    Besides local speakers, there will be 15 international experts from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand, who will give their views on gastrointestinal disease.

    Among other highlights at the three-day conference being held at The Avillion, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, are “New Technologies in Diagnosis of Gastric Cancer” (Dr Akiko Shiotani, Japan), “Prevention of Gastric Cancer by H. pylori Eradication: The Japanese Experience” (Dr Tomoari Kamada, Japan) and “Detecting and Managing Complications of Metabolic Surgery” (Dr Assim Shabbir, Singapore).

    According to consultant upper gastrointestinal surgeon and president of the newly-established MUGIS, Dr Ramesh Gurunathan, the field of bariatric surgery, although in its infancy locally, is a rapidly expanding one.

    “We intend to create interest in this field, which is fairly new in Malaysia.

    “We also like to keep abreast with current treatment of diseases related to the upper gastrointestinal tract by having regular meetings with local and international experts,” he said.

    MUGIS was formed in March to bring together a community of homegrown upper gastrointestinal surgeons and to create awareness of upper gastrointestinal diseases among doctors.

    “The conference – open to medical practitioners only – will encompass gastric and oesophageal cancer and obesity, which is on the rise in Asia. There will also be discussions on recent advances in treatment and how to manage these conditions,” said Dr Ramesh.

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  • Ditch the diet! Why carrying a few extra pounds can actually make you live longer

    Ditch the diet! Why carrying a few extra pounds can actually make you live longer

    Sep 22 • HEALTH, Weight Loss • 1959 Views

    • Study shows that overweight and maintaining it has health benefits
    • No surprise as most at risk of death are obese who continue to pile it on
    • Losing weight may not be the answer to prolonging your life

     

    As middle-age approaches, the health risks of being overweight are well-documented.

    But a new study has found that those who are classed as ‘overweight’ in their 50s yet kept this stable, were in the group most likely to survive the next 16 years.

    It appears that weight retention is key – this group were deemed to be better off than a normal-wight individual who added weight but kept within their range.

    The study, conducted by Ohio State University, did back up the prominent belief that those most at danger are the obese, who continue to pile on the pounds.

    The weight categories were set by using people’s BMI Index – their height-to-weight ratio that can identify body fat.

    Almost 10,000 people were interviewed every two years from 1992 until 2009, with their BMIs recorded, and it concluded that 7.2 per cent of deaths after the age of 51 are due to weight gain among obese people.

    In a release from the Ohio State University, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology Hui Zheng said: ‘You can learn more about older people’s mortality risk by looking at how their weight is changing than you can by just looking at how much they weigh at any one time.’

    Those involved in the study were classified into six different groups, depending on their BMI at the beginning of the study and how it changed over the 16-year period they were surveyed.

    While slightly overweight people (BMI of 25 to 29.9) whose weight was steady had the highest survival rate, those who moved from overweight to obese (BMI 30 to 34.9) were close behind.

    ‘This suggests that among overweight people at age 51, small weight gains do not significantly lower the probability of survival,’ Zheng added.

    Ditch the diet! Why carrying a few extra pounds can actually make you live longer

    Ditch the diet! Why carrying a few extra pounds can actually make you live longer

    Time to change: If the obese carry on piling on the pounds, they are sure for an early death

     

    Third were normal-weight individuals who add gradual mass, followed in fourth by Class I obese people whose weight was on the rise.

    Next to last were those of normal weight who were reducing in size, followed by the most susceptible group who were the most obese, BMI of 35 and over.

    So carrying a few extra pounds as we hit the big 5-0 is not such a worry after all.

    ‘It is probably because the older population is more likely to get illnesses and disease, especially cancer, that cause dangerous weight loss,’ Zheng added, explaining why being slightly overweight might not be so bad.

    ‘In that case, a small amount of extra weight may provide protection against nutritional and energy deficiencies, metabolic stresses, the development of wasting and frailty, and loss of muscle and bone density caused by chronic diseases.’

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  • Seven Day flat belly diet plan

    Seven Day flat belly diet plan

    Sep 22 • 3rd Eye, Featured, FITNESS, HEALTH, Weight Loss • 13555 Views

    Seven Day flat belly diet plan

    Celebrity trainer James Duigan’s Clean & Lean diet plan can help you lose all the unwanted flab. The diet involves cutting out ‘toxic’ foods that encourage the body to store fat – including alcohol, sugar and processed foods. Meals on James’s diet plan are full of fish, lean meat – including turkey and chicken – and fresh, preferably organic vegetables.

    James says, “My diet works on the principle that your body’s natural state is lean and fit, not sluggish and fat. But processed foods and drinks and excess sugar pollute the body, causing fat to cling to the hips, thighs, bum and tummy. However, as soon as you stop doing the wrong thing, your body responds very quickly, and you’ll get lean fast. But you have to believe you can do it. It doesn’t matter how often you have failed in the past. What matters now is focusing on what you want and taking action.”

    Food rules Make these changes to your diet to lose weight and get a flat tummy fast!

    1 Cut the C.R.A.P: Avoid the four main food groups that cause fat to cling to our bodies: caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods.

    2 But allow yourself a weekly cheat meal. Once a week, enjoy an indulgent meal of whatever you fancy, from creamy pasta to a slice of chocolate cake with cream. As ong as you’re eating clean, healthy food the rest of the time, an occasional high-fat treat actually speeds up your metabolism.

    3 Take fish oil supplements: They burn fat and supply essential fatty acids.

    4 Always have breakfast: Eat within one hour of waking up. If you don’t have time for a proper breakfast, just grab a piece of fruit and a few nuts.

    5 Don’t eat after 8pm: Eating a large meal in the evening when your body is slowing down or sleeping is a bad idea for your digestion and weight.

    Five food swaps for flat Abs

    Bad croissants: Full of fat, sugar and no goodness Milk Most non-organic milk is filled with hormones Standard yoghurt Most are full of sugar Margarine Full of chemicals Beer High sugar and calories

    Better wholemeal bread: Fibre is good for digestion Organic milk It’s chemical-free Organic yoghurt It’s free from pesticides Olive oil spread Full of essential fatty acids Organic cider Less alcohol and calories.

    Best spelt bread: No tummy-bloating gluten

    Organic almond milk: Doesn’t contain lactose that can cause bloating Organic full-fat yoghurt Makes you feel full and is less sugary than low-fat options Organic butter Natural and additive free Good red wine Grape skin contains resveratrol, a great antioxidant

    Tummy toning moves

    James Duigan says, “Exercise smarter, not harder. So, if you are trying to lose weight, don’t go mad with exercise – get more out of less.” These moves can help you get a flatter tummy as they reduce levels of stress hormones in the body, which encourage fat around your middle.

    Breathing squat

    – Go slow and low and repeat 10 times

    – Stand with feet shoulder width apart, arms out and parallel to floor

    – Inhale through the nose, then lower your bottom down as far as is still comfortable while exhaling l Pause for a few seconds, then inhale as you come up

    Energy push Great for digestion – breathe slowly and repeat 20 times

    – Take a comfortable stance with feet shoulder width apart, arms in front of you, palms facing down

    – Inhale and pull hands back towards your shoulders

    – Exhale, pushing your arms back out to starting position Leg tuck Great for lower abs – repeat 10 times

    – Lie back, feet on floor, knees bent l Inhale then bring knees into your chest as you exhale

    – Inhale again as you return your feet to the floor

    Your food plan

    Stick to this eating plan for two weeks to start your weight loss. It’s best to begin on a weekend, when you have more time to get everything ready. Plus, you won’t feel so stressed or rushed, which means you’ll be less likely to succumb to a mid-afternoon chocolate bar.

    Day 1 Breakfast: Omelette made with three egg whites and filled with 75g chopped mixed peppers and a handful of spinach

    Mid-morning snack: 100g chicken with ½ red pepper, sliced

    Lunch: One grilled chicken breast, mixed salad leaves, red peppers, green beans and ¼ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g turkey breast with ¼ cucumber, sliced

    Dinner: 100g grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli

    Day 2 Breakfast: Baked chicken breast with a handful of stir-fried kale

    Mid-morning snack: 100g turkey breast and ½ green pepper, sliced

    Lunch: Baked haddock fillet with mixed green salad, with ½ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g turkey breast with 75g steamed broccoli

    Dinner: One salmon steak with chopped dill and steamed green beans

    Day 3 Breakfast: 100g smoked salmon, plus spinach

    Mid-morning snack: 100g chicken breast with ½ yellow pepper, sliced

    Lunch: One grilled chicken breast with garden salad and ½ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g turkey slices with ¼ avocado

    Dinner: One grilled lamb steak (or two cutlets); steamed broccoli and spinach

    Day 4 Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (one whole, two whites), tomatoes, green beans

    Mid-morning snack: 100g turkey slices with ¼ cucumber, sliced

    Lunch: Baked cod fillet with salad, tomato, spinach and ½ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g chicken breast with ½ grilled courgette

    Dinner: 100g chicken breast stir-fry made with ½ tsp oil and green veg

    Day 5 Breakfast: 200g turkey breast with ¼ avocado and ¼ cucumber, sliced

    Mid-morning snack: Two hard-boiled eggs with ½ red pepper, sliced

    Lunch: 150g grilled prawns with a green salad and tomatoes, ½ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g turkey breast with five almonds

    Dinner: 100g chicken breast with steamed broccoli

    Day 6 Breakfast: One grilled haddock fillet with roasted peppers and courgettes

    Mid-morning snack: 100g chicken with one tomato, sliced

    Lunch: 150g turkey with green salad, steamed broccoli and ½ tbsp olive oil

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g chicken with five pecan nuts

    Dinner: 150g-200g steak served with steamed green beans and broccoli

    Day 7 Breakfast: Three-egg-white omelette, grilled tomatoes and steamed spinach

    Mid-morning snack: 100g turkey with five Brazil nuts

    Lunch: 150g chicken breast with steamed asparagus and green salad

    Mid-afternoon snack: 100g turkey with ¼ cucumber, sliced

    Dinner: Grilled, skinless duck breast with steamed oriental greens or broccoli

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  • Five Steps to a flat tummy in Seven days

    Five Steps to a flat tummy in Seven days

    Sep 22 • Featured, HEALTH, Weight Loss • 13008 Views

    You’ve been missing your routine at the gym very often thanks to your busy schedule (or plain laziness) and suddenly you realize that in one week you have to attend a wedding.

    Five Steps to a flat tummy in Seven days

    You want to wear your favorite dress/saree or figure-hugging dress but are worried about your flabby stomach bulging out. Well, you still have a last option. While you cannot reduce fat, you can lose belly fat by decreasing your total body fat percentage. And you don’t have to completely alter your daily habits to get a flat stomach within 7 days!

    To get Flat Tummy

    Step one:

    If you want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, you have to perform circuit training, three days per week. How can you achieve this? Indulge in full body exercises like lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups, for one set of 15 repetitions. Don’t forget to follow everyexercise with one minute of jumping rope. You should be able to burn around 500 to 600 calories per workout.

    Step two:

    You have to work on your abdominal muscles three times in the week. Crunches and leg raises for three sets of 20 repetitions should be done. Also, do planks by holding your body in a push-up position on your elbows for 30 to 60 seconds for four sets.

    Step three:

    The kind of food you will eat in this period is vital in bringing about any change. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, chicken, beef, fish and low fat dairy should replace processed foods full of sugar.

    Step four:

    To minimize water retention, lower your sodium intake. This means you need to avoid salt. You can flavour your food with other herbs and spices instead.

    Step five:

    Stressing and anxiety can cause the over-production of a certain hormone called cortisol, which encourages weight gain about the belly area. So try to keep your cool!

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