Health and Fitness Tue, 01 Sep 2015 21:23:44 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-us Senator Kirk Credits Chicago Innovator, MATTER

MATTER is Home to More Than 100 Health Technology Startups; Senator Kirk is an Author of Job-Creating Policy: Healthier Innovations for America Bill

CHICAGO –-(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today visited Chicago’s healthcare technology incubator MATTER to discuss the future of healthcare innovation with their executives, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

Senator Kirk toured the MATTER health technology innovation hub, which gives startups the rare opportunity to collaborate with and learn from industry leaders that can help them develop and launch their innovations.

“From the invention of the cell phone to the zipper, Illinois has long been a center of innovation,” Senator Kirk said. “MATTER’s elevation of our entrepreneurs, startups and industry leaders is a reason why Chicago stands among the global players of healthcare innovation.”

During his visit, Senator Kirk met with Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER, Jeff Aronin, co-chair of MATTER and CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals, and representatives from AbbVie, Astellas Pharma and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois to discuss MATTER’s efforts to support the success of next-generation health technology startups.

Senator Kirk also met with some of the entrepreneurs working at MATTER to learn more about their work to create innovative healthcare solutions. This impressive group of entrepreneurs included the founders of MedMatch, a new technology for hiring medical professionals; SuperBetter, an app that has been shown to reduce depression & anxiety; Innoblative, a medical device company; and GTX Surgery, a company that makes surgical simulation available on mobile devices.

Senator Kirk has a record of innovative healthcare initiatives in the Senate. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Kirk has been instrumental in drafting the Healthier Innovations for America Bill. This legislation would be a Senate counterpart to the House’s 21st Century Cures Act, passed this year with bipartisan support 344-77, which brings health care innovation into the 21st Century and encourages the development of the next generation of cures and treatments. As a member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Kirk worked to increase funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) to $32 billion in FY16, which is a $2 billion increase from FY15 making it the largest increase in over a decade.

“MATTER is honored to host Senator Kirk and discuss how entrepreneurs are working to build the future of healthcare here in Chicago,” said MATTER CEO Steven Collens. “We’re grateful for Senator Kirk’s commitment to supporting business growth and healthcare innovation, and we look forward to working with him as MATTER continues to grow.”

"MATTER is helping to make Chicago a global hub for healthcare innovation, and we are fortunate to have leaders like Senator Kirk who are aligned with the mission of health care innovation,” said Jeff Aronin, co-chair of MATTER and CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals. “By working together with entrepreneurs, we can build the next generation of healthcare technology that will improve patient lives.”

MATTER, launched in February 2015, accelerates innovation by connecting major healthcare institutions with entrepreneurs at the forefront of health technology. Home to more than 100 health technology startups, MATTER has partnered with over 40 industry leaders, three world-class research institutions and eight healthcare systems to create the next generation of health IT, medical devices, diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:35:20 -0500
Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015

By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Latest JAMA Studies Largely Fail To Support Past Claims About Marijuana And Brain Health

Two new studies published online today in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry provide little support for previous claims that cannabis exposure is significantly harmful to the developing brain.

The first study, which assessed the effects of cannabis exposure on brain volume in exposed and unexposed sibling pairs, reported that any identifiable differences “were attributable to common predispositional factors, genetic or environmental in origin.” By contrast, authors found “no evidence for the causal influence of cannabis exposure” on brain morphology.

The trial is “the largest study to date examining the association between cannabis exposure (ever versus never used) and brain volumes.”

The study is one of two recent clinical trials to be published in recent months rebutting the claims of a widely publicized 2014 paper which alleged that even casual marijuana exposure may be linked to brain abnormalities, particularly in the region of the brain known as the amygdala. In January, researchers writing in The Journal of Neuroscience reported “no statistically significant differences … between daily [marijuana] users and nonusers on [brain] volume or shape in the regions of interest” after researchers controlled for participants’ use of alcohol. Similarly, today’s JAMA study “casts considerable doubt on hypotheses that cannabis use … causes reductions in amygdala volumes.”

A second study appearing today in the journal assessed whether cannabis use during adolescence is associated with brain changes that may be linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia. While researchers reported finding an association among male subjects who possessed a high genetic predisposition toward schizophrenia, authors reported that no such association existed among male subjects who were at low risk for the disease, or among females in either the high risk or low risk categories. The finding is consistent with the theory that early onset cannabis use may potentially exacerbate symptoms in a minority of subjects predisposed to the disease, but it contradicts claims that marijuana exposure is a likely cause of schizophrenia, particularly among those who are not already vulnerable to the disease.

Abstracts of both new studies appear online in JAMA Psychiatry here and here.




]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:29:04 -0500
Planned Parenthood Calls on Anti-Abortion Activists to Release All Video Footage to Authorities Immediately

‘Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group turn it over?’

WASHINGTON, DC –-(ENEWSPF)--August 28, 2015.  Planned Parenthood Federation of America today called on anti-abortion activists who have been posting heavily edited videos for the last six weeks to immediately release their complete, unedited source video footage to the California attorney general.

A California-based group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress – whose leadership is connected to groups linked to bombings of women's health centers and the murder of an abortion doctor – has released eight videos in the last six weeks, including five videos of Planned Parenthood staff members. The videos focused on Planned Parenthood staff members have a total of at least 42 splices, where statements were edited to create the appearance of seamless conversations, changing the meaning of what people said in order to support CMP’s outrageous and false claims.

An expert report released yesterday determined that the secretly recorded videos were heavily edited and “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events. Three teams of experts, including a video science instructor at the FBI National Academy, noted that supposed “full footage” that the group has released is edited, inaccurate, and unreliable, as are transcripts the group has produced. The experts noted that no unedited source footage has been released.

In the last few hours, media outlets have reported that David Daleiden, the activist at the center of the nearly three-year fraud campaign, said he couldn’t release “a lot of” footage because some court orders prevent it, then said “we are providing” footage to authorities, and also claimed footage has already been provided to authorities. He did not specify which authorities, and it is not clear whether it is source footage, which is full, completely unedited video footage. To date, no source footage has ever been released publicly. Daleiden has said that he is releasing the videos to the public one at a time for maximum political effect and to garner more media coverage, and that he has several more videos to release.

Following is a statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This group should immediately provide every minute of video footage they have of Planned Parenthood staff to the California attorney general. No unedited source footage has ever been provided publicly for any of these videos. Everything that’s been released has been edited, and experts have now said unequivocally that the video editing was deceptive and does not reflect actual events.

“The question today is: Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group release it? We know that some members of Congress and state legislators were shown these videos weeks before they were released. Did those politicians see full, unedited source footage? If they thought they saw wrongdoing on the videos they were secretly shown, why didn’t they immediately insist that the full videos all be given to proper authorities?

“As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood has extremely high standards – and if there are ever questions about whether our standards are being met, we want to know about it so we can take swift action. If these folks really think they saw wrongdoing, which so far isn’t even apparent on their heavily edited videos, they should turn everything involving Planned Parenthood over to their state’s attorney general to get to the bottom of it.”

While some video footage cannot be released because of a court order, Planned Parenthood is calling for all video footage involving its staff that is not covered by the court order to be released immediately to California’s attorney general. The Center for Medical Progress is based in California, and several of the videos were shot there.

In a letter to congressional leadership yesterday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America provided substantial background about fetal tissue research, laws in this area, the organization’s medical guidelines, and new expert analysis showing that the videos were heavily edited and do not reflect actual events. Planned Parenthood follows all laws and medical standards, and nothing in the videos that have been released shows any violations of law or standards. All five states that have concluded investigations that were sparked by these videos have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

On Background: notes on terminology:

It is inaccurate to refer to Planned Parenthood’s “national” fetal tissue donation work or “a program” at Planned Parenthood for fetal tissue donation. This is important work that Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states are involved in, and it is an option for patients at 1% of Planned Parenthood’s health centers. There is no national program or effort.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos released by this group showed Planned Parenthood staff members discussing “selling” tissue. Staff discussed voluntary, nonprofit fetal tissue donation – identical to programs at hospitals and universities across the country.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos showed Planned Parenthood staff members “haggling” about tissue donation “fees.” They are discussing standard reimbursements for costs, often in response to leading and aggressive questions.

It is inaccurate to say that “unedited” videos or transcripts have been released by this group, since no source footage has ever been provided. Every video, short or long, has been edited, often extensively and deceptively, and transcripts the group has posted are incomplete and erroneous.


Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

Source:  Planned Parenthood Federation of America


]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:21:55 -0500
A Decade After Katrina, RNs Reflect on What We’ve Learned and Refuse to Learn

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction along the Gulf Coast, registered nurse volunteers with the disaster relief program, Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), which sent hundreds of RN volunteers to provide disaster relief to the region in the wake of the deadly storm, say that critical lessons which exacerbated the 2005 crisis – global climate change, our lack of a national healthcare system, and failure to invest in public resources and infrastructure – have still not been learned.

Nurses from RNRN, a project of National Nurses United (NNU), the country’s largest organization of RNs, are back in New Orleans this week to show support for residents of the region and highlight that the problems, which existed 10 years ago, continue to fester.

RNs, some of whom volunteered with RNRN post-Katrina, will staff a first aid tent and participate in Katrina commemoration events hosted by Gulf South Rising, a coordinated regional movement of people and groups to highlight how the global climate crisis, and the rising sea levels that come with it, are affecting the Gulf Coast states.

“Things aren’t just the same, they’re worse,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN, a NNU vice president who will participate in the events. “As nurses, we always want to get at the root causes of illnesses, and Katrina exposed them all: the socioeconomic inequality, the racism, the lack of access to healthcare, how we’ve defunded our public infrastructure, and how our dependency on fossil fuels has accelerated climate change. On this anniversary, we are again working to build the movement needed to fix these problems.”

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf and New Orleans flooded, forcing the evacuation of millions of residents and trapping – and sometimes killing – those who remained in the city, RNRN sprung into action to supply volunteer RNs to the affected areas.

What nurses learned was that there was no coordinated emergency system to respond to natural and man-made disasters such as this one. Federal, state, and county and municipal agencies all implemented their own plans, which resulted in chaos.

Despite the confusion, RNRN was ultimately able to determine the needs of various hospitals and state disaster agencies overwhelmed with the need for qualified medical providers and place more than 300 volunteer RNs in positions where they could fully utilize their skills, experience, and knowledge as registered nurses.

In Baton Rouge, La., RNRN sent rotations of nurse volunteers to relieve exhausted staff nurses at Earl K. Long Medical Center, the only public hospital (now closed) in the city where scores of New Orleans evacuees had fled. RNRN also sent nurse volunteers to a number of hospitals and clinics in other parts of the Gulf, and provided a significant percentage of nurses who staffed medical services for thousands of evacuees sheltered at the Houston Astrodome, where many New Orleans residents had been bussed.

A decade later, the nation has made little progress in addressing the systemic problems Hurricane Katrina laid bare:

Climate change, which results in rises in sea temperatures and likely increased the size and intensity of the hurricane, remains a major global crisis. Despite numerous climate summits and treaties, dependence on burning fossil fuels as the world’s primary energy source continues.

A number of countries lag behind efforts to reduce CO2 levels that scientists say must be lowered to arrest and reverse the warming of the earth. Many policy makers in the U.S., at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, continue to oppose robust action to stem the effects of the climate crisis. The earth’s current, identified fossil fuel energy stores – of oil, gas, coal, etc. – are already five times more than scientists say we can safely burn and not risk planetary collapse, and the U.S. is still one of the top two emitters of greenhouse gases.

Millions of Gulf residents are still without access to healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act did end some of the worst insurance industry abuses that shut many people out of access to coverage, many patients still cannot afford to use the health insurance they pay for because of the high deductibles and copayments those plans require. And while the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid coverage, all of the Gulf states –Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida – have refused to take advantage of the expansion, depriving their states’ lowest-income residents of needed healthcare services.

Investments have been diverted away from public infrastructure and public resources and systems in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana into privately owned entities. Public hospitals, such as Charity Hospital in New Orleans and teaching hospitals connected to Louisiana State University, were never reopened, have been shut down, or privatized. The New Orleans traditional public school system has been largely privatized and turned into a charter and voucher system.

The racial disparity in the post-Katrina “recovery” is especially pronounced. A recent Louisiana State University survey found that almost 80 percent of white New Orleans residents say that the city has “mostly recovered” from the disaster, but some 60 percent of black New Orleans residents say the city has “mostly not recovered.” African-Americans, reports, are less likely to be working than when the storm hit, more likely to be living in poverty, and the racial wage gap has grown. An estimated 100,000 of the city’s poorest African-Americans have been unable to return.

“Those populations that were more vulnerable before the disaster continue to remain the most vulnerable now,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of the RNRN program. “Katrina taught us that these types of services – public housing, education, healthcare, safety – need to be centralized and socialized. Instead, there’s been a real move to decentralize and privatize. Nurses understand that full recovery


National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:42:02 -0500
Parent Feeding Practices are Linked to Children's Weight Status

Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 27, 2015. Because child and adolescent obesity is linked to a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it’s important to recognize factors in a child’s home environment that could be modified to prevent overweight and obesity. One modifiable factor is how parents interact with their adolescents around food.

In the study, “Parent/Adolescent Weight Status Concordance and Parent Feeding Practices,” appearing in the August 2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online August 24), researchers examine the correlation between parent feeding practices and the weight status of a parent and adolescent. Data for this study came from two coordinated, population-based studies: Eating and Activity in Teens (EAT) and Families and Eating and Activity in Teens (F-EAT) from 2010. In order to measure parent feeding practices, researchers used an adapted version of the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Researchers found that parents use feeding practices, like pressure-to-eat and food restriction, in response to both their children’s and their own weight. For example, parents used the highest levels of food restriction when both parents and adolescents were overweight. The use of these feeding practices potentially shapes further weight-related behaviors and influences adolescent weight gain or loss over time.

The results from this study may be used to inform health care providers about which adolescents have the highest risk of becoming overweight and whom to target in interventions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:12:48 -0500
Shift Seen in Type of Imaging Conducted for Common Childhood Health Problems

Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 27, 2015. A cross-sectional study of children admitted to 33 pediatric tertiary-care hospitals between 2004 and 2012 examined the rates and types of imaging done for 10 of the most common diagnostic groups in children. These groups included seizures, appendicitis, concussions, upper respiratory infections and abdominal pain.

The study, “Computed Tomography and Shifts to Alternate Imaging Modalities in Hospitalized Children,” appears in the September 2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online August 24).

It found that use of CT scans for these diagnostic groups has decreased overall. However, rates for alternate forms of imaging such as ultrasound and MRI have increased in eight of the 10 groups. The authors assert that the shift in imaging type could be related to concerns regarding ionizing radiation and increased cancer risks as well as growing confidence in and ability to perform the newer alternate types of imaging.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:10:09 -0500
Adolescents Who Do Not Receive Health Care When Needed More Likely to Suffer With Poor Health as Adults


Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 27, 2015. Teenagers who don't see a doctor for health problems are more likely to have poor health in general, and a new study shows they also become sicker adults. The study, “Unmet Health Care Need in U.S. Adolescents and Adult Health Outcomes,” in the September 2015 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 17), examined data from 14,800 subjects and found that the odds of adverse health outcomes in adulthood were 13 percent to 52 percent higher among those (19.2 percent) who reported unmet health care needs in adolescence.

Cost of health care was not the dominant reason that health needs went unmet for those studied; only 14.8 percent cited cost, compared to 37.2 percent who cited perceived low importance, 32 percent who had access issues, and 22.7 percent who worried about the negative consequences of health care.

Whereas previous research has shown that improving access to health care for adults may have limited impact on future health costs, the authors of this study concluded that reducing unmet health care needs among adolescents may be a highly effective investment to improve health outcomes and also reduce health care costs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:07:31 -0500
FDA Approves Repatha to Treat Certain Patients with High Cholesterol

Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Repatha (evolocumab) injection for some patients who are unable to get their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol under control with current treatment options.

Repatha, the second drug approved in a new class of drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors, is approved for use in addition to diet and maximally-tolerated statin therapy in adult patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks or strokes, who require additional lowering of LDL cholesterol.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (encompassing both HeFH and HoFH) is an inherited condition that causes high levels of LDL cholesterol. A high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood is linked to cardiovascular or heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans, both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year– that equals one in every four deaths.

“Repatha provides another treatment option in this new class of drugs for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or with known cardiovascular disease who have not been able to lower their LDL cholesterol enough with statins,” said John Jenkins, M.D., director of the Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Cardiovascular disease is a serious threat to the health of Americans, and the FDA is committed to facilitating the development and approval of effective and safe drugs to address this important public health problem.”

Repatha is an antibody that targets a specific protein, called PCSK9. PCSK9 reduces the number of receptors on the liver that remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. By blocking PCSK9’s ability to work, more receptors are available to get rid of LDL cholesterol from the blood and, as a result, lower LDL cholesterol levels.

The efficacy and safety of Repatha were evaluated in one 52-week placebo-controlled trial and eight 12-week placebo-controlled trials in participants with primary hyperlipidemia, including two that specifically enrolled participants with HeFH and one that enrolled participants with HoFH. In one of the 12-week studies, 329 participants with HeFH, who required additional lowering of LDL cholesterol despite statins with or without other lipid-lowering therapies, were randomized to receive Repatha or placebo for 12 weeks. Participants taking Repatha had an average reduction in LDL cholesterol of approximately 60 percent, compared to placebo. 

The most common side effects of Repatha include nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infection, flu, back pain, and reactions such as redness, pain, or bruising where the injection is given. Allergic reactions, such as rash and hives, have been reported with the use of Repatha. Patients should stop using Repatha and get medical help if they experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that statins lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A trial evaluating the effect of adding Repatha to statins for reducing cardiovascular risk is ongoing.

Repatha is marketed by Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:56:00 -0500
Short Bouts of Activity May Offset Lack of Sustained Exercise in Kids

NIH study finds interrupting sitting with short walks lowers blood sugar, insulin and blood fats

Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  Brief intervals of exercise during otherwise sedentary periods may offset the lack of more sustained exercise and could protect children against diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a small study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Children who interrupted periods of sitting with three minutes of moderate-intensity walking every half hour had lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, compared to periods when they remained seated for three hours. Moreover, on the day they walked, the children did not eat any more at lunch than on the day they remained sedentary.

The study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, was conducted by researchers at NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Clinical Center.

“We know that 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity benefits children’s health,” said the study’s senior author, Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., chief of NICHD’s Section on Growth and Obesity. “It can be difficult to fit longer stretches of physical activity into the day. Our study indicates that even small activity breaks could have a substantial impact on children’s long-term health.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third External Web Site Policy of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Obesity puts children at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer.

The study authors noted that U.S. children spend about 6 hours per day in a sedentary position — either sitting or reclining. They added that many studies have linked such sedentary behaviors to obesity and insulin resistance — a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Still, other research has found that moderate physical activity External Web Site Policy — such as walking a mile in 15-20 minutes—could lower glucose and insulin levels in adults. The study authors hypothesized that interrupting sitting in children would lower their insulin and glucose levels, as well.

“Sustained sedentary behavior after a meal diminishes the muscles’ ability to help clear sugar from the bloodstream,” said first author, Britni Belcher, PhD, a Cancer Prevention Fellow in NCI’s Health Behavior Research Branch and currently an assistant professor at the University of Southern California. “That forces the body to produce more insulin, which may increase the risk for beta cell dysfunction that can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Our findings suggest even short activity breaks can help overcome these negative effects, at least in the short term.”

To conduct the study, the researchers enrolled 28 healthy, normal-weight children who came to the NIH in Bethesda, MD from the surrounding area for two experimental visits. The children were assigned at random to participate in one of two groups. Children in the first group remained seated for 3 hours and either watched television, read, or engaged in other sedentary activities. Children in the second group alternated sitting with 3 minutes of moderate-intensity walking on a treadmill (enough to increase their heart rate) every 30 minutes for the 3-hour period. Each of the children returned to the NIH Clinical Center 7 to 30 days later. Those who had remained seated for the full 3 hours during the initial session were switched to the group that had alternated sitting with moderate walking. Similarly, those who earlier took part in the moderate walking group were switched to the sedentary group.

For each session, the children took an oral glucose tolerance test, typically given to pregnant women to check for gestational diabetes. The test involves drinking “glucola,” a soda-like drink containing the sugar glucose. After consuming the drink, participants had their blood tested to see how rapidly their bodies absorb glucose and how much insulin they produce.

On the days they walked, the children had blood glucose levels that were, on average, 7 percent lower than on the day they spent all 3 hours sitting. Their insulin levels were 32 percent lower.   Similarly, blood levels of free fatty acids — high levels of which are linked to type 2 diabete — were also lower, as were levels of C-peptide, an indicator of how hard the pancreas is working to control blood sugar.

After the sessions, the children were allowed to choose their lunch from food items on a buffet table. Based on the nutrient content of each item, the researchers were able to calculate the calorie and nutrient content of what each child ate. The short, moderate-intensity walking sessions did not appear to stimulate the children to eat more than they ordinarily would, as the children consumed roughly the same amounts and kinds of foods after each of the sessions.

The study authors concluded that, if larger studies confirm their findings, interrupting periods of prolonged sitting with regular intervals of moderate-intensity walking might be an effective strategy for reducing children’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Yanovski added that future studies are needed to examine if working such breaks into school class time could be part of effective strategies to prevent obesity-related illnesses.

Other authors of the study were David Berrigan and Pamela L. Wolters of NCI; Alexia Papachristopoulou, Sheila M. Brady and Ira L. Tigner Jr. of NICHD; Amber B. Courville, Bart E. Drinkard and Kevin P. Smith of the NIH Clinical Center; Douglas R. Rosing of NHLBI; and Shanna B. Bernstein, Robert J. Brychta, Jacob D. Hattenbach, and Kong Y. Chen of NIDDK.

The study, “Effects of Interrupting Children’s Sedentary Behaviors with Activity on Metabolic Function: A Randomized Trial,” was published online at External Web Site Policy, ahead of print.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:54:04 -0500
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty and Obesity in Female Mice

Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--August 27, 2015.  Female mice exposed in utero, or in the womb, to low levels of arsenic through drinking water displayed signs of early puberty and became obese as adults, according to scientists from the National Institutes of Health. The finding is significant because the exposure level of 10 parts per billion used in the study is the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard, or maximum allowable amount, for arsenic in drinking water. The study, which appeared online August 21 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, serves as a good starting point for examining whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.

Image of mice from the study

Mice exposed to low-level arsenic in utero become obese adults. The control mouse, left, was not exposed to arsenic during embryonic development and is a normal weight. In comparison, mice exposed to arsenic at 10 parts per billion, center, and 42 parts per million, right, are visibly heavier. The study also determined that these exposed mice entered puberty earlier than controls. (Photo courtesy of NIEHS)

Scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, divided pregnant mice into three groups. The control group received no arsenic in its drinking water, while the two experimental groups received either the EPA standard of 10 parts per billion of arsenic or 42.5 parts per million of arsenic, a level known to have detrimental effects in mice. One part per billion is a thousand times smaller than one part per million. The mice were exposed during gestation, between 10 days after fertilization and birth, which corresponds to the middle of the first trimester and birth in humans.

"We unexpectedly found that exposure to arsenic before birth had a profound effect on onset of puberty and incidence of obesity later in life," said NIEHS reproductive biologist and co-author Humphrey Yao, Ph.D. "Although these mice were exposed to arsenic only during fetal life, the impacts lingered through adulthood."

The impacts Yao is referring to are obesity and early onset puberty, particularly in female mice. The researchers did not examine in this study whether males also experienced early onset puberty, but they did confirm that male mice exposed to arsenic in utero also displayed weight gain as they aged. Both the low and high doses of arsenic resulted in weight gain.

According to lead author NIEHS biologist Karina Rodriguez, Ph.D., the research team performed the experiment in three separate batches of mice, each containing a control and two experimental groups, and achieved similar results. She said although the biological process responsible for these effects remains unknown, the study highlights the need to continue researching long-term impacts of what mothers eat, drink, and breathe during pregnancy on the welfare of the offspring.

"It’s very important to study both high doses and low doses," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program. "Although the health effects from low doses were not as great as with the extremely high doses, the low-dose effects may have been missed if only high doses were studied."

Grant Number: 1ZIAES102965

NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news list to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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Rodriguez KF, Ungewitter EK, Crespo-Mejias Y, Liu C, Nicol B, Kissling GE, Yao HH-C. 2015. Effects of in utero exposure to arsenic during the second half of gestation on reproductive end points and metabolic parameters in female CD-1 mice. Environ Health Perspect; doi:10.1289/ehp.1509703 [Online 21 August 2015].



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:51:27 -0500