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mertie

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  1. I read years ago that we all have brown fat, it is around our organs, but on TV they said it's in our upper back and clavicles! Now that is very interesting, considering we Cushies get fat deposits in those places. I can't imagine that our humps are brown fat, though. It is very metabolically active, burns calories like crazy. That isn't happening with any of us! Maybe there's a clue there in the mystery of weight gain in Cushing's patients? Has our brown fat been replaced with white fat, or could it be our brown fat just doesn't behave like normal brown fat? Very interesting!

  2. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...sc=fb&cc=fp

     

     

    We've all been taught that too much fat is bad. But the problem with fat isn't so black and white. In fact, it's brown and white.

     

    The Big Picture

     

    White fat ? considered the "bad" kind ? is a way for your body to store excess energy that accumulates when you consume more calories than you use. White fat comes in handy when you're short on food and your body goes searching for extra energy. But brown fat ? the "good" kind ? actually burns excess energy to generate heat.

     

    Who Has Brown Fat?

     

    Brown fat is mostly found in newborns. It's arranged in little pockets along the shoulders and between the shoulder blades. It makes up about 5 percent of an infant's total body mass. People have less of it as they age, but researchers now believe that some people maintain brown fat deposits into adulthood. White fat, in contrast, is widely distributed throughout the body, particularly in adults.

     

    What's Brown Fat For?

     

    Infants are at much higher risk of dying from cold than adults. Brown fat generates extra heat to help babies maintain their core temperature. Researchers aren't exactly sure why small amounts of brown carry over into adulthood, but what they're hoping to do is to find a way to rev up the body's "good" fat to help it burn off the "bad."

     

    White fat does have its benefits. It stores the excess energy and provides us with a layer of insulation that helps keep us warm. But too much white fat can lead to serious health problems.

     

    How Does It Work?

     

    Brown fat is activated by temperature changes in the environment. When a baby's environment is cold, brown fat quickly begins producing heat. The heat is generated by mitochondria, little energy factories in a cell that turn glucose, fat and other nutrients into a form of energy the cell can use.

     

    Brown fat cells have a higher density of mitochondria than perhaps any other tissue in the body, and defying common sense, it's actually the inefficiency of these mitochondria that makes them so valuable. Instead of breaking down nutrients into energy that the brown fat cell can use, the mitochondria leak out most of the energy in the form of heat.

     

    Small capillaries surrounding the cells then transport the heat energy throughout the baby's body, helping to maintain his core temperature.

     

    Why Is It Brown?

     

    Again, the mitochondria are a defining feature. Brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria, making the cells more opaque. The blood-carrying capillaries that surround the cells also help give brown fat its distinctive color. ? Jenny Gold

     

     

     

    Brown fat deposits on an adult collarbone

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    Dr. Aaron Cypess

     

    Brown fat deposits show up as green-gray spots on this image of an adult collarbone and neck area. The New England Journal of Medicine

     

     

     

    White and brown fat cells

    Enlarge

     

    Dr. Aaron Cypess

     

    The white blob at the bottom half of the image is a white fat cell. The rest of the image is taken up by a neighboring brown fat cell.

     

     

     

    Morning Edition, April 9, 2009 ? We all know there's good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. It turns out there's good and bad fat, too.

     

    The good fat is medically known as "brown adipose tissue." It's good because it burns calories. The more familiar fat ? known as white fat, although it's actually yellowish ? stores up calories and stubbornly accumulates around waistlines, thighs and bottoms.

     

    Scientists have known about brown fat for decades. Small mammals and human infants have deposits of it around their shoulder blades. It generates heat and helps maintain the body's core temperature. But until now, conventional wisdom held that brown fat dwindles with age and becomes physiologically unimportant.

     

    Three studies in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine overturn that dogma. More importantly, they point to the possibility of a whole new way to help people lose weight and keep it off.

     

    "Up to now, the vast majority of interventions have been targeted toward energy intake ? meaning reduction of food intake," says Francesco Celi of the National Institutes of Health. "This is a new tack, a new development."

     

    Scientists are beginning to work on ways to increase people's stores of brown fat and to turn up its metabolism to make it burn calories faster. The idea is to rev up the body's "good" fat to help it burn off the "bad" fat.

     

    It wouldn't take much, says Dr. Aaron Cypess of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, an author of one of the new studies.

     

    "We calculate that if you had three ounces' worth [of brown fat], that would be enough, if maximally stimulated, to burn up 400 to 500 calories per day," Cypess says. "A little bit could go a very long way."

     

    By looking at high-tech imaging scans of nearly 1,800 people, Cypess and his colleagues discovered that almost all adults have small deposits of brown fat around their collarbones and in their necks. Women have twice as much on average as men. But even so, most women have only about a half-ounce of brown fat.

     

    The new studies, which also come from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and centers in Finland and Sweden, provide some other new insights about brown fat:

     

    ? People have less of it as they age.

     

    ? Obese people have less than lean people.

     

    ? It's activated by spending even a little time in a chilly room.

     

    The Dutch team studied brown fat activity in 24 healthy young men ? 10 of them lean and the others overweight. Study subjects spent two hours in a mildly chilly room ? 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they underwent PET scans and CT scans to measure the location and metabolic activity of brown fat deposits.

     

    Brown fat showed up as "hot spots" in the scans of 23 out of the 24 volunteers. The one with no detectable brown fat was the most obese.

     

    Researchers don't know yet whether people become obese in part because they lack brown fat, or whether their brown fat stores go away after they become obese.

     

    The Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to chilly temperatures caused a 15-fold increase in the metabolic rate of brown fat in their healthy adult volunteers. They figure that if a way could be found to activate the typical person's stores of brown fat, it would burn off at least 9 pounds of regular (white) fat a year.

     

    Researchers speculate that brown fat could be activated by a drug targeted at particular parts of brown fat's metabolic pathways. Some candidate targets are already known.

     

    Cypess, the Boston researcher, says it's also possible that doctors could remove a small amount of a person's brown fat, amplify it in the test tube, and transplant it back. A drug might be necessary to increase its metabolic rate, too. The result: your own internal calorie-burning furnace.

     

    Or it might not take a drug at all. Maybe just turning down the thermostat or, for those who live in cool climates, spending more time outdoors could help.

     

    "What we need to find out is how many more calories you burn if you sit at home at 60 degrees Fahrenheit versus 72 versus 80," Cypess says. "That may be a very simple way ? and a green way ? to lose weight and help your health."

     

    But the researchers caution that it might not be that simple. Spending more time in a chilly environment might just make people eat more.

  3. Immune System Works Better at Night

     

    Monday, December 15, 2008; 12:00 AM

     

    MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A good night's sleep really does a sick body good, new research says.

     

    Stanford University research with fruit flies reveals that the immune system fights invading bacteria the hardest at night and the least during the day. The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting, in San Francisco.

     

    "These results suggest that immunity is stronger at night, consistent with the hypothesis that circadian proteins upregulate restorative functions such as specific immune responses during sleep, when animals are not engaged in metabolically costly activities," Stanford researcher Mimi Shirasu-Hiza said in a news release issued by the conference organizers.

     

    Circadian rhythm paces the human body as well as the fruit fly, running internal clock's time for eating and rest every day.

     

    The researchers noted that previous experiments with flies found that bacterial infection threw off the insects' circadian rhythm, and not having this internal clock working properly made them highly susceptible to infection.

     

    In this experiment, the researchers infected the flies with two different bacteria at different times of day or night. Those infected at night were more likely to survive than those infected during the day. The researchers also detected low "phagocytic" activity -- the body's innate immune response -- in flies with a corrupt circadian clock.

     

    More information

     

    The National Sleep Foundation has more about how sleep works.

     

    SOURCE: American Society for Cell Biology, news release, Dec. 14, 2008

  4. Thought this was interesting:

    http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm...enoidal_surgery_

     

    Context: Few data are available on the selective use of bilateral inferior petrosal sinus sampling (BIPSS) in the presurgical evaluation of patients with adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) dependent Cushing's syndrome (CS) so we investigated whether its use only in patients without a clear adenoma on MRI and/or inconsistent biochemical testing affected remission and long-term outcome after surgery in patients with Cushing's disease (CD).

    Setting: This was a retrospective review of patients treated for CD by one pituitary Neurosurgeon at tertiary medical centers in New York City.

    Patients: 193 consecutive adult patients who underwent initial TS for presumed CD between 1987 and 2005 were included.

    Main outcome measures: We examined preoperative pituitary imaging and biochemical data, results of BIPSS and surgical pathology and outcome based on biochemical tests after initial TS and long term after subsequent therapies.

    Results: Remission rate after 1(st) TS was 80.8% overall, 79.1% in the BIPSS (n=105) and 83.0% in the No-BIPSS (n=88) groups. Recurrences occurred in 13.5% after 1(st) TS at a mean of 4.8 +/- 3.5 yrs (range 0.7 - 12.4 yrs) with no difference between BIPSS and No-BIPSS groups. Long-term remission was achieved after surgeries and RT in 85% (86.7% of BIPSS, 83.0% of No-BIPSS groups). CD was ultimately confirmed in all but one patient in each group.

    Conclusions: Selective use of BIPSS in the preoperative evaluation of patients with presumed CD did not lead to misdiagnosis in the No-BIPSS group nor adversely affect remission rates or long-term outcome.

  5. I posted this on my blog, and Robin thought I should post it here. What do you all think?

    EVEN HAPPY EXPERIENCES CAN'T REDUCE STRESS, NEW RESEARCH SHOWS </H3>This study caught my attention. It is, in itself, quite interesting. But the thing that got me was that they did this and measured these subjects' cortisol levels several times throughout the course of the interview, once beforehand, and then at 30 minute intervals. And it occurred to me: Why do sick people have to beg to get cortisol tests to check for Cushing's?!

     

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers here have made a surprising new discovery: They've spent the last decade examining how stressful situations can alter the levels of certain hormones in the blood, weakening the immune system and increasing a person's vulnerability to disease.

     

    But for some people in situations typically considered stress-free -- perhaps even pleasant -- the levels of one hormone, cortisol, may even rise. Scientists have long believed that cortisol levels increase in times of stress and decrease as the stress is eased. The new finding is puzzling researchers but also pointing them to an entirely new area for future research.

     

    The work was described August 4 by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C.

     

    The new work stems from a series of experiments done more than a decade ago and intended to look for physiologic changes

    caused by stressful situations. A group of about 90 newlywed couples took part in the study at Ohio State's Clinical Research Center. The couples completed questionnaires and then were asked to discuss several areas of disagreement regarding their marriage.

     

    Blood samples were taken from each subject at the beginning of the session and at 30-minute intervals until they were discharged. When researchers analyzed the data, they found changes in hormones and other bloodstream components that could indicate a weakening of the immune status.

     

    Today's findings, however, arise from a new analysis of data from blood samples taken immediately after those "conflict" discussions. Following a short "transition" period, the newlyweds had been asked to discuss the history of their relationships - how they met, what attracted them to each other, how did they decide to marry.

     

    "For most people, not surprisingly," explained Kiecolt-Glaser, "this was a pretty positive interaction. And they were coming down off the earlier discussion which was usually seen as a negative emotional experience."

     

    When Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues Ronald Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, and William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine, looked at the levels of cortisol in the blood however, they were surprised.

     

    "In 75 percent of the subjects, the hormone levels had fallen just as we expected - 26 percent on average for the men and 35 percent for the women," Kiecolt-Glaser said. "But in 25 percent of them, cortisol levels stayed relatively the same or, in some cases, actually went up."

     

    Normally, levels of cortisol drop after we wake in the morning. The experiments were done in midmornings and the newlyweds were "coming down" off the negative discussion, which should have forced cortisol levels lower.

     

    But in one of every four people in the study, the cortisol levels failed to drop. In some people, the levels even rose. The findings were especially interesting when coupled with information from follow-up surveys of the participants. The researchers had tracked down each person to check their current marital status and to find out if the newlyweds were still together.

     

    They found that the women whose cortisol levels rose during the discussions of their relationship history were twice as likely to have been divorced from their husbands. No similar relationship appeared among men whose levels had risen.

     

    The study also looked at the exact word choice the couples used in describing their relationship. They used an instrument called the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program which lists both "positive" and "negative" words - 261 which describe optimism, energy and positive feelings and 345 words suggesting anxiety, fear, sadness, depression and anger.

     

    Cortisol levels for three-fourths of the men in the study dropped - on average 26 percent. They used significantly more words considered "positive" than did their counterparts whose cortisol remained steady or even rose. There was no similar trend in positive word choice among women whose cortisol had dropped.

     

    Women whose cortisol levels failed to drop, or even rose, however tended to use more negative words as they discussed their relationship history. "What I think is happening here is that in some ways, cortisol levels may serve as a bellwether of what's going to happen," whether women's marriages would survive, Kiecolt-Glaser said.

     

    The most important finding, she says however, is that this proves that "positive" interactions, along with their health implications, deserve as much study as "negative" interactions have garnered.

     

    The National Institutes of Health supported the study.

  6. Research identifies fatty fish oil's many health benefits.

    It's no fish story that those who include seafood as a staple in their diet benefit from the ingestion of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids ? known to reduce the risks for heart-related diseases, age-related cognitive decline, abnormal brain development and functioning, even obesity and mood disorders. Now, new studies have shown that it is the oil from fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel) that may offer the most health benefits.

     

    During the course of a 10-year study conducted in Sweden, it was established that the consumption of fatty fish oils might inhibit a commonly found receptor for kidney cancers in women, the Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), which triggers more than 80% of kidney cancers. Consistent long-term intake of fatty fish oil reduced the RCC risk by up to 74% in the Swedish women tracked for the report. At the same time, the intake of fatty fish oils triggered an increase in the level of serum vitamin D in these women. Low levels of vitamin D are believed to trigger the development and progression of RCC.

     

    Even lean fish ? although to a lesser extent ? provide similar health benefits. Consuming fish oil or eating raw, baked or broiled fish ? not fried ? can also protect your heart's electrical system by decreasing the risk of fatal heart-rhythm disorders. Omega-3 fats have been found to benefit a healthy heart rhythm. In addition, according to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, fish oil consumption by the elderly prevented a decline in heart rate variability that was caused by same-day exposure to indoor airborne pollutants (which can trigger arrhythmia and sudden death.)

     

    This study also found that a diet including fish at least once a week has other significant health benefits for the elderly. These finds included a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as a 10% slower rate of annual age-related cognitive decline (and a 13% slower rate decline when fish was consumed more than once a week). In addition, seafood and by products decreased incidences of strokes because high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA or docosahexaenoic acid) are crucial for normal brain functioning. [/color]

    There's even more to this school of thought. Several epidemiological studies find a correlation between omega-3 fatty acids intake and mood disorders like depression ? which are affected by an omega-3 fatty acids deficit. In addition, people suffering from coronary artery disease may benefit from omega-3 fatty acids as well since there is an established link between the disease and depression. An increased omega-3 intake, even through supplementation, may have therapeutic benefits.

     

    Fishing for compliments about a reduce waistline?

     

    A study conducted by the University of South Australia noted that daily omega-3 fatty acids intake ? when combined with exercise ? can aid in weight loss because fatty acids increase blood flow to the muscles during exercise and thereby assist in fat burning. The studies are overwhelming. Will people change their dietary habits due to the promise this research shows? It's certainly food for thought.

     

    A study conducted by the University of South Australia noted that daily omega-3 fatty acids intake ? when combined with exercise ? can aid in weight loss because fatty acids increase blood flow to the muscles during exercise and thereby assist in fat burning. The studies are overwhelming. Will people change their dietary habits due to the promise this research shows? It's certainly food for thought.

     

    Reference Material:

     

    Alicja Wolk, Susanna C. Larsson, Jan-Erik Johansson, and Peter Ekman: Long-term Fatty Fish Consumption and Renal Cell Carcinoma Incidence in Women, JAMA, September 20, 2006, Vol. 296, No. 11

     

    Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 12, 2006.

     

     

    Fish Oil Prevents Potentially Deadly Heart Rate Variability, Science Daily, December 2005.

  7. http://www.kare11.com/news/national/nation...66&catid=18

     

    Colombian doctors are trying to determine why an 11-month old baby already weighs 61-pounds-12-ounces.

     

    The baby lives in Barranquilla, Colombia.

     

    That's the the average weight of an 8-year-old.

     

    The boy's mother said he started growing after he was two months old.

     

    Preliminary tests show that the baby has an endocrine system problem, doctors say that he will undergo additional testing to pin-point the exact problem.

     

    The normal weight for an 11-month-old boy is between 13 to 15 pounds.

  8. <H2 class=title_document>Role for postoperative cortisol response to desmopressin in predicting the risk for recurrent Cushing's disease</H2>

    • ?Neuroendocrine Unit, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil, ?Neuroendocrine Unit, Service of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Hospital de Clinicas, Federal University of Parana (SEMPR), Curitiba, PR, Brazil, ?Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and ?Neuroendocrine Unit, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil

    Correspondence: Luiz Roberto Salgado, Neuroendocrine Unit, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Av. Dr Eneas de Carvalho Aguiar #155, 8th floor, Cerqueira Cesar, Sao Paulo, SP 05403?060, Brazil. Tel./Fax: +55 11 3069 7694; E-mail: salga@uol.com.br*Daniella J.P.C. Romanholi and Marcio C. Machado contributed equally to this work.

     

    <H3 id=h1>Summary</H3> In the early postoperative period of Cushing's disease patients, desmopressin may stimulate ACTH secretion in the remnant corticotrophic tumour, but not in nontumour suppressed cells.

     

    Objective The aim of this study is to evaluate the serum cortisol responses to desmopressin after pituitary surgery, establishing an optimal cut-off for absolute increment (Δ) of serum cortisol (F) suitable to predict recurrence risk.

     

    Design Retrospective case record study.

     

    Patients Fifty-seven Cushing's disease patients submitted to pituitary surgery and desmopressin stimulation in the early postoperative with a long-term follow-up (20?161 months) were studied.

     

    Methods and measurements Serum cortisol levels after desmopressin test (10 ?g IV) 15?30 days after adenomectomy were used to determine ΔF (absolute increment of F: F peak − F baseline). Sensitivity and specificity of ΔF were calculated and a ROC curve was performed to establish an optimal cut-off for ΔF to predict recurrence risk.

     

    Results Fifteen patients had immediate postoperative failure (basal F > 165 nmol/l; 6 ?g/dl) and one patient was lost during the follow-up. Forty-one patients achieved initial remission and were followed-up. Five of 11 patients who recurred had ΔF > 193 nmol/l (7 ?g/dl), but none of 30 patients who remained in prolonged remission showed ΔF > 193 nmol/l after postoperative desmopressin stimulation.

     

    Conclusions Persistence of cortisol response (ΔF > 193 nmol/l) to desmopressin in the early postoperative period can help to identify Cushing's disease patients with initial remission who present risk for later recurrence.

  9. The thing that really alarmed me about this was they check your cholestrol! Sheesh, seems like nothing is private anymore. I mean if it hurts bad enough, we will quit smoking, right? But how do I get my out of control cholestrol in check when it is hereditary?

     

    Insurance companies are out of control, in my opinion. I really think that's why when the place I worked started terminating people, 77% were over 40. Young people are healthier, and need medical care a lot less often. But they will be older one of these days, too!

  10. http://www.bcbs.com/news/national/employer...547&print=t

     

    Employers get tough on health: Some take punitive steps against smokers, overweight workers

    <H2></H2>September 24, 2007

     

     

     

     

     

    By Tim Jones

     

     

     

    Sep. 24, 2007 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) --

     

    Get ready to say goodbye to the days of high-fat meals, junk food snacks and that after-work cigarette you always enjoy smoking -- at least if you intend to have a job and health insurance.

     

     

     

    The rules of the workplace are changing, and personal behavior and lifestyle habits -- those unrelated to what you do at work -- are now fair game for employers determined to cut health-care costs.

     

     

     

    If you smoke, you may not get hired and you could get fired. If your cholesterol is too high, you can pay higher premiums for your insurance. The same goes for blood pressure, body mass and blood glucose levels. The requirements embraced by a growing number of companies are encroaching on privacy and raising questions about who will qualify for health insurance, as well as employment.

     

     

     

    "Employers are trying to thin out their health-care costs, by any means necessary," said Jeremy Gruber, legal director for the National Workrights Institute of Princeton, N.J. "We're only seeing the beginning of this. Employers started with smokers. Now they're moving on to the general population."

     

     

     

    Indianapolis-based Clarian Health has told its 13,000 employees that, starting in 2009, it will charge them $5 per pay period if they use tobacco or exceed specified levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and other measurements. Penalties could reach $30 per paycheck.

     

     

     

    The Cleveland Clinic on Sept. 1 started nicotine testing in pre-employment physicals. If nicotine is found, applicants will not be hired.

     

     

     

    And Weyco Inc., the suburban Lansing, Mich.-based company that drew national attention in 2005 when it fired four employees who used tobacco, has expanded the health insurance requirement, penalizing employees whose insured spouses smoke or chew tobacco. Penalties are $50 per employee paycheck.

     

     

     

    Although thousands of employers have put in place incentives for their workers to live healthier lifestyles, the vast majority of employers have not yet embraced the approach of penalizing employees who don't satisfy medical or behavioral dictates.

     

     

     

    But punitive measures are gaining a foothold in the workplace, according to lawyers and groups that follow insurance and employment trends, because health-care costs are growing at high-single-digit to double-digit rates annually.

     

     

     

    The question for employees is: How far will these requirements on personal habits and penalties go, and what sort of criteria will employers use to define good health?

     

     

     

    "Your privacy is being whittled away, piece by piece," said Anita Epolito, who was fired by Weyco, a health benefits administrator, in 2005 after refusing to stop smoking.

     

     

     

    "They're trying to change behavior after 5 o'clock," Epolito said. "What's next? No McDonald's? No caffeine? No Krispy Kreme?"

     

     

     

    Heidi Ingalls, another former Weyco employee, tried to stop smoking but failed. She left the company in late 2004 rather than be fired because she "saw the writing on the wall."

     

     

     

    "I wasn't robbing banks or killing people or doing illegal drugs," Ingalls said. "Are they going to tell me I'm 12 pounds overweight and then start telling me what I can eat?"

     

     

     

    Gary Climes, vice president of Meritain Health Michigan, which now owns Weyco, noted that the firings didn't violate Michigan law and that the 150 employees at the Okemos-based company have, over time, accepted the rules. "It really comes down to a personal choice as far as do you want to be employed here," Climes said.

     

     

     

    Climes said that since 2005, when Weyco instituted the wellness policy that includes the smoking ban, health insurance costs have increased by no more than 2 percent a year, well below the national average.

     

     

     

    The move to regulate the workplace and private behavior of employees has historic resonance in Michigan.

     

     

     

    A century ago Henry Ford created a so-called Sociological Department, a team of 150 investigators who visited employees' homes and asked them about drinking, gambling, diet, savings and other personal matters. Those who didn't meet Ford's standards within six months were fired.

     

     

     

    In the face of heavy criticism, Ford abandoned the practice after seven years. Obesity and galloping health-care cost increases for many employers, though, have fueled the movement to reduce employer costs.

     

     

     

    "This all comes down to the health-care crisis in our country. Costs are spinning out of control, and companies don't want to be left holding the bag," said Chicago lawyer H. Candace Gorman, who specializes in labor and employment law.

     

     

     

    Critics of the Weyco firings have launched an effort in the Michigan Legislature to outlaw the practice but face stiff resistance from the state's business community, led by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

     

     

     

    Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources for the chamber, said the Weyco firings have created "negative PR" for the company but added that her group opposes any effort to restrict employers' freedom to control costs.

     

     

     

    Toni Talbot, a human resources consultant, said firing employees for tobacco use is "bad policy" and "intrusive."

     

     

     

    "Do I want people to live healthy lives? Yes," Talbot said. "Do I want to get into their daily lives? No."

     

     

     

    That line is blurring. In 2006, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. (NYSE:SMG) fired a Massachusetts employee after discovering he smoked. The worker sued, alleging the dismissal violated his civil rights.

     

     

     

    Although discrimination laws in 30 states and the District of Columbia outlaw what happened in Michigan, there are few clear limits on how far employers can go when it comes to hiring and insuring people who aren't disabled. That void has created the current changing climate and all the questions about "What's next?"

     

     

     

    - -- -

     

     

     

    Smoking out puffers

     

     

     

    Weyco Inc. of suburban Lansing, Mich., performs random testing every three months, usually of about 30 employees. Workers are summoned to blow into a Breathalyzer-like device that measures carbon monoxide levels. If the reading is high, employees take a urine test. If they fail the urinalysis twice they will be dismissed. One person was fired in 2006, a company official said, and none this year.

     

     

     

    -- Source: Meritain Health Michigan

     

     

     

    tmjones@tribune.com

     

     

     

    Newstex ID: KRTB-0197-19780955

  11. The reason I was looking into this is that a friend is going to start GH soon. I know in the past that I'd read we can produce GH by weight lifting and muscle building. My friend said she didn't think we could make GH if the pit wasn't cooperating. I had a GH stim test back before surgery and was ok, and to be honest I just can't afford to have it done again now. I am feeling pretty good, but my body sure doesn't look pre-Cushing's yet. Oh - and I don't want to take GH. But if I can stimulate it, that would be a good thing. I thought this study was promising.

  12. I found this article and thought I'd share it:

     

    Growth Hormone is Made in the Brain, Report Scientists

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    March 27, 2006

     

     

     

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    (Santa Barbara, Calif.) ? Scientists have found that growth hormone, a substance that is used for body growth, is produced in the brain, according to an article published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

     

    The research team ? whose members work at three institutions ? found that growth hormone is produced within the hippocampus, a structure deep inside the brain that is involved in memory and emotion.

     

    The scientists also found that more growth hormone is produced in females than in males, and more in adults. More growth hormone was also produced in response to estrogen. The study has implications for menopausal women using estrogen replacement therapy and for athletes taking growth hormone and anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass.

     

    The scientists suspect that reasoning and mood may also be affected by these differences in the amount of growth hormone in the brain.

     

    "Growth hormone has been associated with growth of muscles and bones, and the production of it was believed to lie mainly in the pituitary gland," said co-author Ken S. Kosik, co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "No one had thought too much about what growth hormone might be doing in the brain. Hormones in the brain may not be obvious compared to what they are doing in the rest of the body."

     

    The authors previously found that hippocampal growth hormone increases with learning. The current study shows that the production of growth hormone is very different in males versus females.

     

    "Males and females look different, we act different, so of course our brains are different," said Tracey J. Shors, co-author and a professor of psychology at the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers: the State University of New Jersey. "There are remarkable differences. People used to think of females as a male with hormones. That's just not the case."

     

    The authors found that growth hormone in the brain is increased with stress, especially in males. The effect in females depended on how much estrogen they had at the time.

     

    "One interesting interpretation of these results is that exposure to a stressful event increases growth hormone expression in males ? but the increase in females may be dependent on their levels of estrogen at the time," said first author Christine P. Donahue. Donahue, formerly a postdoctoral fellow of Ken Kosik, is an instructor in the Department of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.

     

    The authors suggest that because growth hormone in the body is associated with growth of the body, it may also cause growth in the brain. Females have more dendritic spines (parts of neurons) in the hippocampus than do males. This is especially true when estrogen levels are high and when growth hormone levels are high. They also produce more new neurons in the hippocampus during this time.

     

    "Sex differences in the brain is an area of research that has exploded in recent years," said Shors. "Sex hormones, like estrogen, have a tremendous effect on the growth and architecture of the brain. Several studies in our lab and in others have shown that males learn differently than females. It is possible that sex differences in these hormones are somehow involved." This study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. The article, "Growth hormone is produced within the hippocampus where it responds to age, sex and stress," is published in the on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 27.

  13. http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20080419/hl_hs...uLdW785HqZa24cA

     

    FRIDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Overeating, not the obesity it causes, is the actual cause of metabolic syndrome, suggests a study with mice by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

     

     

     

    Metabolic syndrome is a collection of health factors that increase the risk of developing insulin resistance, fatty liver, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

     

     

     

    This study was among the first to propose that weight gain is an early symptom, not a direct cause, of metabolic syndrome, the researchers said.

     

     

     

    "Most people today think that obesity itself causes metabolic syndrome," senior author Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine, said in a prepared statement. "We're ingrained to think obesity is the cause of all health problems, when, in fact, it is the spillover of fat into organs other than fat cells that damages these organs, such as the heart and the liver. Depositing fatty molecules in fat cells where they belong actually delays that harmful spillover."

     

     

     

    In this study, Under and his colleagues compared normal mice to mice that were genetically altered to prevent their fat cells from expanding. Both groups of mice were overfed.

     

     

     

    The normal mice got fat but didn't develop signs of metabolic syndrome until after about seven weeks of overeating. The genetically altered mice stayed slim but became seriously ill within a few weeks and displayed evidence of severe heart problems and major increases in blood sugar levels eight weeks before minimal heart problems developed in the normal mice, the researchers said.

     

     

     

    The genetically altered mice showed significant damage to heart cells and to the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. They also got sick quicker, because the extra calories they consumed weren't stored in fat cells, but rather in other tissues, the researchers said.

     

     

     

    The study was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

     

     

     

    The exact cause of metabolic syndrome, which affects about 50 million Americans, is unknown, but lack of exercise and obesity have been tagged as the primary underlying contributors to the development of the condition, according to background information in the study.

     

     

     

    More information

     

     

     

    The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about metabolic syndrome.

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