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For February 22, 2018

  • Hormone Induces Weight Loss
    Hormone Induces Weight Loss

    Injections of Leptin Shown to Curb Appetite in Young Girl

    (MSNBC Health, September 15 1999) � For the first time, injections of the hormone leptin have been shown to curb appetite and induce weight loss in a human, a new study says. Scientists caused a stir four years ago when they announced that leptin could evoke weight loss in mice, but until now, a direct role in human obesity had not been confirmed.

    THE FINDINGS by doctors at Addenbrooke�s Hospital in Cambridge, England, provide important clues as researchers try to decipher the genetic and environmental factors in obesity. The work could lead to medical treatments for some forms of the condition. Leptin is a protein produced by fat cells. It is supposed to signal the brain to stop eating, but the signal does not get through properly in some overweight people.

    The study published in Thursday�s edition of The New England Journal of Medicine involved a severely overweight 9-year-old girl who suffered from a rare genetic defect in which her body produced virtually no leptin. While the girl�s condition is uncommon, the researchers, led by Dr. I Sadaf Farooqi, believe the findings have implications for the general population.

    Obesity is a major source of illness and death, and is the most common nutritional ailment in the United States, according to the Minnesota Obesity Center. The new work involved a girl from a Pakistani family who was born with a leptin deficiency. She was so overweight, she got liposuction at age six to remove fat from her legs and allow her to move around. She was constantly hungry and became disruptive when denied food.

    In 1997, when the girl was 9 and weighed 208 pounds, doctors began administering daily injections of leptin. With the shots, her weight gain stopped abruptly. Her mother and doctor found that the girl began eating far less food than before, and stopped craving between-meal snacks. She began losing 2 to 4 pounds per month. After a year of treatment, she had lost 36 pounds, virtually none of it muscle and all of it fat.

    In addition, her level of physical activity increased 19 percent during the first 12 months of therapy. �Treatment of this 9-year-old patient with congenital leptin deficiency with recombinant leptin led to a sustained reduction in weight, predominantly as a result of a loss of fat,� said Farooqi.


    In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Michael Rosenbaum and Dr. Rudolph Leibel of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons said further research on leptin �may help to move us closer to an effective pharmacologic treatment of obesity.� But many factors besides leptin affect weight, and people should not conclude that leptin injections would make losing weight easy, they added.

    If anything, leptin might help some people stick to a diet by curbing their hunger and aid in keeping the weight off, Rosenbaum said. �The only thing that we know is that it decreases appetite in this child and in a mouse,� Rosenbaum said. �It�s not the be-all and the end-all to promote effortless weight loss.�

    Leptin is being tested in ordinary fat people as an appetite suppressant. Preliminary findings from one study indicate that it isn�t a miracle cure, but shows some promise when combined with diet and exercise. Dr. Richard A. Dickey, President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, called the study �a great start,� adding that although doctors generally believe many factors are involved in human obesity, leptin is clearly important.

    �It�s very possible that this child is a clue to appetite control and weight gain across a large portion of the population,� he said. �I think that everybody�s excited about the role of leptin.�

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

  • Fat Loss in a Bottle
    Fat Loss in a Bottle

    Here are some nutritional supplements on the market that can help your weight-loss process along.

    Originally featured in: Men's Fitness May, 1999

    It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but thermogenesis could be the secret to losing your love handles.

    Literally meaning "the creation of heat," it involves cranking up the calorie- and fat-burning processes in your body. While exercise and diet are the keys, many of us are genetically limited as to how much fat we can burn.

    This is where modern science comes to the rescue: There are nutritional supplements on the market that can help the process along. The products discussed below won't work without a sound weight program and plenty of cardio, but they might be worth a try.

    Citrus aurantium

    This fruit, also called "bitter orange," contains a naturally occurring fat-burner called synephrine. Citrus aurantium can increase your body's ability to burn fat and may exert a mild hunger-suppressant effect. It has only recently been introduced in supplement form and should be widely available toward the end of the year.

    "Citrus aurantium is the ideal fat-loss aid for guys who have plateaued in their workout programs," says Douglas Kalman, RD, director of clinical research at Peak Wellness, a Greenwich, Connecticut�based health-care facility. The latest study performed at Peak Wellness on citrus aurantium showed no signs of potential side effects. Stay tuned.

    7-keto DHEA

    You've probably heard of DHEA, a hormone-replacement therapy that some guys use to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. Unfortunately, DHEA is not very effective in guys under 35, and it's associated with some nasty side effects, including prostate enlargement, acne and premature baldness.

    Earlier this year, an altered version of DHEA was introduced. It's called 7-keto DHEA, and research indicates that it works by preventing your metabolic rate from dropping when you're on a calorie-restrictive diet.

    Kalman believes 7-keto holds great promise. "When individuals diet to lose body fat, their progress stops after a period of a few weeks," he says. "This version of DHEA can prevent this without the hormone-like side effects."

    Caffeine and ephedra

    These two controversial stimulants are thermogenic on their own but have an even greater effect on fat loss when combined. They are added to several ready-made drinks or pills found in health-food stores, sometimes referred to by their respective herbal names, guarana and ma huang.

    The problem, again, is side effects. Overuse of caffeine and ephedra has been associated with increased heart rate, insomnia, nervousness and even death. "Scientific studies have shown that [the combination] works, but I'm not crazy about the potential for side effects," Kalman says. If you're on antidepressant medication, ephedra is not an option.


    A recent study demonstrated that as little as 6 grams of pyruvate per day can enhance fat loss and increase muscle mass in guys who exercise regularly and follow a reasonably low-fat diet.

    "I like this one because it basically has no side effects, it's all natural, and data shows pyruvate can not only effect fat loss, but can make you exercise harder and longer," says Kalman.


    Yohimbine is a natural substance derived from the bark of two African trees. It is a potent vasodilator that first became popular because it increases the blood supply to the penis. In fact, yohimbine was the pre-Viagra impotence treatment for millions of men around the world.

    Yohimbine also increases levels of norepinephrine, which has a marked effect on fat utilization by the body. However, it may cause stimulatory-type reactions such as dizziness, irritability, headaches, anxiety and increased heart rate.

    "The side effects are pretty common," says Kalman. "Also, it can have negative interactions with antidepressant medications." If yohimbine strikes your fancy, stick to the prescription brand Yocon, or make sure over-the-counter varieties declare that they are standardized for yohimbine activity. Ask your doctor before trying it.

  • Vigorous Exercise Helps Women Quit Smoking, Stay Smoke Free
    Vigorous Exercise Helps Women Quit Smoking, Stay Smoke Free

    CHICAGO (AP)--Women who exercise vigorously while trying to quit smoking are twice as likely to kick the habit than wannabe ex-smokers who don't work out regularly, a new study finds.

    The report also offers good news to female smokers who fear that giving up tobacco and nicotine will lead to weight gain. Researchers found that women who worked out as they tried to quit gained only about half the weight of those who did not exercise.

    "I can't say that definitively this will help all people, but given all of the other health benefits associated with regular exercise I would certainly encourage people trying to quit smoking to talk to their physicians about starting a program," said Bess Marcus, an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and the study's lead author.

    The findings appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

    Researchers at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., followed 281 healthy but sedentary female smokers who attended a 12-week program to stop smoking. About half of the women participated in supervised workouts three times a week during the program while the others did not.

    Of the 134 women in the group who exercised regularly, 19.4 percent kicked the habit for at least two months after their program ended while 10.2 percent of the 147 non-exercisers did the same.

    Three months later, the comparison of those still smoke-free was 16.4 percent to 8.2 percent, respectively, and 11.9 percent vs. 5.4 percent a year later. The women ranged between ages 18 and 65 and had smoked routinely for at least a year.

    "There seems to be a new drug every day to help you quit smoking," Marcus said in a telephone interview Sunday. "But this study suggests that there's a drug-free alternative to quitting smoking if that's what you prefer."

    While the researchers at Miriam Hospital studied only women smokers, men who want to quit should expect similar results, said Dr. Michael Roizen, head of anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine.

    "I don't think it (gender) makes any difference," said Roizen, a health and lifestyle modification enthusiast who was not involved in the study. "I think you almost have to do some sort of exercise to be successful at quitting."

  • Tips and Tricks for Off-Road Running
    Tips and Tricks for Off-Road Running

    Andrea Moore, a 36-year-old optometrist and lifelong road runner, hit the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains one day five years ago to give her pavement-pounded knees a break. She's never looked back. "I fell in love with the dirt," Moore says. "On trails it's such an adventure every time you run that it doesn't even seem like exercise." Now she gets her runner's high higher up, logging 30 miles a week, all off-road.

    There are thousands of stories like Moore's. Combining the exhilaration of the great outdoors with the promise of softer landings, trail running has become one of America's fastest-growing sports. With off-road hot spots in California, Colorado and the Northeast leading the way, the number of trail races has doubled over the last two years, to nearly 600.

    But while embracing the dirt would seem as easy as lacing up a pair of off-road shoes, trail running is as different from road running as mountain biking is from road cycling. To get the most out of trail time, you actually need to relearn the world's easiest sport. "You've got to run with a different technique and a different attitude," says Ann Trason, the nine-time winner of the Western States 100, one of the most prestigious off-road races. Below are some pointers to hit the ground running:

    • Narrow your vision. Roadies can space out, but since trails aren't made of perfectly groomed asphalt, off-roaders need to stay focused. Look two steps ahead and down on rolling terrain. Crouch while running. Keep legs slightly bent to lower your center of gravity � it keeps you from falling and lets you move easily around obstacles. "I think of it like dancing," says Danelle Ballengee, one of the nation's best high-altitude racers.
    • Heads up on climbs. They're an uphill struggle unless you keep your head tilted up, allowing maximum oxygen into your lungs, critical at high elevation.
    • Toes down on descents. Watch the ground carefully and land each step on toes and forefoot for optimum control.
    • Water is life. With no 7-Elevens in the mountains, runners need to pack hydration systems to keep the vultures from circling.
    • Time, not mileage. Roadies measure performance by miles pounded, but trail runners should gauge theirs by time spent on the trail. "It's a change of mind-set," says Ben Hian, a top trail racer. Translation: If basking in nature doesn't change your mileage mentality, the lack of markers in the woods most definitely will.

    Adapted from Cond� Nast Sports for Women, February 1998

  • Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility
    Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility

    You probably know that sports bras have become highly visible lately.

    This is because Brandi Chastain, exuberant over making the winning kick for the United States recently in women�s World Cup soccer competition, tore off her blouse and exposed a black sports bra.

    It turns out that Chastain helped design the $40 sports bra, which all the women on the USA team wear. Apparently, this has resulted in a lot of interest in the specially-designed bras that give firm support to reduce bouncing of the breasts while running.

    As more women become more serious about exercising, manufacturers are appealing to them by pointing out that properly fitted bras for exercising can control breast motion, feel comfortable and look good.

    And there are some other issues involved. Without motion-controlling support, some women start lactating when engaged in strenuous exercise. Nipple irritation can occur using flimsy leotards for support.

    And, of course, if women are more comfortable while they exercise, they are probably going to exercise more often.

    In one of the few studies I�ve seen on the subject, 27 women marathon runners were mostly pleased with wearing commercial bras, although they did report some chafing.

    But its questionable how much this trend has caught on. Among women athletes at the University of Washington, only 10 percent reported wearing a sports bra, according to a report in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

    I would say this is a choice best left up to the woman involved, since some sports are more rigorous than others. In volleyball, for example, some players wear front-latched bras to prevent scratches or pain from repeated diving and rolling on the floor.

    There is some evidence that breast injuries can be avoided by strong support, including wrapping elastic bandages around the breasts.

    Use your best judgement here. A blend of comfort, support and style would make the most sense � especially if you tend to rip your blouse off when winning a contest.

    Source: The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Vol. 10, No. 11.

  • Calories Burned During Physical Activities
    Calories Burned During Physical Activities

    When you perform a physical activity, your basal metabolic rate will increase, burning more calories. The good news is that your BMR will stay high even after you stop the activity, continuing to burn calories. In addition, the ideal exercise or activity for losing weight is not one where you are "out of breath". It is better to perform an aerobic exercise, where you can continue to hold a conversation while performing the activity. This helps your body to actually burn fat, instead of sugar. The chart below shows the calories burned for one hour of activity for various exercises for both 140 lb and 195 lb people:

    Activity (1 hour)140 lbs195 lbs
    Aerobics, general381 531
    Aerobics, high impact 445 620
    Backpacking 445 620
    Basketball, game 508 708
    Basketball, shooting baskets 286 398
    Bicycling, <10 mph, leisure 254 354
    Bicycling, 10-11.9 mph, light effort 381 531
    Bicycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate effort 508 708
    Bicycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous effort 636 885
    Bicycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing 763 1062
    Bicycling, Mountain or BMX 540 753
    Boxing, punching bag 381 531
    Boxing, sparring 572 797
    Canoeing, rowing, moderate effort 445 620
    Dancing, aerobic, swing, ballet or modern, twist 381 531
    Football, touch, flag 508 708
    Golf, carrying clubs 350 487
    Golf, pulling clubs 318 443
    Golf, using power cart 222 310
    Hiking, cross country 381 531
    Hockey, ice 508 708
    Jogging 445 620
    Judo, karate, kick boxing, tae kwon do 636 885
    Mowing lawn 350 487
    Racquetball, casual 445 620
    Rock climbing, ascending rock 699 974
    Rope jumping, moderate 636 885
    Rowing, stationary, moderate effort 604 841
    Running, 5 mph (12 minute mile) 508 708
    Running, 5.2 mph (11.5 minute mile) 572 797
    Running, 6 mph (10 minute mile) 636 885
    Running, 6.7 mph (9 minute mile) 699 974
    Running, 7 mph (8.5 minute mile) 731 1018
    Running, 7.5 mph (8 minute mile) 795 1107
    Running, 8 mph (7.5 minute mile) 858 1195
    Running, 8.6 mph (7 minute mile) 890 1239
    Running, 9 mph (6.5 minute mile) 953 1328
    Running, 10 mph (6 minute mile) 1017 1416
    Running, 10.9 mph (5.5 minute mile) 1144 1594
    Running, stairs, up 953 1328
    Shoveling snow 381 531
    Skateboarding 318 443
    Skating, ice 445 620
    Skating, roller 445 620
    Skiing, cross-country, moderate effort 508 708
    Skiing, snow, downhill, moderate effort 381 531
    Skiing, water 381 531
    Snowmobiling 222 310
    Soccer, casual 445 620
    Softball or baseball 318 443
    Swimming laps, freestyle, light/moderate effort 508 708
    Tennis, singles 508 708
    Tennis, doubles 381 531
    Volleyball, competitive 254 354
    Walking, 3.0 mph, moderate pace 222 310
    Weight lifting, light or moderate effort 191 266
    Weight lifting or bodybuilding, vigorous effort 381 531

    Numbers are from the "Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine."


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