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Archive - 11 - 2012

Less than 25 Percent of Americans Walk for More Than Ten Minutes

Posted by dlife on Fri, Nov 30, 12, 04:42 PM 0 Comment

November 29, 2012 (Newswise) Many people in the U.S. do not walk, bike or engage in other forms of active transportation, missing an important opportunity to improve their cardiovascular health, concludes a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation, most commonly walking and cycling, but also using a wheelchair, in-line skating or skateboarding. The studys researchers suggest active transportation is an untapped reservoir of opportunity for physical activity for many U.S. adults.We knew that many studies have demonstrated that physical activity can help prevent a variety of conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and serum lipid abnormalitiesall risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, said lead study author Gregg Furie, M.D. of the Yale School of Medicine, who specializes in adult primary care medicine. However, the majority of previous studies done on physical activity primarily focused on its use in recreational activity or leisure time activity, he noted.Using cross-sectional data from the 20072008 and 20092010 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Furie and his colleague, Mayur M Desai, Ph.D., associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health were surprised to find that less than one quarter of U.S. adults in a nationally representative sample reported walking or bicycling for transportation for more than 10 minutes continuously in a typical week.Thats a pretty low rate, said Furie, and we need to increase that level. People who engaged in active transportation on average had lower body mass indexes and lower odds of hypertension, compared to those who didnt.The study identified reasons why government policies and infrastructure, along with built environment interventions, should allow and encourage active transportation. Communities that do so may promote dedicated bicycle lanes and routes, educate residents about bike and motor vehicle road-sharing, provide bicycle storage, and integrate public transportation for both pedestrians and cyclists.The U.S. has one of the lowest rates of active transportation in the world, said James F. Sallis, Ph.D., chief of the division of behavioral medicine at the University of California, San Diego.This is not an accident. U.S. transportation policies and funding prioritize travel by car, unwittingly discouraging active travel, said Sallis, who is also director of active living research at UCSD. This situation is made worse by land use and zoning policies that separate residential and commercial zones to the extent that it is not feasible to walk for daily needs. These new findings point out how transportation policy is health policy.He called the study powerful evidence from a large national sample that active transportation is just as beneficial to health as leisure-time physical activity. Not surprisingly, the findings highlight that transportation policies that essentially ignore walking and cycling appear to be contributing to the major chronic diseases that account for 80 percent of healthcare costs.Theres a need for better understanding of the overall benefits of active transportation, Furie said. This information adds to the weight of evidence that suggests more work is necessary to develop environmental policies that make it safer, easier, and more desirable for people to walk and bike for transportation.TERMS OF USE: This story is protected by copyright. When reproducing any material, including interview excerpts, attribution to the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, is required. While the information provided in this news story is from the latest peer-reviewed research, it is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. For medical questions or concerns, please consult a health care provider.American Journal of Preventive Medicine: Contact the editorial office at (858) 534-9340 or eAJPM@ucsd.edu.G.L. Furie and M.M. Desai (2012). Active Transportation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in U.S. Adults, American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In press.

Scientists Create Road Map to Metabolic Reprogramming for Aging

Posted by dlife on Thu, Nov 29, 12, 05:44 PM 0 Comment

November 29, 2012 (University of Wisconsin-Madison) In efforts to understand what influences life span, cancer and aging, scientists are building road maps to navigate and learn about cells at the molecular level.To survey previously uncharted territory, a team of researchers at UW-Madison has created an "atlas" that maps more than 1,500 unique landmarks within mitochondria that could provide clues to the metabolic connections between caloric restriction and aging.The map, as well as the techniques used to create it, could lead to a better understanding of how cell metabolism is rewired in some cancers, age-related diseases and metabolic conditions such as diabetes."It's really a dynamic atlas for regulatory points in mitochondrial function there are many interesting avenues that other scientists can follow up on," says John Denu, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of biomolecular chemistry and leader of the epigenetics theme at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID). "It could take years for researchers to understand what it all means, but at least now we have a list of the most important players."In previous experiments, it's been shown that consuming less food increases the life span and health span in a range of organisms, from yeast and flies to mice and nonhuman primates. But pinpointing where and how caloric restriction affects cells at a molecular level remains the challenge.So far, mitochondrial proteins, the molecules that command specific actions in the cell's powerhouse organelle, are at center stage of metabolic reprogramming.Denu and colleagues conducted earlier research on the mitochondrial protein Sirt3, where they suggested a link between Sirt3 and the benefits of caloric restriction in situations such as the prevention of age-related hearing loss.The new research, published in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Molecular Cell, more broadly identifies pathways in mitochondria that could be behind the rewiring of metabolism. Their work uncovered regulatory processes that maintain mitochondrial health, control cells' ability to metabolize fat and amino acids, as well as stimulate antioxidant responses. This rewiring involves the addition or removal of two-carbon (acetylation) chemical groups within regulatory molecules called proteins.In the study, scientists looked at liver tissue from groups of mice both with and without the ability to produce Sirt3. Some received a calorically restricted diet and some did not. After one year, they compared protein and acetylation changes among the groups of mice. They found Sirt3 was essential for many of the metabolic adaptations that occur during calorie restriction. These results suggest that therapies, including diet or drugs that enhance Sirt3 function, might provide novel interventions to fend off age-related illnesses.Joshua Coon, professor of chemistry and biomolecular chemistry at UW-Madison and co-author of the paper, crafted a new technique to find these molecular sites. While the genome plays a key role in an organism's health, he points out that studying proteins the molecular machines that carry out an organism's original genetic instructions can be more accurate in revealing how a gene functions."We've taken dozens of primary tissues and profiled their protein content with depth to learn how they vary," Coon says. "With that information, we have direct knowledge at the molecular level of how an organism is dealing with adaption to diet, or potentially, a given disease state."He says using mass spectrometry to look for acetylated proteins from tissue samples is a more fruitful approach to identifying relevant physiological changes. The study, he says, is one of the first of many that will create descriptive maps for other disease models.To expand access to these enabling technologies across campus, Coon plans to launch the Wisconsin Center for Collaborative Proteomics in 2013. The center has received significant support from the UW and is pending further support via federal funding.Marianne English

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