Monday, August 22, 2011

Food is not alone in making us fat - stress, insomnia and allergies are also factors(?)

This is a bit if a cop-out. Various things may impede dieting but your excess of input over output is still what makes you fat

IT'S one of those questions too many people torture themselves with: "Why can't I lose any weight?" You can cut back on the junk food, exercise more frequently but are still unable to shift those unwanted kilos.

A leading American physician will tell an Australian audience today that allergies, stress, insomnia and being toxic are all reasons people struggle to lose weight.

In her new book, A Guide to Solving Your Weight-Loss Puzzle: Why You Can't Lose Weight, Dr Pamela Waritan Smith says that it is not as simple as what you eat and what you burn.

"It's not just calories in and out - if it were that simple everyone in the world would be the way that they want to be," Dr Smith told The Sunday Telegraph.

The co-director of the Metabolic and Nutritional Program at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Dr Smith said for every extra 0.45kg someone carries on their frame, they put 1.36 million kg of stress on their joints each year.

"Sometimes it's confusing to people if they have an allergic response. You can have two kinds of allergic response, one is what we call an IgE, which can be shrimp, and is pretty immediate, for example, resulting in shortness of breath or a rash.

"The other which is termed as an IgG response, is an allergy which can usually happen a couple of days later. "People may gain weight, get a stomachache or a headache, but they don't equate it to the food (they have eaten)." Symptoms include abdominal pain, backache, dark circles under the eyes, diarrhoea, dizziness, hives, muscle aches and pains, a persistent cough and memory changes.

Her book is being launched today at the Australasian Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine (A5M) Conference in Melbourne, where Dr Smith is giving a series of talks.

Dr Smith said lack of sleep and stress were also contributing to weight gain. "When people stay stressed they put weight on around the middle," she said. "And I do think modern life affects it for many different reasons. "Insomnia and sleep deprivation, people that don't get 6 1/2 hours a night of good solid sleep also suffer."

The book also reveals being toxic is another key factor. Symptoms of toxicity include abdominal bloating, belching, cramping, gas, heartburn and weight gain, depression, itching, muscle aches and pains and skin rashes.

Dr Smith advised seeing a "specialised practioner or physician" to determine if your weight gain was due to allergies or toxicity.


New weapon in battle against C-diff as scientists work out how to stop its poisons

So far this seems to be research in laboratory glassware only

Doctors could soon have a new weapon in the war against C. diff, the superbug that kills thousands of Britons each year. C. diff produces poisons which, in the worst cases, can cause a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen.

U.S. scientists used two molecules to deactivate the toxins, preventing them from causing harm. They now plan to test the technique on people for the first time. A similar strategy could be deployed against other bacteria, say the University of Texas researchers writing in the journal Nature Medicine.

The bug thrives in filthy conditions and has been blamed for almost 18,000 deaths in the last decade – more than MRSA. Numbers are falling, but the superbug was still linked to almost 4,000 deaths in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available.

Although antibiotic treatment does have some success, many patients relapse, with successive bouts of diarrhoea making them weaker and weaker.

C. diff produces poisons which cause diarrhoea, and in the worst cases, a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen.

However, the poisons can only wreak havoc if they can work their way into the cells that line the gut. And US scientists have worked out how to stop them in their tracks. They used two molecules to deactivate the toxins, preventing them from causing harm.

University of Texas researcher Professor Tor Savidge said: ‘Think of these toxins as missiles that the bacteria are producing to go off and detonate inside the cell. ‘One way to defend against the missiles is to send out signals that trick them into either disarming their sensory mechanisms or get them to prematurely detonate.’

The combination worked so well, that the researchers plan to test it on people for the first time. The need to give it to large numbers of people to check it is safe and effective means it is around seven years from widespread use.

It is hoped that targeting the bug in this way would stop the bacteria from developing resistance against the treatment.

Researcher Charalabos Pothoulakis, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said: ‘Identification of new treatment modalities to treat this infection would be a major advance. ‘If we are successful with this approach, we may be able to treat other bacterial diseases in the same way.’

C. diff exists naturally in the stomachs of many healthy adults, where it is kept under control by 'friendly bacteria'. The problems start if the balance of bacteria is disturbed, perhaps by giving someone antibiotics for another infection.

Once the 'friendly' bacteria are killed off, the C diff are able to multiply and produce poisons which cause diarrhoea and, in the worst cases, a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen.

The spread of the bacterium, via hardy spores, is swift and the bug is difficult to wipe out because it is resistant to some standard disinfectants. But simple soap and water can be used to clean the hands, while powerful disinfectants can keep floors bug-free. Hygiene drives are credited with the number of cases in hospital cases plummeting from 33,342 in 2007 to 2008, to 10,414 last year.


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