Protein (Not Sugar) for Energy, & Other News of Note
Posted on Monday, December 5th, 2011
Mid-Afternoon Slump? Why a Sugar Rush May Not Be the Answer (ScienceDaily)
A new study has found that protein and not sugar activates the cells responsible for keeping us awake and burning calories. The research, published in the Nov. 17 issue of the scientific journal Neuron, has implications for understanding obesity and sleep disorders.
Wakefulness and energy expenditure rely on “orexin cells,” which secrete a stimulant called orexin/hypocretin in the brain. Reduced activity in these unique cells results in narcolepsy and has been linked to weight gain.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge compared actions of different nutrients on orexin cells. They found that amino acids – nutrients found in proteins such as egg whites – stimulate orexin neurons much more than other nutrients…MORE…
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that our modern-day diets might explain why some people have overcrowded teeth.
The study found that because humans have shifted away from a “hunter-gatherer” diet to a more pastoral way of eating, our jaws have accommodated for this change by growing shorter, LiveScience reported. This could, in turn, lead to teeth overcrowding…MORE…
In the new study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health compared people who were given canned vegetable soup for lunch each day with people who got vegetable soup made without any canned ingredients.
And they found that a couple hours after eating, the people who had canned soup had BPA levels in their urine that were about 12 times higher than the people who didn’t…MORE…
American Lifestyle Breeds Depression (NaturalSociety)
Although widely known, new research shows how excessive amounts of television watching combined with a sedentary lifestyle is a sure recipe for depression. Unfortunately, these are the very activities that generally describe the typical American lifestyle, excluding poor nutrition and pharmaceutical dependency. Therefore, is it any surprise that depression and mental illness run rampant in the United States, with half of all Americans to be diagnosed with a mental disorder within their lifetime?
The study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, observed thousands of older women with varying degrees of physical activity and television watching. What the study found is that the women who exercised the most and watched the least television were least likely to be diagnosed as being depression, with physical activity having the largest impact.
The researchers’ findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, stated that women who reported exercising most were about 20 percent less likely to develop depression than those who rarely exercised…MORE…
Stretching the Boundaries of Yoga (Boston Globe)
Because many yoga postures stretch and strengthen the muscles affecting the back, at least 10 published studies have been done on yoga and chronic low-back pain, says [Dr. Robert B.] Saper [director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center]. But though the majority have shown yoga to be promising as a low-cost treatment, all have been done on predominantly white, educated, affluent populations, he says.
“In our patient population, it’s unusual to have back pain alone as a single problem,’’ Saper says, noting that many patients also suffer from hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety. And while he emphasizes that he doesn’t consider yoga a “panacea for everything, ’’ he says that “because of the mind-body component of yoga, we’re aware that [it] may be helpful for a variety of patients with co-morbidities. And that it may help with depression, anxiety, and resilience’’…MORE…
People Who Meditate Tune Out Daydreams (Futurity)
People who are experienced meditators seem to switch off areas of the brain associated with daydreaming—and with psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
Less day dreaming is associated with increased happiness levels, says Judson A. Brewer, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University, who believes understanding how meditation works may aid investigations into a host of diseases.
“Meditation has been shown to help in variety of health problems, such as helping people quit smoking, cope with cancer, and even prevent psoriasis,” Brewer says…MORE…
Yawning Is Not Triggered by Boredom or Tiredness: Its Function Is Much More Critical (PreventDisease.com)
Yawning isn’t triggered because you’re bored, tired or need oxygen. Rather, yawning helps regulate the brain’s temperature, according to Gary Hack, of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and Andrew Gallup, of Princeton University.
Researchers at the University of Albany in New York said their experiments showed that raising or lowering oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood did not produce the yawn reflex.
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“The brain is exquisitely sensitive to temperature changes and therefore must be protected from overheating,” they said in a University of Maryland news release. “Brains, like computers, operate best when they are cool”…MORE…