Research focuses on validity of natural experiments to find effective solution to obesity pandemic

Banning sodas from school vending machines, building walking paths and playgrounds, adding supermarkets to food deserts and requiring nutritional labels on restaurant menus: Such changes to the environments where people live and work are among the growing number of solutions that have been proposed and attempted in efforts to stem the rising obesity epidemic with viable, population-based solutions. But which of these changes actually make an impact?

To answer that question, many public health researchers take advantage of "natural experiments"--looking at people's calorie consumption or physical activity levels, either comparing before and after a policy or environmental change, or comparing against a similar group of people not affected by that change. But not all natural experiments are created equal.

Fast-growing regulatory affairs service provider ELC Group expands corporate presence in Czech Republic

Cambridge, UK, 24th February 2015 – ELC Group, one of the fastest-growing providers of regulatory affairs services, today announces that it is expanding its office presence in Prague in the Czech Republic due to accelerating company growth. From May, ELC Group will be occupying nearly 2000 square metres of offices at Danube House, located in the prime River City Prague business district.

The move is being fuelled by ELC Group’s rapidly expanding customer base, which includes recent major contract wins in China and the US. The increased office space will accommodate ELC Group’s growing team of project management staff and subject matter experts, with staff numbers based in the Czech capital set to almost double within the next three months.

Reseach shows that vitamin D may have impact on development of uterine fibroids

Women who had sufficient amounts of vitamin D were 32 percent less likely to develop fibroids than women with insufficient vitamin D, according to a study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomata, are noncancerous tumors of the uterus. Fibroids often result in pain and bleeding in premenopausal women, and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States.

Research shows US children with psoriasis have highest odds of obesity

CHICAGO --- The largest study of physician-treated children with psoriasis around the world shows children with the skin disease are about twice as likely to be overweight or obese as children who don't have the disease, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

And US children with psoriasis have much higher odds than psoriatic children in other countries of being obese or overweight.

In the US, children with psoriasis had four times the odds of being overweight or obese as healthy controls. Within this US population, Hispanics and African American children had significantly greater rates of being obese and overweight than whites and Asians. The odds ratio of being obese were particularly high for U.S. children with more severe psoriasis (7.6).

New nanotechnology can be used for Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, food allergies and asthma

CHICAGO --- In a breakthrough for nanotechnology and multiple sclerosis, a biodegradable nanoparticle turns out to be the perfect vehicle to stealthily deliver an antigen that tricks the immune system into stopping its attack on myelin and halt a model of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

The new nanotechnology also can be applied to a variety of immune-mediated diseases including Type 1 diabetes, food allergies and airway allergies such as asthma.

In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin membrane that insulates nerves cells in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals can't be effectively conducted, resulting in symptoms that range from mild limb numbness to paralysis or blindness. About 80 percent of MS patients are diagnosed with the relapsing remitting form of the disease.

Emerging evidence suggests many pregnant women are deficient in omega-3

Low levels of omega-3 may be behind postpartum depression, according to a review lead by Gabriel Shapiro of the University of Montreal and the Research Centre at the Sainte-Justine Mother and Child Hospital. Women are at the highest risk of depression during their childbearing years, and the birth of a child may trigger a depressive episode in vulnerable women. Postpartum depression is associated with diminished maternal health as well as developmental and health problems for her child. "The literature shows that there could be a link between pregnancy, omega-3 and the chemical reaction that enables serotonin, a mood regulator, to be released into our brains," Shapiro said. "Many women could bring their omega-3 intake to recommended levels." The findings were announced by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry on November 15, 2012.

Pancreas stem cell discovery may lead to new diabetes treatments

Stem cells in the adult pancreas have been identified that can be turned into insulin producing cells, a finding that means people with type 1 diabetes might one day be able to regenerate their own insulin-producing cells.

The discovery was made by scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and provides further evidence that stem cells don’t only occur in the embryo.

Researchers discover a rare genetic mutation that increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease

Researchers from Nottingham have played their part in the discovery of a rare genetic mutation that increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, in a study with major implications for understanding the causes of the disease.

The international team, which involved a research team led by Kevin Morgan, Professor of Human Genomics and Molecular Genetics at The University of Nottingham, used data from more than 25,000 people to link a rare variant of the TREM2 gene — which is known to play a role in the immune system — to a higher risk of Alzheimer's.

The discovery is the first so-called 'Goldilocks' variant associated with Alzheimer's Disease, because it's prevalence is 'just right — it's common enough to be identified in large populations but rare enough to point to a genetic mutation that potentially could have a significant role in identifying risk factors for the disease.

Research shows women with migraines did not appear to experience a decline in cognitive ability

Women with migraines did not appear to experience a decline in cognitive ability over time compared to those who didn’t have them, according to a nine-year follow up study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The study also showed that women with migraine had a higher likelihood of having brain changes that appeared as bright spots on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a type of imaging commonly used to evaluate tissues of the body.

"The fact that there is no evidence of cognitive loss among these women is good news," said Linda Porter, Ph.D., pain health science policy advisor in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which provided funding for the study. "We’ve known for a while that women with migraine tend to have these brain changes as seen on MRI. This nine-year study is the first of its kind to provide long-term follow-up looking for associated risk."

The use of helmets by skiers and snowboarders decreases the risk and severity of head injuries and saves lives

The use of helmets by skiers and snowboarders decreases the risk and severity of head injuries and saves lives, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests. The findings debunk long-held beliefs by some that the use of helmets gives athletes a false sense of security and promotes dangerous behavior that might increase injuries.

"There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets," says Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the leader of the study published in the November issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. "By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow."

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