Can supplements help keep depression at bay?

New research investigates whether taking nutritional supplements and changing dietary habits can help prevent depression.

On a global level, we are now facing two concerning epidemics, one of which relates to the health of the body and the other to that of the mind, namely, obesity and depression.

In the United States alone, approximately 70 percent of all men and women are overweight or have obesity, while about 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults live with major depressive disorder.

Full story at Medical News Today

Brain stimulation may reduce food cravings as obesity treatment

Stimulating the brain to alter its intrinsic reward system shows promise in the treatment of obesity, according to results presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018. The technique has yielded positive results after just a single treatment session, revealing its potential to become a safer alternative to treat obesity, avoiding invasive surgery and drug side effects.

Obesity is a global epidemic, with approximately 650 million adults and 340 million children and adolescents currently considered obese, and the disease contributing to an estimated 2.8 million deaths per year worldwide. It has been reported that, in some obesity cases, the reward system in the brain may be altered, causing a greater reward response to food than in normal weight individuals. This can make patients more vulnerable to craving, and can lead to weight gain. This dysfunction in the reward system can also be seen in cases of addiction to substances, e.g. drugs or alcohol, or behaviours, e.g. gambling.

Full story at Science Daily

Obesity associated with more rapid progression of disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients

In a study of adults with rheumatoid arthritis, those who were severely obese experienced more rapidly progressing disability than patients who were overweight. This was not explained by features of their arthritis, including the amount of inflammation in their joints. In the Arthritis Care & Research study, weight loss after enrollment was also associated with worsening disability, possibly as a sign of frailty.

To examine the effects of obesity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis over time, Joshua Baker, MD, MSCE, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and his colleagues examined information on 23,323 patients with rheumatoid arthritis from the National Data Bank of the Rheumatic Diseases and 1697 from the Veterans Affairs RA registry.

Full story at News-Medical.net

Opioids and obesity, not ‘despair deaths,’ raising mortality rates for white Americans

Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according to new CU Boulder research.

The study, published online today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also found that, contrary to widely reported research findings, suicide and alcohol-related deaths are not to blame for increasing mortality rates among middle-aged whites.

The results call into question recent reports suggesting that what have become known collectively as “despair deaths” — by suicide, alcohol and drugs — are on the rise among white Americans, particularly men, facing a lack of economic opportunity and an increase in chronic pain.

Full story of opioids and obesity at Science Daily

Oreos as ‘addictive’ as cocaine in lab rat study

Anyone who’s ever eaten an Oreo knows how difficult it can be to eat just one.

Scientists have long suspected that our brains crave junk food in the same way they crave other pleasurable substances, such as illegal drugs. Previous studies in rodents and in humans have shown the same area of the brain that lights up on scans when people use drugs, also shows increased activity when study participants consume, or even look at, high fat, high sugar foods like ice cream or bacon.

Some scientists believe certain foods trigger the brain to signal for more, similar to the way addictive drugs prompt cravings; if we don’t fulfill the brain’s request, the body could produce a physical response (like caffeine headaches) similar to withdrawal symptoms.

New research from undergraduate students at Connecticut College adds to the growing evidence suggesting that food can be addictive. The students were interested in understanding how the availability of junk food in low-income areas has contributed to America’s obesity epidemic.

“Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat, high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability,” study designer and neuroscience major Jamie Honohan said in a statement.

Full story of oreos and cocaine at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education