ADULT WAISTLINES CONTINUE TO INCREASE

ADULT WAISTLINES CONTINUE TO INCREASE

From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Embargoed: 16-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: JAMA – Journal of the American Medical AssociatioN

 

INCREASED WAISTLINES PIC.

Newswise — The prevalence of abdominal obesity and average waist circumference increased among U.S. adults from 1999 to 2012, according to a study in the September 17 issue of JAMA.

Waist circumference is a simple measure of total and intra-abdominal body fat. Although the prevalence of abdominal obesity has increased in the United States through 2008, its trend in recent years has not been known, according to background information in the article.

Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues used data from seven 2-year cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) starting with 1999-2000 and concluding with 2011-2012 to determine trends in average waist circumference and prevalence of abdominal obesity among adults in the United States. Abdominal obesity was defined as a waist circumference greater than 40.2 inches (102 cm) in men and greater than 34.6 inches (88 cm) in women.

Data from 32,816 men and nonpregnant women ages 20 years or older were analyzed. The overall age-adjusted average waist circumference increased progressively and significantly, from 37.6 inches in 1999-2000 to 38.8 inches in 2011-2012. Significant increases occurred in men (0.8 inch), women (1.5 inch), non-Hispanic whites (1.2 inch), non­Hispanic blacks (1.6 inch), and Mexican Americans (1.8 inch).

The overall age-adjusted prevalence of abdominal obesity increased significantly from 46.4 percent in 1999-2000 to 54.2 percent in 2011-2012. Significant increases were present in men (37.1 percent to 43.5 percent), women (55.4 percent to 64.7 percent), non-Hispanic whites (45.8 percent to 53.8 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (52.4 percent to 60.9 percent), and Mexican Americans (48.1 percent to 57.4 percent).

The authors write that previous analyses of data from NHANES show that the prevalence of obesity calculated from body mass index (BMI) did not change significantly from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012.

“In contrast, our analyses using data from the same surveys indicate that the prevalence of abdominal obesity is still increasing. The reasons for increases in waist circumference in excess of what would be expected from changes in BMI remain speculative, but several factors, including sleep deprivation, endocrine disruptors, and certain medications, have been proposed as potential explanations.”

“Our results support the routine measurement of waist circumference in clinical care consistent with current recommendations as a key step in initiating the prevention, control, and management of obesity among patients.”

 

NINE FATS TO INCLUDE IN A HEALTHY DIET – Fats for Fitness

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 17-Sep-2014 Source Newsroom: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)             By Linda Milo Ohr

Newswise — CHICAGO—Fats are often considered the enemy of good nutrition, but when included in a healthy diet they can boast several potential health benefits. In the September issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor Linda Milo Ohr writes about how fatty acids and nutritional oils may benefit cognition, weight management, heart health, eye and brain development, and even mood.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with brain development, cognition, eye health, dementia and depression. They are also widely well-known for their heart health benefits.
    2. Pinolenic Acid: Pinolenic acid is based on pine nut oil derived from a specific Korean pine tree, and is especially rich in long-chain fatty acids. Clinical trials have shown that it can help suppress appetite and promote a feeling of fullness.
    3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to affect weight management by helping reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.
    4. Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids which can contribute to heart health and help reduce inflammation.
    5. Hemp Oil: Hemp seed oil contains a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 linolenic essential fatty acids, and also contains vitamin E.
    6. Fish Oil: Fish oil is known for its effect on cardiovascular, neurological, and cognitive health.
    7. Canola Oil: A study showed that a canola oil-enriched, low-glycemic-diet improved blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics, especially those with raised systolic blood pressure (Jenkins, 2014).
    8. Soybean Oil: High oleic soybean oil has reduced saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat, and delivers three times the amount of monounsaturated fats compared to commodity soybean oil.
    9. Coconut Oil: Although not as much research has been done compared to olive or fish oil, it is thought to aid in areas such as energy, skin health, and dental health.

Research has shown that fatty acids and nutritional oils may benefit cognition, weight management, heart health, eye and brain development, and even mood. As a result, they have jumped into the limelight for these potential benefits, making the inclusion of fats in the diet more appealing. Here is a look at some of these functional fats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are associated with brain development, cognition, eye health, dementia, and depression. They are widely known for their heart health benefits. Researchers de Oliveira Otto et al. (2013) showed that EPA and DHA from seafood were inversely associated with cardiovascular disease incidence, suggesting that increased consumption may help prevent risk development in a multiethnic population.

North America has the largest number of dairy launches using omega-3 claims, with nearly 35% of the global total, according to Innova Market Insights, Duiven, the Netherlands (www.innovadatabase.com) (Innova, 2014). In the United States there is rising interest in omega-3-fortified milk, with Innova’s data indicating that nearly 8% of milk launches in the U.S. in the 12 months ending October 2013 featured omega-3 claims.

In addition to dairy, there is plenty of room for innovation using omega-3s in products for consumers of all ages. This is in part thanks to the advancements in omega-3 ingredient developments. At the 2014 IFT Food Expo, BASF Nutrition & Health, Florham Park, N.J. (www.newtrition.basf.com), showcased a graham cracker and a chocolate almond butter spread that were both formulated with omega-3 fatty acids.

“These were among our most popular prototypes and, in fact, one attendee called them ‘IFT gold,’” says Elsie Jamin-Maguire, Business Manager, Foods & Beverages, at BASF Nutrition & Health.

BASF Nutrition & Health offers Omevital ™ 1812 TG Gold (fish oil, minimum 30% omega-3); Omevital 1050 TG Gold (fish oil concentrate, minimum 61% omega-3 as TG, DHA rich); Dry n-3 ® 12 Food (microencapsulated fish oil rich in omega-3); and Dry n-3 DHA 11 (microencapsulated fish oil rich in DHA). Omevital TG Gold oils are specially deodorized for food and beverage applications. The Dry n-3 microencapsulated EPA- and DHA-rich ingredients are produced in Denmark using a microencapsulation technology, which results in an ingredient with excellent flowability and high stability.

DSM, Parsippany, N.J. (www.dsm.com/human-nutrition), in 2013 launched life’sOMEGA ™ 60, a high-potency vegetarian DHA and EPA omega-3 oil developed from a sustainable algal source. The ingredient is said to provide all the benefits of life’sDHA ™ with additional EPA, resulting in an ingredient that is a higher-potency, more sustainable alternative to fish and krill oils. DSM’s portfolio also includes life’sDHA and MEG-3 ® fish oil. MEG-3 is sourced from wild-caught, sustainable fisheries that adhere to the strict regulations of government agencies in the Peruvian upwelling region.

In June 2014, Enzymotec Ltd., Migdal HaEmeq, Israel (www.enzymotec.com), launched Omega PC ™ fish oil–based omega-3 ingredient, a wild, cold fish extract containing omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids and triglycerides. The omega-3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids have been shown to be absorbed better than triglyceride-bound omega-3 fatty acids. The better absorption leads to better efficacy and to higher accumulation of omega-3 fatty acids in target organs.

About IFT
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Food Technologists. Since its founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food, both today and tomorrow. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government and industry.

 

VETERINARY PHARMACOLOGIST WARNS THAT EGGS FROM BACKYARD CHICKENS MAY POSE CONSUMPTION PROBLEMS

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 16-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Kansas State University

PIC Backyard chickens

Cleaning water dishes is important after chickens being raised in the backyard complete any course of medication. That is because medication residues can remain in the eggs the chickens produce for varying lengths of time, according to Ronette Gehring, a Kansas State University pharmacologist.

 

Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kansas — Whether raising chickens in your backyard as pets or as a source of fresh eggs, a Kansas State University pharmacologist says what you do not know about your chickens could hurt you or others.

Ronette Gehring, associate professor of veterinary pharmacology at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine and regional director of the Midwest branch of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, or FARAD, says that owners need to be aware of potential drug residues in eggs from backyard chickens that might be or have been on medication.

“These animals get sick from time to time,” Gehring said. “They may get injured and need antibiotic treatment or pain medications. Foot infections are quite common, while sometimes the animals may need treatment for external or internal parasites.”

The danger is that residues from the medications remain in eggs for various lengths of time.

“Owners must be aware that any drug they administer will result in residues in the eggs,” Gehring said.

“It is important that if owners buy medications over the counter to treat their flock, they closely follow the directions on the label. This includes only using the drug if it is specifically labeled for chickens laying eggs and only for the diseases listed on the label, at the exact dose, dosing interval and duration of treatment given in the instructions.”

The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank keeps information about medications and the withdrawal time for different animals. Gerhing said backyard chicken owners need to be very attentive when giving the animals any medications.

“If all these instructions are followed closely, there will be a withdrawal time given on the label, which is the time for which the eggs must not be consumed after the last dose,” she said.

“Any deviation from the label instructions is considered extra-label and is illegal unless it is prescribed by a veterinarian within a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. There are very few drugs specifically labeled for backyard chickens. Most are formulated for large commercial operations, so many treatments for backyard flocks will be extra-label, requiring a prescription from a veterinarian.”

The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank only gives extra-label drug use advice to veterinarians. Exclusively for food animal species, the databank is a congressionally mandated risk-management program supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and maintained by a consortium of universities, including Kansas State University; University of California, Davis; University of Florida; and North Carolina State University.

“Another problem owners need to be aware of is exposure of their chickens to chemicals and toxins in the home environment,” Gehring said.

“For example, an owner may have wasps in the backyard and spray them with pesticides. The chickens might eat the wasps, which can cause residues in the eggs. Other environmental, accidental exposures can occur, such as herbicides sprayed for weed control. If an owner suspects an environmental exposure, then they can call FARAD themselves, but it is important to know which chemicals the chickens may have been exposed to.”

Owners are encouraged to visit with their veterinarians. More information is available at the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank website at http://www.farad.org.

See you tomorrow. Jeanne

TIPS AND DIETS

GUT BACTERIA, ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS, AND GLUCOSE INTOLERANCE

A new study reveals that certain gut bacteria may induce metabolic changes following exposure to artificial sweeteners

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 17-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Weizmann Institute of Science Citations Nature, Sept. 17, 2014

Newswise — Artificial sweeteners – promoted as aids to weight loss and diabetes prevention – could actually hasten the development of glucose intolerance and metabolic disease, and they do so in a surprising way: by changing the composition and function of the gut microbiota – the substantial population of bacteria residing in our intestines.

These findings, the results of experiments in mice and humans, were published September 17 in Nature. Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Immunology, who led this research together with Prof. Eran Segal of the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, says that the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in drinks and food, among other things, may be contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is sweeping much of the world.

For years, researchers have been puzzling over the fact that non-caloric artificial sweeteners do not seem to assist in weight loss, with some studies suggesting that they may even have an opposite effect.

Graduate student Jotham Suez in Dr. Elinav’s lab, who led the study, collaborated with lab member Gili Zilberman-Shapira and graduate students Tal Korem and David Zeevi in Prof. Segal’s lab to discover that artificial sweeteners, even though they do not contain sugar, nonetheless have a direct effect on the body’s ability to utilize glucose.

Glucose intolerance – generally thought to occur when the body cannot cope with large amounts of sugar in the diet – is the first step on the path to metabolic syndrome and adult-onset diabetes.

The scientists gave mice water laced with the three most commonly used artificial sweeteners, in amounts equivalent to those permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These mice developed glucose intolerance, as compared to mice that drank water, or even sugar water.

Repeating the experiment with different types of mice and different doses of the artificial sweeteners produced the same results – these substances were somehow inducing glucose intolerance.

Next, the researchers investigated a hypothesis that the gut microbiota are involved in this phenomenon. They thought the bacteria might do this by reacting to new substances like artificial sweeteners, which the body itself may not recognize as “food.” Indeed, artificial sweeteners are not absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, but in passing through they encounter trillions of the bacteria in the gut microbiota.

The researchers treated mice with antibiotics to eradicate many of their gut bacteria; this resulted in a full reversal of the artificial sweeteners’ effects on glucose metabolism. Next, they transferred the microbiota from mice that consumed artificial sweeteners to “germ-free,” or sterile, mice – resulting in a complete transmission of the glucose intolerance into the recipient mice.

This, in itself, was conclusive proof that changes to the gut bacteria are directly responsible for the harmful effects to their host’s metabolism. The group even found that incubating the microbiota outside the body, together with artificial sweeteners, was sufficient to induce glucose intolerance in the sterile mice.

A detailed characterization of the microbiota in these mice revealed profound changes to their bacterial populations, including new microbial functions that are known to infer a propensity to obesity, diabetes, and complications of these problems in both mice and humans.

Does the human microbiome function in the same way? Dr. Elinav and Prof. Segal had a means to test this as well. As a first step, they looked at data collected from their Personalized Nutrition Project (www.personalnutrition.org), the largest human trial to date to look at the connection between nutrition and microbiota.

Here, they uncovered a significant association between self-reported consumption of artificial sweeteners, personal configurations of gut bacteria, and the propensity for glucose intolerance. They next conducted a controlled experiment, asking a group of volunteers who did not generally eat or drink artificially sweetened foods to consume them for a week, and then undergo tests of their glucose levels and gut microbiota compositions.

The findings showed that many – but not all – of the volunteers had begun to develop glucose intolerance after just one week of artificial sweetener consumption. The composition of their gut microbiota explained the difference: the researchers discovered two different populations of human gut bacteria – one that induced glucose intolerance when exposed to the sweeteners, and one that had no effect either way.

Dr. Elinav believes that certain bacteria in the guts of those who developed glucose intolerance reacted to the chemical sweeteners by secreting substances that then provoked an inflammatory response similar to sugar overdose, promoting changes in the body’s ability to utilize sugar.

Prof. Segal states, “The results of our experiments highlight the importance of personalized medicine and nutrition to our overall health. We believe that an integrated analysis of individualized ‘big data’ from our genome, microbiome, and dietary habits could transform our ability to understand how foods and nutritional supplements affect a person’s health and risk of disease.”

According to Dr. Elinav, “Our relationship with our own individual mix of gut bacteria is a huge factor in determining how the food we eat affects us. Especially intriguing is the link between use of artificial sweeteners – through the bacteria in our guts – to a tendency to develop the very disorders they were designed to prevent; this calls for reassessment of today’s massive, unsupervised consumption of these substances.”

Also participating in this research were Christoph A. Thaiss, Ori Maza, and Dr. Hagit Shapiro of Dr. Elinav’s group; Dr. Adina Weinberger of Prof. Segal’s group; Dr. Ilana Kolodkin-Gal of the Department of Molecular Genetics; Prof. Alon Harmelin and Dr. Yael Kuperman of the Department of Veterinary Resources; Dr. Shlomit Gilad of the Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine; Prof. Zamir Halperin and Dr. Niv Zmora of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University; and Dr. David Israeli of Kfar Shaul Hospital Jerusalem Center for Mental Health.

Dr. Eran Elinav’s research is supported by the Abisch Frenkel Foundation for the Promotion of Life Sciences; the Benoziyo Endowment Fund for the Advancement of Science; the Gurwin Family Fund for Scientific Research; the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust; the Adelis Foundation; Yael and Rami Ungar, Israel; the Crown Endowment Fund for Immunological Research; John L. and Vera Schwartz, Pacific Palisades, CA; the Rising Tide Foundation; Alan Markovitz, Canada; Cynthia Adelson, Canada; the estate of Jack Gitlitz; the estate of Lydia Hershkovich; the European Research Council; the CNRS – Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique; the estate of Samuel and Alwyn J. Weber; and Mr. and Mrs. Donald L. Schwarz, Sherman Oaks, CA. Dr. Elinav is the incumbent of the Rina Gudinski Career Development Chair.

Prof. Eran Segal’s research is supported by the Kahn Family Research Center for Systems Biology of the Human Cell; the Carolito Stiftung; the Cecil and Hilda Lewis Charitable Trust; the European Research Council; and Mr. and Mrs. Donald L. Schwarz, Sherman Oaks, CA.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. The Institute’s 2,700-strong scientific community engages in research addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, energy, technology, agriculture, and the environment. Outstanding young scientists from around the world pursue advanced degrees at the Weizmann Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School. The discoveries and theories of Weizmann Institute scientists have had a major impact on the wider scientific community, as well as on the quality of life of millions of people worldwide.

9 FATS TO INCLUDE IN A HEALTHY DIET

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 17-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Newswise — CHICAGO—Fats are often considered the enemy of good nutrition, but when included in a healthy diet they can boast several potential health benefits. In the September issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor Linda Milo Ohr writes about how fatty acids and nutritional oils may benefit cognition, weight management, heart health, eye and brain development, and even mood.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with brain development, cognition, eye health, dementia and depression. They are also widely well-known for their heart health benefits.
    2. Pinolenic Acid: Pinolenic acid is based on pine nut oil derived from a specific Korean pine tree, and is especially rich in long-chain fatty acids. Clinical trials have shown that it can help suppress appetite and promote a feeling of fullness.
    3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Conjugated linoleic acid has been shown to affect weight management by helping reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.
    4. Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids which can contribute to heart health and help reduce inflammation.
    5. Hemp Oil: Hemp seed oil contains a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 linolenic essential fatty acids, and also contains vitamin E.
    6. Fish Oil: Fish oil is known for its effect on cardiovascular, neurological, and cognitive health.
    7. Canola Oil: A study showed that a canola oil-enriched, low-glycemic-diet improved blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics, especially those with raised systolic blood pressure (Jenkins, 2014).
    8. Soybean Oil: High oleic soybean oil has reduced saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat, and delivers three times the amount of monounsaturated fats compared to commodity soybean oil.
    9. Coconut Oil: Although not as much research has been done compared to olive or fish oil, it is thought to aid in areas such as energy, skin health, and dental health.

About IFT
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Food Technologists. Since its founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food, both today and tomorrow. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government and industry.

 

7 SUPERMARKETS TRENDS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 17-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

 

Newswise — CHICAGO— With convenience and value being key drivers when it comes to grocery shopping, successful retailers will be those who adapt to changes in consumer product preferences, technology and lifestyle needs. In the September issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Executive Editor Mary Ellen Kuhn writes about the changing landscape of today’s supermarket. The following seven trends are identified in the article.

  1. Price-Driven Consumers: Middle- and low-income shoppers account for 70 percent of U.S. grocery sales, and even consumers without major financial constraints tend to be frugal and open to shopping in a variety of different channels in order to economize (Jeffries, 2013).
    2. Healthy Living and Fresh Food: 92 percent of U.S. adults believe that eating at home is healthier than eating out (FMI, 2014).
    3. Smaller Grocery Stores: Smaller grocery stores are on track for rapid growth (Jeffries, 2013). Stores are able to refine their offerings based on neighborhood purchasing patterns.
    4. Fresh Prepared Foods: More than half of the households in the U.S. are composed of only one or two people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012), and consumers often look to stores as their “sous chef.” Consumers often just want to put the finishing touches on an item and avoid the slicing, dicing, and marinating that often come with food preparation (FMI, 2014).
    5. Meal Solutions: Many retailers are putting their own spin on high-quality fare that reflects trendy culinary influences like chef-prepared entrees and salads, ethnic fare, brunch stations, and gelato bars in stores. In addition, supermarkets are bundling together meal components that are tasty and easy to prepare.
    6. Mobile Commerce: According to Catalina Marketing, there are currently more than 1,000 grocery shopping apps for the iPhone. Digitizing supermarket ads and coupons for smartphones, computers, and tablets is important to drive sales and form deeper connections with shoppers.
    7. Online Options: In the future more people are expected to purchase pantry stables online rather than in grocery stores. Although the market for online ordering is growing, experts agree that because grocery shopping is such a sensory experience it will probably never be a totally online process (Tom Johnson, PwC, 2014). Grocery shopping is more likely to become a hybrid online and in-store process with consumers both placing orders online, but also stopping in the store for items.

 

THE OBESITY SOCIETY: REDUCED ENERGY DENSITY IN FOODS CAN CREATE HEALTHIER FOOD ENVIRONMENT AND MAY HELP TO REDUCE OBESITY

Experts Applaud Food & Beverage Industry Actions to Improve the Food Environment

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 17-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Obesity Society

 

Newswise — SILVER SPRING, MD: On the heels of new research showing that 16 major food and beverage companies have collectively cut 6.4 trillion calories from U.S. food products, The Obesity Society (TOS) issues an official position statement pointing to the pervasive availability of foods high in calories per unit of weight, or energy density, as a contributing factor for weight gain and obesity. The Society goes further to urge food companies to test and market foods that will help individuals reduce the energy density in their diets and better manage body weight.

“With more than one-third of American children affected by obesity or overweight, it Is no secret that our food environment is a contributing factor to obesity, especially among children,” said Barbara Rolls, PhD, FTOS, TOS past-president and professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University.

“This obesogenic environment is characterized by large portions of tasty, inexpensive, energy-dense foods that are easily accessible in convenience stores, vending machines and restaurants – all areas where food and beverage companies have an overwhelming impact on the nutritional and energy content of foods.”

Examples of foods high in energy density that can lead to consumption of excess calories include those high in sugar, like ice cream, and those high in fat, including deep-fried foods, such as French fries, and cheese. Foods low in energy density and recommended for a healthy diet are those that have a high amount of nutrients per serving, including fruits and vegetables, non-fat milk, whole grains, and fish and other lean proteins.

As detailed in the position statement, a diet reduced in energy density can accommodate a wide range of eating patterns, and can support a lifestyle that includes a healthy, well-balanced diet for weight management. A key component to reduced energy density is the amount of water in our food, which contributes to the weight and volume without adding energy, or calories, and can make us feel more satiated.

“A growing body of evidence indicates that increasing the water content in foods can reduce energy intake and improve diet quality,” continued Dr. Rolls.

“For example, I will feel more full after eating 100 calories of strawberries, which are high in water content, than after eating 100 calories of pretzels. This is because the fruit provides about 13 times more food by weight than the pretzels.”

A successful effort to improve the food environment by food and beverage companies is detailed in the research conducted by TOS members Shu Wen Ng, PhD, and Barry Popkin, PhD, published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study unveils a new, unprecedented system for tracking trends in consumer-packaged goods, which allowed researchers to evaluate consumer trends more closely than ever before. Results show that the 6.4 trillion caloric reduction by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) member companies translates to a 78-calorie per person, per day decline, with largest calorie cuts to foods coming from products high in energy density, including: sweets and snack foods; fats, oils and dressings, and; carbonated soft drinks. In a second study published in the same issue, researchers tie the effort back to a decline in the calorie content of purchases by American families, and call for more research to continue to track its success.

“We applaud the efforts of the member companies for their work to cut calories from foods high in energy density, and we encourage others in the industry to sign onto this important initiative,” said TOS President Steven Smith, MD.

“Food and beverage companies can take these efforts a step further with a closer look at the energy density of their products. There is a growing consumer demand for healthier food offerings; responding to this demand is a win-win for both corporations and public health.”

In January 2014, Dr. Smith commended the industry for following through on its pledge following its initial announcement.

“Efforts to reduce obesity cannot succeed without the engagement of the many industries that have the power to positively impact the health of billions of people,” he said.

According to the authors, the pledge is just the first step to evaluate the impact of the industry on obesity, and more needs to be done to continue to have a positive impact on the epidemic.

About The Obesity Society
The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease.

BACK TOMORROW JEANNE

 

 

 

 

 

TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT AT AVOIDING THE FLU THIS SEASON

TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT AT AVOIDING THE FLU THIS SEASON

Flu Vaccine from Physician Offers Important Health Check Up, Says Loyola Infectious Disease Specialist

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 12-Sep-2014
Source: Loyola University Health System

flu jabs PIC.

Getting your annual flu shot from your physician affords an opportunity for an overall health checkup, says Jorge Parada, MD, medical director of infectious disease at Loyola University Health System.

(A health check-up would be nice. In our surgery for flu jabs  we queue up like children waiting for dinner. The nurses do about three couples in every ten minutes. It is like a conveyor belt but it works. J.)

Newswise — Everyone knows that the best way to avoid the flu is by getting an annual flu shot. But a trip to your physician every autumn for the vaccination can help you avoid much more than the dreaded flu bug.

“At the doctor’s office, the focus is on you and what is going on with your health. This is your time to talk about concerns to improve your well-being beyond the flu season,” says Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, the medical director of the Infection Prevention and Control Program at Loyola University Health System.

A retail store that offers the flu shot cannot give you expert medical advice from your physician that knows you and your medical history.

“You trust your store employee to help you locate items you want to buy, not to diagnose what is causing a persistent symptom, schedule other annual health maintenance exams such as mammograms or offer expert medical advice,” he said.

When is the best time of year to get the flu shot? The official flu season is October 1 – March 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Getting the flu shot in October gives you the best chance of avoiding the flu this year,” says Parada.

“If you get your flu shot in the beginning of September, you may start running out of infection immunity by February or March, when the virus is still around.”

The flu season traditionally peaks in late December to early February, he notes. Loyola is planning to distribute more than 30,000 flu vaccinations this season.

“Remember that it takes up to two weeks after the flu shot for the full effect to kick in,” says Parada. “And if you were exposed to the flu around the time you get your flu shot, you may still experience the flu but do not blame the flu shot.”

Just like with other infectious diseases such as polio, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough, the participation of everyone in receiving vaccinations is critical to stopping the virus.

“When people are universally vaccinated, those infections are largely eliminated,” says Parada. “It may not sound sexy but it is everyone’s civic responsibility to protect themselves and their community.”

Millions of dollars are lost each year during the flu season due to missed days of work, expense of medications and the like. And many lose their lives due to the flu.

“The most vulnerable members of our society, the very young and the elderly or chronically ill, and pregnant women, are hit the hardest by the flu,” says Parada.

For 2014, the flu vaccination composition is the same as in 2013. The 2014-2015 trivalent influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:
• an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
• an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
• a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

It is recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

There are hundreds of varieties of the flu. “The flu virus is mutating all the time but health professionals track what happens in other countries that experience the flu season earlier and identify the primary strains,” says Parada.

Loyola University Health System is recognized internationally as a leader in infection control and prevention. Loyola is one of a few select hospitals who invest in universal screening of all inpatients for MRSA. Loyola was one of the first institutions to require all staff to have mandatory flu shots as a condition of employment. Loyola was the only academic hospital to participate in a national C. difficile study and performs the most accurate testing for bacteria. Loyola also actively screens emergency department patients for HIV/AIDS as part of an ongoing research study.

COFFEE GENOME SHEDS LIGHT ON THE EVOLUTION OF CAFFEINE

Enzymes that help produce caffeine evolved independently in coffee, tea and chocolate, say scientists who have newly sequenced the coffee plant genome

From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Release: September 4, 2014                           By Cory Nealon   University of Buffalo News Centre

Coffee Beans PIC.

  • An international research team has sequenced the genome of the coffee plant Coffea canephora.
  • By comparing genes in the coffee, tea and chocolate plants, the scientists show that enzymes involved in making caffeine likely evolved independently in these three organisms.
  • More than 8.7 million tons of coffee was produced in 2013; it is the principal agricultural product of many tropical nations.
  • The study was led by the French Institute of Research for Development, the French National Sequencing Center (CEA-Genoscope) and the University at Buffalo. The findings appear in the journal Science.

 

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant reveals secrets about the evolution of man’s best chemical friend: caffeine.

The scientists who completed the project say the sequences and positions of genes in the coffee plant show that they evolved independently from genes with similar functions in tea and chocolate, which also make caffeine.

In other words, coffee did not inherit caffeine-linked genes from a common ancestor, but instead developed the genes on its own.

Why coffee?

With more than 2.25 billion cups consumed daily worldwide, coffee is the principal agricultural product of many tropical countries. According to estimates by the International Coffee Organization, more than 8.7 million tons of coffee were produced in 2013, revenue from exports amounted to $15.4 billion in 2009-2010, and the sector employed nearly 26 million people in 52 countries during 2010.

“Coffee is as important to everyday early risers as it is to the global economy. Accordingly, a genome sequence could be a significant step toward improving coffee,” said Philippe Lashermes, a researcher at the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

“By looking at the coffee genome and genes specific to coffee, we were able to draw some conclusions about what makes coffee special.”

Lashermes, along with Patrick Wincker and France Denoeud, genome scientists at the French National Sequencing Center (CEA-Genoscope), and Victor Albert, professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo, are the principal authors of the study.

Scientists from other organizations, particularly the Agricultural Research Center for International Development in France, also contributed, along with researchers from public and private organizations in the U.S., France, Italy, Canada, Germany, China, Spain, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia and India.

The team created a high-quality draft of the genome of Coffea canephora, which accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s coffee production, according to the Manhattan-based National Coffee Association.

Next, the scientists looked at how coffee’s genetic make-up is distinct from other species.

Compared to several other plant species, including the grape and tomato, coffee harbors larger families of genes that relate to the production of alkaloid and flavonoid compounds, which contribute to qualities such as coffee aroma and the bitterness of beans.

Coffee also has an expanded collection of N-methyltransferases, enzymes that are involved in making caffeine.

Upon taking a closer look, the researchers found that coffee’s caffeine enzymes are more closely related to other genes within the coffee plant than to caffeine enzymes in tea and chocolate.

This finding suggests that caffeine production developed independently in coffee. If this trait had been inherited from a common ancestor, the enzymes would have been more similar between species.

“The coffee genome helps us understand what is exciting about coffee — other than that it wakes me up in the morning,” Albert said.

“By looking at which families of genes expanded in the plant, and the relationship between the genome structure of coffee and other species, we were able to learn about coffee’s independent pathway in evolution, including — excitingly — the story of caffeine.”

Why caffeine is so important in nature is another question. Scientists theorize that the chemical may help plants repel insects or stunt competitors’ growth. One recent paper showed that pollinators — like humans — may develop caffeine habits. Insects that visited caffeine-producing plants often returned to get another taste.

The new Science study does not offer new ideas about the evolutionary role of caffeine, but it does reinforce the idea that the compound is a valuable asset. It also provides the opportunity to better understand the evolution of coffee’s genome structure.

“It turns out that, over evolutionary time, the coffee genome was not triplicated as in its relatives: the tomato and chile pepper,” Wincker said.

“Instead it maintained a structure similar to the grape’s. As such, evolutionary diversification of the coffee genome was likely more driven by duplications in particular gene families as opposed to en masse, when all genes in the genome duplicate.”

This stands in contrast to what has been suggested for several other large plant families, where other investigators have noted correlations between high species diversity in a group and the presence of whole genome doublings or triplings.

“Coffee lies in the plant family Rubiaceae, which has about 13,000 species and is the world’s fourth largest; thus, with no genome duplication at its root, it appears to break the mold of a genome duplication link to high biodiversity,” Denoeud said.

The research was funded by the French National Research Agency; Australian Research Council; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; CNR-ENEA Agrifood Project of Italy; Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (FINEP Qualicafe) of Brazil; National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCT Cafe) of Brazil; the U.S. National Science Foundation; the College of Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo; and in-kind support by scientists at Nestle’s research and development center in Tours, France.

“The coffee genome helps us understand what is exciting about coffee — other than that it wakes me up in the morning,” said Victor Albert, professor of biological sciences University at Buffalo.

 

BABIES BORN IN THE WINTER START CRAWLING EARLIER THAN THOSE BORN IN THE SUMMER

Study shows a seasonal effect on the pace of motor development in babies born in Israel during their first year

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 11-Sep-2014   Source : University of Haifax

 

Newswise — The season of a baby’s birth influences its motor development during its first year of life, a new study by University of Haifa researcher’s shows. Babies born in the winter (between December and May) start crawling earlier compared to babies born in the summer (June-November).

The research was conducted by Dr. Osnat Atun-Einy of the University’s Department of Physical Therapy and Dr. Dina Cohen, Moran Samuel and Prof. Anat Scher of the Department of Counseling and Human Development. 47 healthy babies with typical development patterns where divided them into two groups.

The first group comprised “summer-fall” babies, 16 babies born from June to November, and the second, “winter-spring” babies, 31 babies born from December to May. The study consisted of motor observations in the babies’ homes when there were seven months old, and a follow-up session when they began to crawl. Parents were asked to record the stages in their babies’ development before and between the observations.

The study used the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS), an observational assessment with high reliability, to track the babies’ development. The scale relates to four positions: Prone (on the stomach), supine (on the back), sitting, and standing.

The average age at which the babies started crawling was 31 weeks. But while the babies born in the winter (who started to crawl in the summer) started to crawl at an average 30 weeks, those born in the summer (who started to crawl in the winter) began crawling at an average of 35 weeks, with no differences noted between the boys or the girls or in the initial style of crawling (belly crawling or using hands and knees).

The overall AIMS score was higher for those babies born in the winter, and the score for movement in the prone position, the scale most meaningful in connection with crawling was, significantly higher for the babies in the winter group.

By contrast, there was no significant difference in the scores for the supine position, sitting, or standing between the two groups. According to the researchers, the findings strengthen the assumption that there is a window of opportunity for starting to crawl and stress the effect of the season on the start of crawling.

“The difference in crawling onset of four weeks constitutes 14 percent of a seven-month-old’s life and is significant,” the researchers note. “Documenting the trend by comparing the results of a standard evaluation scale strengthens the findings and points to a significant seasonal effect in the Israeli context.

”The geographic location and the local climate where the study is conducted is important to understand the findings, they add. A seasonal effect is found in places where the differences in the home environment between summer and winter are significant.

Studies done in Denver, Colorado and in Osaka, Japan found a seasonal effect that corresponds with the findings of the Haifa study, but a study conducted in Alberta, Canada, where winters are long and cold on the one hand, but the home environment (because of winter heating) is very similar all year round, the seasonal effect was not observed.

“Although the winter in Israel is comparatively mild compared to other places in the world, it turns out that it nonetheless influences the motor development of babies because of the differences between summer and winter in Israel,” the researchers say.

“The season influences the babies’ experiences in a number of ways, including layers of clothing that are worn; the opportunities babies are given to spend on the floor on their stomachs, and the hours of activity and daylight. Awareness of the seasonal effect is important so that parents will give their babies proper movement and development opportunities in the winter as well,” the researchers say.

Back tomorrow Jeanne

HIGH-DOSE FLU VACCINE MORE EFFECTIVE IN ELDERLY

HIGH-DOSE FLU VACCINE MORE EFFECTIVE IN ELDERLY

From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton 13-Aug-2014                                                 Source: Vanderbilt University Medical Center Citations New England Journal of Medicine

 

Newswise — High-dose influenza vaccine is 24 percent more effective than the standard-dose vaccine in protecting persons ages 65 and over against influenza illness and its complications, according to a Vanderbilt-led study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The multi-center study enrolled 31,989 participants from 126 research centers in the U.S. and Canada during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 influenza seasons in the Northern Hemisphere in order to compare the high-dose trivalent vaccine versus the standard-dose trivalent vaccine in adults over 65 years of age.

“The study was done to see if using a high-dose vaccine protected older adults better than the usual vaccine. Until this trial came out we did not know if it was going to be clinically better or not and now we know it is better,” said lead author Keipp Talbot, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine, who served as coordinating investigator for the more than 100 study sites.

“Older adults are the most vulnerable to influenza; they become the sickest and have the most hospitalizations. This vaccine works better than the standard dose and hence I would tell my patients to get the high-dose vaccine every year. In the meantime, we will continue to work to find newer and better vaccines for older adults.”

Researchers concluded that the high-dose vaccine is safe, induces significantly higher antibody responses, and provides superior protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard dose among persons over 65 years of age.

Study data also indicated that the high-dose vaccine may provide clinical benefit for the prevention of hospitalizations, pneumonia, cardio-respiratory conditions, non-routine medical visits, and medication use.

Between 1990 and 1999, seasonal influenza caused an average of 36,000 deaths and 226,000 hospitalizations per year in the U.S. Adults over 65 years old are particularly vulnerable to influenza complications, accounting for most seasonal influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths.

“Prevention of influenza should lower hospitalizations, deaths, heart attacks, and pneumonia,” Talbot said.

“This vaccine does have some more arm soreness than the usual vaccine because it is a higher dose. With this increased soreness comes greater protection.”

Known as the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, and made by Sanofi Pasteur, the inactivated influenza vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen that is contained in the standard-dose Fluzone vaccine.

“Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is the only influenza vaccine in the U.S. that is designed specifically to address the age-related decline of the immune system in older adults,” said David P. Greenberg, M.D., vice president, Scientific & Medical Affairs, and chief medical officer, Sanofi Pasteur U.S.

Study authors said about one-in-four breakthrough cases of influenza could be prevented if the high-dose vaccine were used instead of the standard-dose vaccine.

“I see older adults hospitalized every year with influenza and many of them come into the hospital with pneumonias and heart failure because they had influenza,” Talbot said.

“But I have to say our seniors in Nashville are very good at getting vaccinated. Locally they are very good and they do much better than their counterparts who are less than 65 years old. About 76 percent of this community of older adults are vaccinated for influenza each year.”

SLOW TO MATURE, QUICK TO DISTRACT: ADHD BRAIN STUDY FINDS SLOWER DEVELOPMENT OF KEY CONNECTIONS

Brain networks to handle internal & external tasks mature more slowly in ADHD

From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Embargoed: 15-Sep-2014
Source: University of Michigan Health System   Citations Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 15 Early Edition

ADHD

By examining hundreds of fMRI brain scans of children with ADHD and those without, the researchers identified key connections between brain networks that matured more slowly in ADHD brains.

 

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A peek inside the brains of more than 750 children and teens reveals a key difference in brain architecture between those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and those without.

Kids and teens with ADHD, a new study finds, lag behind others of the same age in how quickly their brains form connections within, and between, key brain networks.

The result: less-mature connections between a brain network that controls internally-directed thought (such as daydreaming) and networks that allow a person to focus on externally-directed tasks. That lag in connection development may help explain why people with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to stay focused.

What is more, the new findings, and the methods used to make them, may one day allow doctors to use brain scans to diagnose ADHD — and track how well someone responds to treatment. This kind of neuroimaging “biomarker” does not yet exist for ADHD, or any psychiatric condition for that matter.

The new findings come from a team in the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. They used highly advanced computing techniques to analyze a large pool of detailed brain scans that were publicly shared for scientists to study. Their results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author Chandra Sripada, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues looked at the brain scans of 275 kids and teens with ADHD, and 481others without it, using “connectomic” methods that can map interconnectivity between networks in the brain.

The scans, made using function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, show brain activity during a resting state. This allows researchers to see how a number of different brain networks, each specialized for certain types of functions, were “talking” within and amongst themselves.

The researchers found lags in development of connection within the internally-focused network, called the default mode network or DMN, and in development of connections between DMN and two networks that process externally-focused tasks, often called task-positive networks, or TPNs. They could even see that the lags in connection development with the two task-related networks — the frontoparietal and ventral attention networks — were located primarily in two specific areas of the brain.

The new findings mesh well with what other researchers have found by examining the physical structure of the brains of people with and without ADHD in other ways.

Such research has already shown alterations in regions within DMN and TPNs. So, the new findings build on that understanding and add to it.

The findings are also relevant to thinking about the longitudinal course of ADHD from childhood to adulthood. For instance, some children and teens “grow out” of the disorder, while for others the disorder persists throughout adulthood. Future studies of brain network maturation in ADHD could shed light into the neural basis for this difference.

“We and others are interested in understanding the neural mechanisms of ADHD in hopes that we can contribute to better diagnosis and treatment,” says Sripada, an assistant professor and psychiatrist who holds a joint appointment in the U-M Philosophy department and is a member of the U-M Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics.

“But without the database of fMRI images, and the spirit of collaboration that allowed them to be compiled and shared, we would never have reached this point.”

Sripada (shown above)  explains that in the last decade, functional medical imaging has revealed that the human brain is functionally organized into large-scale connectivity networks. These networks, and the connections between them, mature throughout early childhood all the way to young adulthood.

“It is particularly noteworthy that the networks we found to have lagging maturation in ADHD are linked to the very behaviors that are the symptoms of ADHD,” he says.

Studying the vast array of connections in the brain, a field called connectomics, requires scientists to be able to parse through not just the one-to-one communications between two specific brain regions, but the patterns of communication among thousands of nodes within the brain. This requires major computing power and access to massive amounts of data – which makes the open sharing of fMRI images so important.

“The results of this study set the stage for the next phase of this research, which is to examine individual components of the networks that have the maturational lag,” he says. “This study provides a coarse-grained understanding, and now we want to examine this phenomenon in a more fine-grained way that might lead us to a true biological marker, or neuromarker, for ADHD.”

Sripada also notes that connectomics could be used to examine other disorders with roots in brain connectivity – including autism, which some evidence has suggested stems from over-maturation of some brain networks, and schizophrenia, which may arise from abnormal connections. Pooling more fMRI data from people with these conditions, and depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more could boost connectomics studies in those fields.

Volunteers needed for research:

To develop such a neuromarker, Sripada has embarked on follow-up research. One study is enrolling children between the ages of 7 and 17 who have ADHD and a comparison group of those without it; information is at http://umhealth.me/adhdchild. Another study is enrolling adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who have ADHD and a comparison group of those without it; information is at http://umhealth.me/adhdadult. Of note, fMRI scans do not expose a person to radiation. Anyone interested in these studies can email Psych-study@med.umich.edu or call (734) 232-0353; for the study of children, parents should make the contact and consent to research on behalf of their children.

Besides Sripada, the study’s authors are Psychiatry computer specialists Daniel Kessler and Mike Angstadt. Kessler, a graduate of U-M with a degree in neuroscience and statistics, helped develop the key connectomic methods used in the study and plans to pursue this research further in a graduate program starting in 2015.

The research was funded by a National Institutes of Health grant (AA020297), a UMCCMB pilot grant, and the John Templeton Foundation. It used fMRI scans from the ADHD-200 and ABIDE projects.

 

STUDY FIRST TO USE BRAIN SCANS TO FORECAST EARLY READING DIFFICULTIES

Brain’s White Matter Highly Predictive of Reading Acquisition Beyond Effects of Genetic Predisposition

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 15-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)                                       Citations Psychological Science, September 15, 2014

 

Newswise — UC San Francisco researchers have used brain scans to predict how young children learn to read, giving clinicians a possible tool to spot children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties before they experience reading challenges.

In the United States, children usually learn to read for the first time in kindergarten and become proficient readers by third grade, according to the authors. In the study, researchers examined brain scans of 38 kindergarteners as they were learning to read formally at school and tracked their white matter development until third grade. The brain’s white matter is essential for perceiving, thinking and learning.

The researchers found that the developmental course of the children’s white matter volume predicted the kindergarteners’ abilities to read.

“We show that white matter development during a critical period in a child’s life, when they start school and learn to read for the very first time, predicts how well the child ends up reading,” said Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, senior author and an associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at UCSF, and member of the UCSF Dyslexia Center.

The research is published online in Psychological Science.

Doctors commonly use behavioral measures of reading readiness for assessments of ability. Other measures such as cognitive (i.e. IQ) ability, early linguistic skills, measures of the environment such as socio-economic status, and whether there is a family member with reading problems or dyslexia are all common early factors used to assess risk of developing reading difficulties.

“What was intriguing in this study was that brain development in regions important to reading predicted above and beyond all of these measures,” said Hoeft.

The researchers removed the effects of these commonly used assessments when doing the statistical analyses in order to assess how the white matter directly predicted future reading ability. They found that left hemisphere white matter in the temporo-parietal region just behind and above the left ear — thought to be important for language, reading and speech — was highly predictive of reading acquisition beyond effects of genetic predisposition, cognitive abilities, and environment at the outset of kindergarten. Brain scans improved prediction accuracy by 60 percent better at predicting reading difficulties than the compared to traditional assessments alone.

“Early identification and interventions are extremely important in children with dyslexia as well as most neurodevelopmental disorders,” said Hoeft. “Accumulation of research evidence such as ours may one day help us identify kids who might be at risk for dyslexia, rather than waiting for children to become poor readers and experience failure.”

According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, as many as 15 percent of Americans have major trouble reading.

“Examining developmental changes in the brain over a critical period of reading appears to be a unique sensitive measure of variation and may add insight to our understanding of reading development in ways that brain data from one time point, and behavioral and environmental measures, cannot,” said Chelsea Myers, BS, lead author and lab manager in UCSF’s Laboratory for Educational NeuroScience.

“The hope is that understanding each child’s neurocognitive profiles will help educators provide targeted and personalized education and intervention, particularly in those with special needs.”

Co-authors include Maaike Vandermosten, PhD of KU Leuven; Emily Farris, PhD of University of Texas Permian Basin; Roeland Hancock, PhD, Paul Gimenez, BA, Brandi Casto, MS, Miroslav Drahos, MS, Mandeep Tumber, MS, and Robert Hendren, DO, all of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF; Jessica Black, PhD of School of Social Work at Boston College; and Charles Hulme, DPhil of Department of Psychology at University College London.

The study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K23 HD054720), Flora Family Foundation, UCSF Catalyst Award, UCSF Resource Allocation Program, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator Award, Stanford University Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, Spectrum Child Health & Clinical and Translational Science Award and the Extraordinary Brain Series of the Dyslexia Foundation.

UC San Francisco (UCSF), now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding, is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco

See you Wednesday. Jeanne

 

 

 

 

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GPS FACE IMMEDIATE CAP ON CHILD FLU VACCINE ORDERS

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton PULSE TODAY                        September  15 2014 | By Caroline Price

 

GP practices will only be able to order a maximum of 50 doses of nasal flu vaccine next week to start routine immunisations in children, public health officials have warned.

Public Health England (PHE) said it will be temporarily capping orders of the new Fluenz Tetra vaccine at 50 doses – or five packs – per practice per week, when central ordering of the vaccine opens next Wednesday, 24 September.

PHE said in its latest vaccine update the cap was needed to make sure the vaccine could be distributed equitably across the country. The update also reminded practices the vaccine has a limited shelf life and said they should only order what they need for a week or two in advance.

The update states: ‘To ensure that vaccine is distributed equitably across the NHS in England for the children’s part of national flu programme, an initial restriction on the number of doses of Fluenz Tetra that can be ordered by each practice per week will be implemented from the start of ordering on Wednesday 24 September.

‘The controls will allow practices to order 50 doses per week (five packs) initially. We will be monitoring the situation on a daily basis and as soon as we are in receipt of sufficient quantities of vaccine we will lift the restriction.’

GPs are this year taking on seasonal flu immunisation of four-year-olds, as well as two- and three-year-olds as they did last year when the routine flu vaccination programme children was first introduced.

However, as all the vaccine stocks will expire by the end of January, PHE is again urging GPs to get as many children immunised before Christmas as possible – which GPC warned could leave practices struggling to fit them in.

A PHE spokesperson told Pulse the restriction was the result of a ‘gradual supply’ of vaccine from the manufacturer, as well as the shorter shelf-life of live-attenuated vaccines.

The spokesperson said: ‘The temporary order restriction is concerned with the gradual supply of the vaccine and the shorter shelf life of the flu nasal spray vaccine Fluenz Tetra which means that it has been agreed with the manufacturer that deliveries will be staggered to ensure that there is sufficient in-date vaccine for patients who present later in the season.’

PHE added there is no restriction on the nasal flu vaccine Fluarix Tetra.

The spokesperson said: ‘There is not an order cap in place for Fluarix Tetra but it should only be ordered for eligible children aged from three years who are contraindicated for Fluenz Tetra. It should not be used for children for whom Fluenz Tetra is suitable and flu vaccine ordered via ImmForm should not be used for patients over the age of 18.’

 

GPS TOLD TO CARRY OUT CHILD FLU VACCINATION PROGRAMME IN THREE-MONTH WINDOW

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton PULSE TODAY    9 May 2014               By Caroline Price, Alex Matthews-King

 

Public health chiefs have told GPs they must vaccinate children aged between 2-4 years within a three-month window this winter because the chosen vaccines will expire midway through the flu season.

Experts from Public Health England (PHE) said in guidance for this year’s flu immunisation programme that it was ‘highly likely’ central stocks of the chosen Fluenz vaccines will have expired by the end of January, despite the vaccination programme expanding to include all 2-4 year olds this year.

The guidance also told GPs they must focus their efforts on improving uptake of the flu vaccine in patients with liver or neurological diseases.

GP leaders said that increased numbers of patients could be left unimmunised as a result of the short time-frame for immunising children.

The update stated: ‘Vaccine has been ordered to cover the period over which historically the flu vaccine has been administered, extending from September to mid-December.’

‘It is highly likely that all the Fluenz Tetra® supplied centrally will have expired before the end of January 2015. In the light of this it will be important to ensure that efforts are made to vaccinate children before the Christmas holidays.’

Last year, stocks of the vaccine had a similar expiry date, and some practices said they were struggling to vaccinate two- and three-year olds as a result.

Dr Richard Vautrey, a member of the GPC negotiating team and a GP in Leeds, told Pulse that patients could be left unimmunised and GPs could see their QOF achievement hit by failure to provide adequate stocks of vaccine.

Dr Vautrey said: ‘There is an increasing problem, as more patients fall into the cohort for immunisation with Fluenz, it means that increasing numbers of patients will be left unimmunised unless practices use their own supplies of the alternative vaccine for those patients.’

He added: ‘This year, it has been extended to 2-4 year olds. So it is a bigger group and it is bound to have a much bigger impact because it then impacts on QOF targets for immunisations as well. So it is important that the vaccine is available throughout the flu season.’

‘We were told that with the extension of the scheme, to include a greater number of patients, they would ensure there was a considerable supply right through the immunisation program, right through to the end of March. It is a manufacturing issue, and that’s simply not good enough.’

The public health update also urged GPs to concentrate their vaccination programmes on patients with liver or neurological diseases.

Average uptake of the flu vaccine in the under-65s clinical risk groups has been stuck at about 50% for the past three years. But it is even lower in patients with chronic liver disease, in whom uptake was around 43% last flu season, while coverage in those with neurological disease was 49% last year, despite them being among the most at risk of dying from the complications of flu.

A spokesperson for PHE told Pulse: ‘For a number of years now around only half of patients in at-risk groups have been vaccinated and increasing uptake in these groups is important because of the increased risk of serious illness should people in these groups catch flu. 

‘However, we know that establishing the true uptake rate is hard because of difficulties in determining the denominator and therefore this year we decided to take a different approach which is to ask that particular attention is focused on those in at risk groups who are most at risk of death from flu but who have the lowest uptake rates amongst the at risk groups (that is those with chronic liver and neurological disease, including those with learning disabilities).’ 

PHE declined to comment on what additional resources or support GPs could get to help boost uptake in these groups, but said it wanted to see coverage upped to that of other clinical risk groups.

The spokesperson added: ‘We would expect vaccine uptake in those with chronic liver and neurological disease (including learning disabilities) to reach levels closer to those being achieved for other at risk groups who have a higher level of uptake.’

 

TWO-THIRDS OF YOUNG CHILDREN NOT VACCINATED AGAINST FLU YET

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton PULSE TODAY         2 December 2013 | By Caroline Price

 

Two-thirds of young children have yet to be vaccinated against flu, as practices battle to immunise two and three- year olds before central stocks of vaccine expire in January.

The most recent weekly figures showed 34.1% of two-year-olds and 30.6% of three-year-olds had received influenza vaccine by 24 November.

The data show uptake has gone up around 10% since the end of October, when the monthly breakdown showed 22% and 20% of two- and three-year-olds overall had been vaccinated.

But LMCs said practices face an uphill battle to immunise children before central supplies run out after the 16 January – with some batches expiring in mid-December.

It comes as Public Health England revealed that a ‘small number’ of GP practices had yet to order any nasal vaccine at all and that NHS England would be in touch with them to make sure they have not ‘overlooked’ the scheme.

Public health chiefs advised GP practices last month that they should make their own arrangements with the manufacturer of the nasal vaccine if they need additional doses after then.

Public Health England said the uptake with the new programme was ‘encouraging, given the extra workload this has generated for primary care’.

It added: ‘It is interesting to note that a small number of GP surgeries have yet to order any Fluenz vaccine. For some, this is because they have opted out of offering childhood immunisations, but for the others NHS England will be in contact to make sure they have not overlooked the fluvaccination programme for healthy two- and three- year olds.’

But LMC leaders expressed concerns about a lack of a national campaign to help GPs keep parents aware of the campaign – and how low uptake could impact on practices using up vaccine stocks that they are currently ordering in centrally from Public Health England.

Dr Paul Roblin, chair of Berkshire, Buckhingamshire  and Oxfordshire LMCs, told Pulse: ‘I sent an email to practices about two weeks ago pointing out there was concern in the Thames Valley about low uptake – and that all the national vaccine stock will be out of shelf-life after Christmas.

‘But practices are inundated and the last thing they can do is chase parents who do not want the vaccine.’

Dr Roblin added: ‘It is a worry that as vaccines expire, there could be a whole load of wasted stock. But I would expect the central procurement team to have sorted that out in advance – to have a financial arrangement if stock was not used.

‘If parents do not want it and there has not been a national campaign then Public Health England and politicians should take responsibility for not making it clear what the recommendations were for parents of two- and three-year-olds.’

For clinical at-risk groups, the latest weekly figures are up slightly on last year with over 67% of people aged 65 and over, 44% of those under 65 in an at-risk group and 34% of pregnant women having been vaccinated – compared with 65%, 41% and 32% of each groups around the same time last year.

 

GP-LED FLU VACCINATION OF CHILDREN TO BE EXTENDED TO ALL FOUR-YEAR-OLDS FROM SEPTEMBER

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton PULSE TODAY        21 February 2014 | By Caroline Price

 

GPs will be expected to vaccinate all four-year-olds as well as two- and three-year-old children against flu from September, Public Health England has confirmed.

The public health body said the national childhood flu vaccination programme in children and adolescents aged two to 17 – which began to be rolled out last year – will now be extended through GP practices to four-year-olds nationally, as well as through pilot programmes in schools to children aged 11 to 13 years.

A PHE spokesperson confirmed to Pulse GPs would be expected to deliver the flu vaccines to four-year olds.

The spokesperson said: ‘Yes, [the] plan is for vaccination for four-year-olds to be delivered by GPs’.

It comes as GP leaders had already criticised the workload associated with this season’s campaign, which spanned only two- and three-year olds.

The GP-led campaign was hailed a success by public health chiefs, after around 40% of children were vaccinated by the end of January, but GP leaders said GPs shouldered too much of the responsibility for informing parents and ensuring adequate uptake.

PHE advised GPs the live-attenuated flu vaccine – Fluenz – used would again be provided centrally and practices will need to take into account the additional four-year-old cohort when ordering stocks.

In a new vaccine update communication to GPs, Public Health England wrote: ‘The flu vaccine ordering season for the winter 2014/15 is already upon us, so we are using this month’s issue to update readers on who will be eligible for the flu vaccine later in the year when the vaccination programme starts.

‘Next winter sees the addition of two more age groups of children to those introduced in winter 2013/14. These are planned for eligible four-year-olds, and in several pilot programmes around the country to 11- to 13-year-olds.

‘GP practices should note that flu vaccine will be provided centrally for all children in the extended programme, and those of all ages in clinical risk groups, up to and including those aged 17 years.’

Anonymous comment from a GP reader

Whilst agreeing that Flu vaccination in these age groups is a good thing it is yet one more job to be added to an incredibly busy time of year. This year I decided enough was enough. It was underfunded and distracted from my primary purpose. I will not be doing it this year either. Nor the shingles vaccine.

Whether you do it is up to you but please then do not complain that you have not enough time to see your ill patients and you have not time to have lunch or even take a break.

Time management is key here. NHS England and HMG really do not give a monkeys and will keep piling this stuff on us until we say no or crack.

Make your choice.

GPs do their best but they are not supermen .. we only think they are. J.

 

LMC FORCES DELAY IN PHARMACY FLU VACCINATION PLANS

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton PULSE TODAY       22 August 2014 | By Caroline Price

Exclusive: GP leaders have forced NHS England in one area to halt plans to co-opt pharmacies into delivering flu jabs, amid concerns it would put practices at serious financial risk without helping to improve uptake in at-risk groups.

LMC leaders in Shropshire and Staffordshire said they have managed to get the plans – announced earlier this month – put on hold, after objecting over the short notice for GPs who had already ordered in vaccine stocks for their at-risk populations.

GPC leaders have criticised NHS England’s continued push for pharmacy-led schemes across the country, which they said had not increased flu vaccine uptake and were potentially depriving GPs of income at the same time as adding to their workload.

NHS England Shropshire and Staffordshire area team sent out a letter to local pharmacy groups in the first week of August, offering them service level agreements to provide the flu vaccinations to patients aged 65 years and over; those aged from 18 years to under 65 years in clinical risk groups and pregnant women aged 18 years and over.

Dr David Dickson, secretary of South Staffordshire LMC, told Pulse that GP leaders in the area – which also covers Shropshire and North Staffordshire LMCs – immediately raised their concerns with the area team. They have now been informed by NHS England that the plans are on hold while the area team formulates a proper plan.

Dr Dickson said: ‘They have put it on hold for the moment. They have not given sufficient notice for this, practices have already placed their orders for vaccine and they are at financial risk if they are not taken up. It is too late in the year to change those orders – and some practices do not have return of sale arrangements.’

‘We also do not think there is evidence it will improve the uptake and are worried pharmacy colleagues do not have the same recording and reporting duties – they are not going to target the hard-to-reach groups.’

A spokesperson for NHS England Shropshire and Staffordshire said discussions about the scheme were ‘ongoing’ and it would likely be in place ‘by the end of the year’.

But Dr Dickson said the Government should instead adopt more vigorous publicity campaigns to encourage uptake in difficult to reach at-risk groups – such as young working men, housebound people and people with impaired mobility  – as well as better strategies to help inform pregnant women about the benefits of vaccination.

He said: ‘There are key things like that they need to address before handing all the easy ones over to pharmacies.’

Pharmacy-led flu vaccination programmes have been implemented in several areas in recent years, and NHS England is continuing to encourage CCGs to commission them to help boost vaccine uptake in at-risk groups, which is falling well below the national target of 75%, as part of its ‘winter pressures’ strategy to prevent avoidable hospital admissions.

The NHS England Shropshire and Staffordshire area team spokeperson said: ‘We are committed to ensuring that people who are most at risk have easy access to the flu vaccination.

‘NHS England in Shropshire and Staffordshire proposed a scheme earlier this year to allow pharmacies to administer flu vaccinations to adults in the “at risk” groups. We are continuing to have on-going discussions with GP practices, Local Medical Committees (LMCs) and Local Pharmacy Committees (LPCs) and anticipate the scheme will be available by the end of this year.’

But GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones, who is also co-lead for the GPC on immunisations, said initiatives to get pharmacies to deliver flu vaccines to at-risk groups in Wales had not helped to reach more patients in vulnerable groups.

Dr Jones said: ‘Whilst we do not disagree with any initiative to increase flu vaccine uptake, our experience has been it is those patients who would have always had their flu jabs done in the GP surgery that are being captured by the pharmacies – and they are not actually reaching those who have not been getting it, so it is not meeting that need.

‘We are concerned it is removing this work from GPs who deliver the vast bulk of the programme, and end up chasing the harder to reach patients.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair and also co-lead on immunisation, said experience elsewhere in the country had similarly demonstrated that pharmacy-based schemes were causing disruption for practices but not helping to boost uptake.

He said: ‘All it does is add complexity and confusion to the process rather than producing any greater benefits in terms of numbers of vaccinated.’

He added that the GPC wanted to reinstate national publicity campaigns to promote flu vaccinations, despite Department of Health claims they were ineffective.

‘The more the Department of Health and Public Health England can promote vaccination the better there is no loss and only gain to be made if it is more widely promoted whether through direct publicity or articles in the media.’

A spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) told Pulse ‘there is evidence for the positive impact that pharmacies can have on [flu vaccine] delivery rates’.

The PSNC spokesperson added: ‘There is also evidence that patients strongly welcome the additional choice that alternative providers allow them.’

 

For even  More  Medical Trouble  with lost patients and  GPs’ cut backs, please log into fmsglobalnews.wordpress.com

Back tomorrow I hope. Jeanne

 

 

 

SMOKE THIS!

SMOKE THIS! PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS OF E-CIGARETTES

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 11-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Kids + Chemical Safety Science Outreach & Initiative

Smoking PIC.

Newswise — Smoking (or “vaping”) with an e-cigarette creates an inhalable form of nicotine that the user can breathe in, just like a normal cigarette. In fact, many e-cigarettes are designed to look just like a regular cigarette, cigar, or pipe. However, one big difference between an e-cigarette and a regular cigarette is that an e-cigarette does not contain tobacco. Instead, an e-cigarette contains a compact, battery-powered device that heats a replaceable cartridge containing a liquid mixture. The liquid mixture is vaporized by an anodizing device, and delivered to the user as an inhalable vapor.

The liquid mixture in the cartridge usually contains nicotine, which is the highly addictive drug that is also present in traditional tobacco products. Therefore, an e-cigarette is designed to deliver a dose of nicotine to the user, while greatly reducing or eliminating exposure to many (albeit not all) of the other harmful substances that are present in traditional tobacco products.

E-cigarette use is becoming more popular among teenagers, so it is important for parents to understand how their use may be harmful to children. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study using data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey, during the period from 2011 – 2012, e-cigarette use doubled among middle school females, high school females, and middle school males, and increased more than 60% among high school males.

This increase was attributed, in part, to increased availability and marketing of e-cigarettes, as well as the perception amongst young adults that the devices are safer than traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Furthermore, the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes very often contains flavoring additives and other sweeteners. This type of marketing can convince young adults to try e-cigarettes for the first time, which can lead to nicotine addiction. There is currently a debate among health experts as to whether e-cigarettes may be considered a “gateway drug” and encourage children and young adults to also experiment with traditional tobacco products and marijuana.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed survey data from nearly 40,000 US middle and high school students, and found that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes. Further study is clearly warranted to comprehensively address the “gateway drug” concern.

A laboratory analysis was conducted on samples of e-cigarettes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009. Several findings raised concern regarding the safety of e-cigarettes. The liquid mixture added to e-cigarette cartridges contained detectable concentrations of several chemicals, including nitrosamines, anabasine, myosmine, beta-nicotyrine, and diethylene glycol, all of which are known to be toxic to humans.

Furthermore, although many e-cigarette liquid cartridges are labeled as containing low amounts of nicotine, the FDA analysis found that the actual amount of nicotine contained within the “e-liquid” or “liquid nicotine” used to fill the e-cigarette cartridges was highly variable and unpredictable compared to the level of nicotine specified on the labels of liquid nicotine bottles.

There are currently no safeguards or quality controls in place to confirm that the level of nicotine advertised on the label of a liquid nicotine bottle is the actual amount present.

The FDA has stated its intention to regulate e-cigarettes, which would include banning the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18, requiring manufacturers to register with the FDA so they can be monitored for safety and quality, and further requiring manufacturers to substantiate marketing claims using scientific evidence. However, this regulatory action is only in its initial stages, so these products are effectively unregulated and manufacturers may market them to individuals of any age.

Perhaps even more concerning is a noticeable increase in the frequency of accidental exposure to the e-cigarette cartridge liquid among young children. The CDC analyzed data on e-cigarette related calls to U.S. poison control centers from September 2010 through February 2014, and found that e-cigarette exposure calls increased on a per month basis from one call in September 2010 to 215 calls in February 2014.

Approximately 51% of these calls related to accidental exposure to children of less than six years of age, and 68.9% of the calls were related to accidental ingestion of the liquid mixture. Ingestion of nicotine at high doses can lead to nausea, rapid heart rate, and perspiration, followed by a slowing of the heart rate with a fall in blood pressure.

At very high concentrations, nicotine can cause paralysis of the muscles that control breathing, which can lead to death. Exposure via contact with the skin is also of concern, which can cause irritation, redness, or an allergic reaction in addition to the symptoms listed above, due to absorption of nicotine from the surface of the skin into the bloodstream.

It is important to remember that the safety claims being made by e-cigarette manufacturers have not been validated by any scientific or regulatory body, and that there have been serious questions raised in regard to the marketing of these products to children and teenagers, the potential of e-cigarettes to serve as a “gateway drug” among teenagers, and the demonstrated toxicity of the liquid nicotine mixture in young children following accidental exposure through ingestion and/or the skin.

Parents can encourage their children to avoid e-cigarette use by talking to them about the dangers of smoking in general, and including e-cigarettes in an overall discussion of avoiding cigarette and tobacco use.

Parents should also consider avoiding use of e-cigarettes and instead use FDA recommended products for smoking cessation such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum. If e-cigarettes are used in the household, extreme care must be exercised in keeping the e-cigarette cartridges and the liquid nicotine refills safely stored out of the reach of young children to prevent accidental exposure.

 

AIR POLLUTION MAY AFFECT LEVELS OF OBESITY-RELATED HORMONE

Higher Exposure to Traffic Pollutants Linked to Increased Leptin Levels

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 8-Sep-2014
Source:   Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   By Dr G Wellenius            Citations Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine`

 

Newswise —Higher exposure to one measure of traffic-related air pollution is associated with higher levels of the obesity-related hormone leptin in older adults, reports a study in the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Gregory A. Wellenius, ScD, of Brown University and colleagues analyzed the relationship between measures of traffic-related air pollution and blood leptin levels in 765 Boston-area older adults. Higher levels of leptin, an “inflammatory cytokine,” have been linked to increased rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

The results showed a significant association between exposure to black carbon—a measure of fine-particle air pollution from traffic sources—and leptin levels. Participants with higher exposure to black carbon were less likely to be white, had lower incomes, and had higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.

But even after adjustment for these differences, average leptin levels were 27 percent higher for older adults in the highest category of black carbon exposure. An alternative measure of exposure to traffic-related pollution—residential distance to the nearest major roadway—was unrelated to leptin levels. The estimates of black carbon exposure “likely reflect contributions from traffic on a wider range of roadways in the immediate vicinity of each participant’s home,” the researchers write.

While the study cannot prove any causal link, the link between black carbon exposure and leptin levels may help to explain observed increases in cardiovascular disease risk associated with air pollution—especially from traffic.

Dr Wellenius and colleagues conclude, “If confirmed, these findings support the emerging evidence suggesting that certain sources of traffic pollution may be associated with adverse cardiometabolic effects.”

About ACOEM
ACOEM  is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.

 

MEDITATION MAY MITIGATE MIGRAINE MISERY

 From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 11-Sep-2014                           Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Citations Headache

 

Newswise — WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Meditation might be a path to migraine relief, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“Stress is a well-known trigger for headaches and research supports the general benefits of mind/body interventions for migraines, but there has not been much research to evaluate specific standardized meditation interventions,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study published in the online edition of the journal Headache.

The study was designed to assess the safety, feasibility and effects of a standardized meditation and yoga intervention called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with migraines.

Nineteen adults were randomly assigned to two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care. The participants attended eight weekly classes to learn MBSR techniques and were instructed to practice 45 minutes on their own at least five additional days per week.

Study participants were evaluated before and after the trial period using objective measures of disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness. They also maintained headache logs throughout the trial to capture the frequency, severity and duration of their migraines.

“We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer migraines that were less severe,” Wells said. “Secondary effects included headaches that were shorter in duration and less disabling, and participants had increases in mindfulness and self-efficacy — a sense of personal control over their migraines. In addition, there were no adverse events and excellent adherence.”

Specifically, the MBSR participants had 1.4 fewer migraines per month that were less severe, effects that did not reach statistical significance. The participants’ headaches were significantly shorter as compared to the control group.

Based on these findings, the research team concluded that MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with migraines. Although the sample size of this pilot study was too small to detect statistically significant changes in migraine frequency or severity, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness.

Future studies with larger sample sizes are planned to further evaluate the impact and mechanisms of this intervention in adults with migraines, Wells said.

“For the approximate 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, there is big need for non-pharmaceutical treatment strategies, and doctors and patients should know that MBSR is a safe intervention that could potentially decrease the impact of migraines,” Wells said.

The study was supported financially by the American Headache Society Fellowship and the Headache Research Fund of the John Graham Headache Center, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.

Co-authors are Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D., of Wake Forest Baptist; Rebecca Burch, M.D., Elizabeth Loder, M.D., Randall H. Paulsen, M.D., and Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

 

See you tomorrow. Jeanne

NEW LIDOCAINE OR COLLAGEN PAIN KILLER PATCH

NUS RESEARCHERS INVENT NOVEL MICRONEEDLE PATCH FOR FASTER AND EFFECTIVE DELIVERY OF PAINKILLER AND COLLAGEN

The innovative transdermal delivery system boasts shorter fabrication time and commercial scalability

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 5-Sep-2014
Source: National University of Singapore Citations Molecular Pharmaceutics

 

Newswise — Individuals who are squeamish about injections or are looking for a way to let collagen penetrate deeper into the skin may soon have a solution that is faster, more effective and painless. The key lies in a small adhesive patch topped with minuscule needles that is pioneered by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The research team, led by Dr Kang Lifeng of the Department of Pharmacy at the NUS Faculty of Science, has successfully developed a simple technique to encapsulate lidocaine, a common painkiller, or collagen in the tiny needles attached to an adhesive patch. When applied to the skin, the microneedles deliver the drug or collagen rapidly into the skin without any discomfort to the user.

This innovation could be used clinically to administer painkiller non-invasively to patients, or in home care settings for patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes and cancer. In addition, the novel transdermal delivery system could also be used for cosmetic and skincare purposes to deliver collagen to inner skin layers.

Non-invasive delivery of drugs for effective pain relief

Faster delivery of painkillers is key to effective management of acute and chronic pain conditions. Currently, such drugs are mainly administered through invasive injections, or through the use of conventional transdermal patches, which may have limited efficiency due to variability of drug absorption among individuals.

To address the clinical gap, Dr Kang, together with Dr Jaspreet Singh Kochhar, who had recently graduated from NUS with a doctorate degree in Pharmacy, and their team members, used a photolithography based process to fabricate a novel transdermal patch with polymeric microneedles. The tiny needles are encapsulated with lidocaine, a common painkiller known for its pain-relief property.

Laboratory experiments showed that the novel microneedles patch can deliver lidocaine within five minutes of application while a commercial lidocaine patch takes 45 minutes for the drug to penetrate into the skin. The shorter time for drug delivery is made possible as the miniature needles on the patch create micrometre-sized porous channels in the skin to deliver the drug rapidly. As the needle shafts are about 600 micro-meters in length, they do not cause any perceivable pain on the skin.

The patch also comprises a reservoir system to act as channels for drugs to be encapsulated in backing layers, circumventing the premature closure of miniaturised pores created by the microneedles. This facilitates continued drug permeation. In addition, the size of patch could be easily adjusted to encapsulate different drug dosages.

By delivering painkillers faster into the body through the skin, patients could potentially experience faster pain relief. In addition, enabling a larger amount of lidocaine to permeate through the skin could potentially reduce the time needed to apply the patch and this reduces the likelihood of patients developing skin irritation.

This novel technique was first reported in the scientific journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Enabling deeper penetration of collagen into the skin

To expand their research on potential applications of the microneedles patch, the NUS team conducted a study to explore its effectiveness in delivering collagen into skin.

The researchers encapsulated collagen in the microneedles and tested the transdermal delivery of collagen using the novel technique. They found that collagen can be delivered up to the dermis layer of the skin, while current skincare products can only deliver to the outermost layer of skin.

The findings of this study were first published earlier this year in the scientific journal Pharmaceutical Research.

Further research to expand application of novel microneedles patch

As their novel technique for drug delivery is non-invasive and easy to use, the NUS team envisioned that the microneedles patch has great potential for applications in clinical and home care settings for the management of perioperative pain and chronic pain in patients suffering from conditions like diabetes and cancer.

The innovative patch could also have paediatric applications. Dr Kang explained, “One prospective application is during vaccination for babies. The patch can be applied on the baby’s arm five minutes before the jab, for the painkiller to set in. In this way, vaccination can potentially be painless for babies.”

The research team intends to conduct clinical testing of the painkiller patch to further ascertain its effectiveness for clinical applications. They will also be conducting clinical studies to examine the efficacy of delivering collagen for cosmetic and skincare purposes.

Recognising that their novel transdermal delivery system is easy to fabricate and commercially scalable, the research team is also keen to work with industry partners to commercialise their work.

The researchers have filed a patent for their technique through the NUS Industry Liaison Office, which is part of NUS Enterprise.

 

‘MISSOURI MEDICINE’ TURNS TO SLU FOR VACCINE RESEARCH INSIGHTS

“Prevention is better than cure”

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 8-Sep-2014
Source Newsroom: Saint Louis University Medical Center

Vaccine Research PIC. DanielHoft

Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., is director of the division of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology at Saint Louis University. Last September, the NIH selected SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development as one of an elite group of nine centers to study vaccines that protect public health. The vaccine center has been funded by the NIH for 25 years.

Newswise — ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University researchers are attacking influenza on multiple fronts as they search for a universal vaccine that protects people from the flu virus that often mutates year to year with deadly consequences.

Their progress, as well as the efforts of other researchers in SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development who are working to protect people from different infectious diseases, is chronicled in the July/August issue of Missouri Medicine, which focuses on vaccine research.

“As evidenced by the current Ebola outbreak, there are no other potential world health problems that threaten massive death and illness as much as infectious diseases. Some of medicine’s greatest triumphs have been in the field of vaccine development,” said John C. Hagan III, M.D., editor of Missouri Medicine.

“As an internationally known research facility it was natural for Missouri Medicine: The Journal of the Missouri State Medicine to invite the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University Medical Center to prepare the theme scientific articles for our July/August 2014 issue.”

Formed at SLU 25 years ago and continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Center of Vaccine Development has been instrumental in developing numerous vaccines that protect public health including the FLUMist nasal spray influenza vaccine and vaccines against smallpox and other potential biological weapons post 9/11. The Center for Vaccine Development also was one of the leaders on national research into an H1N1 influenza vaccine, used to protect people from the pandemic that swept the nation in 2009.

Through the years, scientists at the center also have worked on vaccines for tuberculosis, herpes simplex, hepatitis C, Dengue, pneumonia, meningitis and pertussis. They have conducted more than 100 clinical trials that have enrolled about 7,000 community volunteers.

During the last quarter century, their work has received more than $150 million in funding from various NIH contracts and grants as well as funding from multinational foundations. SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development expects to receive an additional $50 to $75 million by 2023 from its recent contract as a federally funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU).

In the July/August issue of Missouri Medicine, SLU researchers described their work to prevent several serious infectious diseases. Here is a link to their articles.

Influenza: Thousands of U.S. residents – typically those who are elderly, young children and pregnant women — die of complications of the flu every year. In addition, an influenza pandemic hits middle-aged and younger adults harder than those of other ages.

“Influenza remains a major problem causing significant illness and death annually. In addition, periodic pandemics present the potential for 10 to 100 fold increased mortality,” write Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., director of the division of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology at SLU, and Robert Belshe, M.D., director of SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development. “The Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development is highly engaged in multiple efforts to generate universally relevant influenza vaccines.”

The Center for Vaccine Development is working on several types of flu vaccines. For instance, a two part vaccine potentially primes the body for infection with molecules from one influenza virus and enhances its ability to fight flu by boosting with molecules from a different influenza virus. Another vaccine uses two inactivated parts of a virus that the body had not seen to induce immunity against infection with a new strain of influenza. Vaccines are designed to induce broad antibodies that neutralize the virus. And new vaccines being tested have the potential to marshal infection-fighting T cell proteins into action to battle a new flu strain.

Tuberculosis: The bacteria that causes tuberculosis infects one-third of the world’s population and between one and two million people die of complications from tuberculosis each year. The current Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) tuberculosis vaccine protects most children from death and the most severe complications from TB.

However the vaccine does not reliably prevent TB infection and lung-related TB disease in adults.

“Improved TB vaccines are urgently needed,” writes Hoft. “Increasing rates of resistance to drugs that treat TB threaten to render all of our current regimens useless and the HIV pandemic has greatly amplified the risks of TB infection, transmission and disease progression.”

Partially backed by the Aeras Foundation, which is supported in part from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development has studied several vaccine approaches to protect against TB. These include oral and nasal spray versions of the current BCG vaccine, new vaccines that rev up T cells to induce immunity against TB and a vaccine that uses an adenovirus to deliver an antigen causing the body to produce antibodies and T cells that fight TB. In addition, Hoft is researching a new vaccine testing process in hopes of identifying strategies to accelerate the search for new and effective tuberculosis vaccines.

Smallpox: Although smallpox has been eliminated through vaccination, the U.S. government is concerned that the virus that causes the deadly disease could intentionally be used as a bioterror weapon. SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development has been on the forefront of smallpox vaccine research.

Sharon Frey, M.D., clinical director of the Center for Vaccine Development, led research published in 2002 that showed the government’s store of existing Dryvax smallpox vaccine could be diluted to protect 10 times more people. Since that time, Frey has studied new vaccines for smallpox that appear to offer similar protection to Dryvax, which have been added to the national strategic stockpile of medicines to protect the American public.

“Immunoinformatics and systems biology will provide newer tools for the development of new smallpox vaccines,” Frey writes. “Saint Louis University continues to participate in NIH-funded smallpox and other important biodefense vaccine studies.”

Dengue: At least half the world’s population is at risk for dengue virus, which is spread by the Aedes mosquito. Up to 390 million people worldwide are infected with dengue virus each year, about 100 million develop dengue fever and 22,000 die.

Five dengue vaccines currently are being tested in humans. “Dengue vaccine development has advanced considerably in the past 10 years and it is hoped an effective vaccine will be available soon,” writes Sarah George, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases, allergy and immunology at SLU. George has conducted two first in-human clinical trials of dengue vaccines at SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development.

Barriers to vaccination: Vaccines prevent diseases and deaths, yet some people are not getting recommended vaccinations. Edwin Anderson, M.D., research professor in infectious diseases at SLU, examined how to address the problem.

“The successful prevention of severe infectious diseases by vaccination is without question. Despite this success, there is room for improvement among adults and children,” Anderson writes.

While vaccinations have prevented more than 100 million cases of eight contagious diseases, there have been resurgences of measles, rubella, mumps and pertussis – illnesses for which we have vaccines.

Among Anderson’s multiple suggestions to improve vaccination rates: physicians must play a key role in dispelling misconceptions parents might have in vaccinating their children and clearly communicate with parents and office medical staff that vaccines should be timed according to published guidelines. In addition, doctors should discuss vaccinations with adult patients to educate them and simplify procedures to make it easier to get vaccines.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.

In publication since 1904, Missouri Medicine is a peer-reviewed, indexed, award-winning medical journal printed on acid-free paper. The journal has content linked with PUBMED CENTRAL and is included in MEDLINE and EBSCOhost data bases.

 

PESKY INSECT INSPIRES PRACTICAL TECHNOLOGY

Inspired by the Compound Eyes of Common Fly, Penn State Researchers Determine How to Make Miniature Omnidirectional Sources of Light and Optical Sensors

From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Embargoed: 9-Sep-2014
Source: American Institute of Physics (AIP) Citations Applied Physics Letters

 

Newswise — WASHINGTON D.C., September 9, 2014 – In our vain human struggle to kill flies, our hands and swatters often come up lacking. This is due to no fault of our own, but rather to flies’ compound eyes. Arranged in a hexagonal, convex pattern, compound eyes consist of hundreds of optical units called ommatidia, which together bestow upon flies a nearly 360-degree field of vision. With this capability in mind, a team of researchers at Pennsylvania State University is drawing on this structure to create miniature light-emitting devices and optical sensors.

“We were inspired by those eyes,” said Raúl J. Martín-Palma, an adjunct professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. “We said, ‘OK, we can make something artificial using the same replicating structure to emit light in all directions, rather than what we have now, which is just planar, light-emitting diodes.’” Martín-Palma has been involved in work with ‘bioinspiration,’ in which ideas and concepts from nature are implemented in different fields of science and engineering, for the past seven years. He and fellow researchers describe their work in the journal Applied Physics Letters, which is produced by AIP Publishing.

Theoretical analysis of the compound eyes’ optical properties was complicated by the ommaditias’ nanonipples, 200-nanometer, tapered projections whose minute size make simulated calculations nearly impossible, due to its unpredictable scattering of light.

“It is much easier to just go ahead and fabricate the actual device and see what happens,” Martín-Palma said. So they did.

To test the structure’s light-scattering properties, the researchers extracted corneas from blow flies and coated them with a 900-nm-thick layer of tris(8-hydroxyquinolinato)aluminum, a well-known fluorescent polymer. They then induced the modified surface to emit visible light by exposing it to diffuse ultraviolet light.

When compared to a similarly coated flat surface, the modified ommatidia demonstrated a lesser angular dependence of emission, meaning that they tended to scatter light more uniformly in all directions.

“By coating the eyes, we were able to have a better light emission, or a better angular distribution of light emission,” Martín-Palma said.

This increased emission and angular distribution means that the pattern of the fly’s cornea could soon be adapted into extremely minute light-emitting diodes and detectors, which would be able to process light output and input from a staggeringly wide field of vision.

While the corneas used in the experiment were taken from fruit flies, Martín-Palma and his colleagues do not advocate the mass harvesting of flies to create light sources.

“We have already developed a technique to mass-replicate biotemplates at the nanoscale, including compound eyes of insects,” Martín-Palma said. “So now when we want to make 100 bioreplicated eyes, we don’t have to kill 50 flies. We can make multiple copies out of one template.”

The next step in Martín-Palma’s research is to expand the coating procedure to include other species’ compound eyes, in order to identify the optimal structure for omni-directional light emission. Future work also includes fabricating a light-emitting diode in the shape of a compound eye, and ultimately creating omni-directional light detectors.

ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Applied Physics Letters features concise, rapid reports on significant new findings in applied physics. The journal covers new experimental and theoretical research on applications of physics phenomena related to all branches of science, engineering, and modern technology