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Bariatric Surgery An Option Of Diabetics

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, August 23, 2007 
             "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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         Common virus may contribute to obesity

BATON ROUGE, La., -- A U.S. study suggested that infection 
with a common virus might be a contributing factor in the 
development of obesity. Louisiana State University resear-
chers said they've found laboratory evidence that infection 
with human adenovirus-36 -- long recognized as a cause of 
respiratory and eye infections -- transforms adult stem 
cells obtained from fat tissue into fat cells. Stem cells 
not exposed to the virus, in contrast, were unchanged. In 
addition the researchers at LSU's Pennington Biomedical 
Research Center identified a specific gene in the virus that
appears to be involved in the obesity-promoting effect. 
"We're not saying that a virus is the only cause of obesity 
but this study provides stronger evidence that some obesity 
cases may involve viral infections," said Dr. Magdalena 
Pasarica. The findings, which could lead to a vaccine or 
antiviral medication to help fight viral obesity, were 
presented Monday in Boston during the 234th national meeting
of the American Chemical Society.


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        Hydrogen peroxide may be disease indicator
ATLANTA, -- U.S. scientists have, for the first time, imaged
hydrogen peroxide in animals as an early indicator of dis-
ease. Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University 
researchers created a nanoparticle capable of detecting and 
imaging trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide in animals. The 
scientists said such non-toxic nanoparticles might be used 
as a simple, all-purpose diagnostic tool to detect the earl-
iest stages of any chronic inflammatory disease, such as 
cancer, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. Hydrogen peroxide
is thought to be over-produced by cells during the early 
stages of most diseases. But since there have been no ima-
ging techniques available to capture that process in the 
body, details of how hydrogen peroxide is produced and its 
role in a developing disease must still be determined. 
"These nanoparticles are incredibly sensitive so you can 
detect nanomolar concentrations of hydrogen peroxide," said 
Niren Murthy of Georgia Tech. "That's important because 
researchers aren't yet certain what amounts of hydrogen per-
oxide are present in various diseases." The research led by 
Murthy and Robert Taylor at Emory University will appear in 
journal Nature Materials.
          Advanced prosthetic arm is developed
NASHVILLE, -- U.S. scientists have developed a mechanical 
arm powered by a miniature rocket motor that is the closest 
thing yet to a bionic arm. Vanderbilt University researchers
created the prototype device as part of a $30 million fed-
eral program to advance prosthetic device technology. "Our 
design … is closer in terms of function and power to a human
arm than any previous prosthetic device that is self-powered
and weighs about the same as a natural arm," said Professor 
Michael Goldfarb, who led the research. The prototype can 
lift about 20 to 25 pounds -- three to four times more than 
current commercial arms -- and can do so three to four times
faster. The Vanderbilt arm is believed the most unconvent-
ional of three prosthetic arms under development. The other 
two are being designed by researchers at Johns Hopkins Univ-
ersity in Baltimore. The federal program is also supporting 
teams of neuroscientists at the University of Utah, the 
California Institute of Technology and the Rehabilitation 
Institute of Chicago who are developing advanced methods for
controlling the arms by connecting them to nerves in the 
users' bodies or brains.


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        U.S. Ag Dept. gives $5.5M to study E. coli

WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. Agriculture Department announced it 
will award nearly $5.5 million to support collaborative 
research into E. coli contamination. Department of Agricul-
ture Secretary Mike Johanns said the funding will help pro-
duce producers identify the sources of E. coli O157:H7 and 
ways to avoid contamination. Agricultural Research Service 
scientist Rob Mandrell and colleagues at the University of 
California will use the money to continue research in the 
Central Valley of California. During the next three years 
ARS will contribute $5 million and the Agriculture Depart-
ment's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension 
Service will contribute $470,999 to the project. Mandrell 
will attempt to determine where E. coli O157:H7 contaminat-
ion originates, how it survives on plants and what factors 
lead to an increase in produce-related outbreaks. Potential 
risk factors include animals, land practices, packing and 
processing processes and wildlife. Outbreaks of E. coli 
O157:H7 illness associated with fresh lettuce or spinach 
have previously been associated with pre-harvest contamin-

       Bird flu and human flu are differentiated

MEMPHIS, -- A U.S. study has found specific key differences 
between bird flu and human flu that might be used to monitor
emerging pandemics. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 
investigators found mutations linked with immune suppression
and viral replications differ between bird and human flu 
viruses and might distinguish influenza viruses found in 
birds from those that infect humans. The St. Jude team used 
a mathematical technique to identify specific amino acid 
building blocks that are statistically more likely to appear
in avian influenza virus proteins and those that are more 
likely to be in human influenza virus proteins. The differ-
ences, they said, can be used as markers to track changes in
H5N1 avian influenza strains that threaten humans. "Influ-
enza mutates rapidly, so that any marker that is not the 
same in bird flu, but remains stable in human flu, is likely
to be important," said David Finkelstein of the St. Jude 
Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology. "If 
human specific markers start accumulating in bird flu vir-
uses that infect humans, that suggests the bird flu may be 
adapting to humans and could spread." The study appears in 
the advanced online edition of the Journal of Virology.

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       Bariatric surgery an option of diabetics

NEW YORK, -- Some U.S. and European doctors are recommending
bariatric surgery for the most common form of diabetes. 
Studies have found that more than 75 percent of patients 
with Type 2 diabetes who undergo the surgery see their dis-
ease disappear, The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday.
Advocates of bariatric surgery, however, say it is too early
to recommend it for most diabetics. The surgery, which 
shrinks the stomach and sometimes reroutes the intestines, 
can lead to serious complications. The death rate is esti-
mated at between one in 100 and one in 1,000. "As a primary 
treatment for diabetes, it simply doesn't measure up very 
well," Richard Hellman, president of the American Associat-
ion of Clinical Endocrinologists, told the newspaper. Bari-
atric surgery is recommended for morbidly obese patients who
are at least 100 pounds overweight or about 75 pounds over-
weight and also have diabetes or other related conditions.


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