A Calorie Is Not A Calorie

For the first time, we have scientific evidence which helps explain why some folks can eat all they want without gaining weight, while others put on weight easily, even without overeating.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have identified a “helper” gene that aids in explaining why some people gain weight quickly while eating the exact same amount as others, who remain lean and gain no weight.

These scientists have been able to identify, and delete, a gene in mice that controls how quickly calories are burned.They were then able to identify one very obese child who had a gene-disabling mutation in the same gene.The results were recently published in the journal Science.

This gene-disabling  mutation helps explain why some people have a propensity to put on weight even though they eat normal amounts of food.

The commonly held wisdom that eating an extra 3500 calories will add one pound of fat to the body does not hold true for everyone.

There are genetic factors that determine how much of what we eat turns into fat.

It is now clear that it is unfair to always blame overweight people for lack of self control, because there are other important factors which they are helpless to control.

Regulators in Europe Endorse Safety of a Class of Diabetes Drugs

Many diabetes patients will be comforted to know that, at the end of July, 2013, the European Medicines Agency reached the conclusion that there is little evidence that a group of diabetes drugs could cause inflammation of the pancreas, or, more importantly, pancreatic cancer.

The group of drugs includes Januvia, Byetta, Victoza and others, whose safety is presently under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The concerns about the safety of the drugs have been raised primarily by a researcher at the University of California over the past few years.

In his most recent study, after examining the pancreas of 34 post-mortem diabetes patients, he concluded the pancreases of those who had used these drugs had more signs of inflammation and precancerous changes.

However, the European agency felt the study contained sources of bias and limitations, making it difficult to draw these conclusions. In addition, the agency said clinical trials thus far have shown no increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

The F.D.A. is continuing its review, but agreed that there is no cause for concern based on our current knowledge.

Testosterone Therapy Shown to Improve Memory in Women

Two separate studies in Melbourne, Australia have demonstrated a significant improvement in learning ability and memory when postmenopausal women are treated with testosterone.

It is well known that testosterone is an important hormone for women for other bodily functions, but it now appears that it can help cognitive performance as well.

In one study, a group of postmenopausal women were treated for 26 weeks with transdermal testosterone or placebo. At the end of the study, the testosterone treated patients displayed significant improvement in memory when compared with the placebo group.

Pending further research, testosterone therapy may become a viable option to improve cognitive ability in postmenopausal women.