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University offers cash for deliberate weight gain
Date: 2012-10-03 22:14:54

Harkening back to the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, wherein filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's for a month, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are paying study participants as much as $3,500 to consume a diet that will surely increase the results of their cholesterol testing.

According to ABC News, Dr. Samuel Klein is investigating the development of diabetes and hypertension in overweight and obese individuals by asking people to sign up to consume 1,000 extra calories worth of fast food every day for three months in order to gain 5 to 6 percent of their original body mass.

Those who volunteered for the research were paid $50 to lose whatever weight they gained after the study was complete. ABC News reported that one woman gained 16 pounds after eight weeks of extra fast food, and reported feeling "awful" two weeks in. A man who already weighed almost 250 pounds told the new source that his knees and ankles began to ache after four weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that dangerously high blood cholesterol is asymptomatic. Therefore, it is important to routinely undergo cholesterol testing to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

... Full Story

Exercise could turn "bad" cholesterol into "good" cholesterol, study says
Date: 2012-10-09 22:23:55

A plethora of scientific evidence shows that taking up an exercise routine can, over time, lower the results of cholesterol tests. However, new findings published in the Journal Lipid Research indicates that a workout schedule could lead to fat cells producing a hormone that creates high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" kind of cholesterol.

"When you exercise and diet, you're improving the function of your adipose tissue, your heart and vascular systems, and even muscle performance," said lead study author Christine Ballantyne, director for the Methodist's Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. "You're getting a lot of benefits that you may not see by just looking at the weight on a scale."

Researchers came to this conclusion by examining data of overweight or obese individuals who had a positive result from a blood test for diabetes and signed up for study that would monitor them while they switched to a much healthier lifestyle. Their blood was periodically drawn to test for HDL and other substances.

According to the American Diabetes Association, results from a cholesterol test showing high amounts of low-density lipoprotein increase the odds of receiving a similarly gloomy result from a blood test for diabetes.

... Full Story

Exercise can increase cognitive function
Date: 2012-10-29 21:38:53

A new study conducted by Martin Juneau, M.D., of the Montreal Heart Institute, has revealed that exercise can help improve cognitive functions like quick thinking, recalling information and fast decision making.

The research, which was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, looked at overweight adults who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Their cognitive function, blood flow to the brain, cardiac output and ability to tolerate exercise was measured before they undertook a four-month exercise regimen, in which they did an exercise bike and circuit weight lifting routine twice a week. After the four months, their weight, body mass index and waist circumference decreased, while their ability to handle exercise went up. The results also showed that the more weight they lost, the more their cognitive function increased.

"If you talk to people who exercise, they say they feel sharper. Now we've found a way to measure that," said Juneau.

Juneau also reported that while people can take a pill to manage high blood pressure or reduce cholesterol, which can be detected with cholesterol testing, exercise has the ability to do both while also making people smarter.

Benefits of exercise... Full Story

Researchers prepare for new blood pressure treatment study
Date: 2012-10-30 19:29:35

Researchers at Baylor Health Care System plan to conduct a study that will test the effects of renal denervation on high blood pressure. Renal denervation is a surgical procedure in which heat produced from radio frequencies decreases the activity of the central nervous system by reducing nerve communication with the kidneys, which can cause high blood pressure.

"The sympathetic nervous system controls blood pressure and can cause hypertension initiated by life and stress," said research author David L. Brown, M.D. "This investigational device is being tested to determine if it will disrupt the sympathetic nervous system, which may significantly lower blood pressure, stop multiple antihypertensive medications, and have an effect on other conditions affected by the sympathetic nervous system."

The study will be comprised of participants who have systolic blood pressure over 160 and currently take three to five different blood pressure medications, but are still unable to bring their blood pressure down to healthy levels. One group of the participants will receive the renal denervation surgery while the other will act as a control, but only the study investigators will know who belongs to which group.

Study author Sonia Prashar, M.S., CCRC, of the Heart Hospital, reported that studies in the past have shown that the renal derivation has been effective in lowering blood pressure.

High blood pressure facts... Full Story

New intervention shown to reduce the effects of autism
Date: 2012-10-30 14:33:07
A new study, published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has revealed that a new intervention system, which utilizes a combination of therapy approaches, called the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) may be helpful in normalizing brain activity in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).... Full Story

Numerous factors contribute to rising healthcare costs
Date: 2012-10-29 12:36:19
According to a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, the United States' healthcare costs are more than $2.6 trillion, which is greater than any other country in the world. The rising price of healthcare does not have one cause, and there are a myriad of factors that contribute to the increased expense of staying healthy.... Full Story

Cystic fibrosis gene carrier ordered to leave middle school
Date: 2012-10-21 19:29:18
Colman Chadam, an 11-year-old new student at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, California, has been ordered by school officials to transfer to another school district three miles away because he carries the genetic mutation linked to cystic fibrosis, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.... Full Story

Supplements may interfere with prescription drugs
Date: 2012-10-24 16:51:04
New research published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice reveals that certain herbs and dietary supplements (HDS) may cause harmful side effects in patients who are taking prescription drugs.... Full Story

Gastric band may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease
Date: 2012-10-23 16:16:10
A new study published online in the journal Heart, showed that bariatric surgery, which includes getting a restrictive band placed around the stomach and gastric bypass surgery, may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol levels, which can be detected with cholesterol testing.... Full Story

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