Switch that controls food intake found
MADISON, Wis., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said they've found a signaling pathway in the brain that regulates food intake,
The University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers said the findings could lead to a completely new approach to treating and preventing obesity, the university said Thursday in a release.
Dongsheng Cai, an assistant professor of physiology, said stimulating a cell-signaling pathway found in the brain's hypothalamus led mice to to increase their food consumption. Suppressing the pathway helped them maintain normal food intake and body weight.
The research stems from Cai's earlier explorations into metabolic inflammation, a chronic, low-grade condition consisting of inflammatory-like responses at the molecular level. One of the consequences is cellular dysfunction, which can decrease metabolism. Cai said scientists believe that metabolic inflammation may be at the core of many chronic, obesity-related metabolic disorders, the university said.
Employee sick leave may predict mortality
LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A report in the British Medical Journal suggests employees who take more sick leave are at higher risk of early death.
The study, conducted by University College London, looked at absence records for 6,478 British civil servants between 1985 and 1988 and then analyzed associations with death until 2004, the British Medical Journal said Thursday in a release.
The researchers found almost 30 percent of men and women who had one or more medically certified absence of more than seven days in three years had a 66 percent increased risk of premature death.
Employees who took sick leave due to circulatory disease were four times more likely to die prematurely, while those who took absence due to psychiatric diseases or a surgical operation were nearly twice as likely to die prematurely. The study, however, found employees taking sick leave because of musculoskeletal problems were not at an increased risk of death.
Obese choose speed, convenience at buffet
ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A study of diners at Chinese restaurant buffets in the United States suggests people who are overweight tend to sit closer to the buffet table.
The study by Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab found obese diners sat 16 feet closer to the buffet, positioned themselves so that they faced the buffet tables used larger plates and ate with forks instead of chopsticks. They also served themselves immediately instead of browsing the buffet and tended to chew their food less, the university said Friday in a release.
"What's crazy is that these people are generally unaware of what they're doing -- they're unaware of sitting closer, facing the food, chewing less and so on," lead author Brian Wanink said.
The study, published in the journal Obesity, observed 213 diners at 11 Chinese buffets across the country.
Hurricane leaves dirty water behind
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said Hurricane Ike had a profound impact on Lake Michigan, more than 1,000 miles from where it made landfall.
The U.S. Geological Survey said heavy rain from Hurricane Ike resulted in runoff from tributaries that dumped massive amounts of sediment into Lake Michigan. The sediment has contaminated the water, compromising near-shore navigation and raising E. coil bacteria to levels unsafe for swimming.
"The local effects that Ike had on Lake Michigan's Indiana shoreline, water depth and water quality have been profound," Richard Whitman, a USGS expert on beach health, said in a statement.
Whitman said rain was particularly damaging to parts of northwestern Indiana and Chicago because the ground was saturated by a stalled cold front.