Health & WellnessS


Are you what you eat? New study of body weight change says maybe not

If identical twins eat and exercise equally, must they have the same body weight? By analyzing the fundamental equations of body weight change, NIH investigators Carson Chow and Kevin Hall find that identical twins with identical lifestyles can have different body weights and different amounts of body fat.

The study, published March 28th in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, uses a branch of mathematics called dynamical systems theory to demonstrate that a class of model equations has an infinite number of body weight solutions, even if the food intake and energy expenditure rates are identical. However, the work also shows that another class of models directly refutes this, predicting that food intake and energy expenditure rates uniquely determine body weight. Existing data are insufficient to tell which is closer to reality, since both models can make the same predictions for a given alteration of food intake or energy expenditure.


Yale study shows weight bias is as prevalent as racial discrimination

Discrimination against overweight people - particularly women - is as common as racial discrimination, according to a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.

"These results show the need to treat weight discrimination as a legitimate form of prejudice, comparable to other characteristics like race or gender that already receive legal protection," said Rebecca Puhl, research scientist and lead author.

The study documented the prevalence of self-reported weight discrimination and compared it to experiences of discrimination based on race and gender among a nationally representative sample of adults aged 25- to 74-years-old. The data was obtained from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States.


French woman denied euthanasia died of overdose on barbiturates

Chantal Sebire, a tumor-stricken French teacher whose request for euthanasia had been denied, died of an overdose of barbiturates, a French prosecutor said Thursday.

Sebire, 52, was terminally-ill and severely disfigured with an incurable form of tumor which also caused her to lose her eyesight and her senses of smell and taste.

She asked for euthanasia but was denied it by a court on March 17.


Being born bottom first is inherited

A baby is twice as likely to be born bottom first if either or both the parents were themselves breech deliveries, according to a study published ahead of print on The results suggest genes are a contributing factor.

The vast majority of babies are delivered head first. Fewer than one in twenty are delivered the other way round - what is known as a breech delivery. Such deliveries carry significantly greater risks for the baby: they are more likely to die or suffer from health problems.

Factors such as premature delivery and low birth weight are also known risk factors associated with a breech delivery but these only account for up to one in seven of all such breech births. Until now knowledge of whether genes could also be a factor has been lacking.


Cooperative classrooms lead to better friendships, higher achievement in young adolescents

Students competing for resources in the classroom while discounting each others' success are less likely to earn top grades than students who work together toward goals and share their success, according to an analysis of 80 years of research.

Competitive environments can disrupt children's ability to form social relationships, which in turn may hurt their academic potential, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Cary J. Roseth, PhD, David W. Johnson, PhD, and Roger T. Johnson, PhD, reviewed the last eight decades of research on how social relationships affect individual behavior and achievement. Their findings are published in the current issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association.

The researchers examined 148 studies that compared the effects of cooperative, competitive and individualistic goals on early achievement and peer relationships among 12- to 15-year-olds. The studies included more than 17,000 adolescents from 11 countries and used four multinational samples. No one was excluded from the analysis because of gender, nationality, or academic or physical ability.


UW study finds surprising genetic causes of schizophrenia

Errors in DNA don't seem to follow pattern


Flashback Choosing feminism over therapy: One woman's account

We are sitting down for dinner at the Chinese Restaurant. Our family fits in with all the other white, well-dressed families. Judging by the pricey menu and the line of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot, the families here are wealthy. I make polite chit-chat and play my role as part of a "happy family." To the people at the next table everything appears to be quite pleasant. They don't know that my father is censoring our vocabulary and our conversation. They can't see the leash my father has on us or the reins he's pulling. They can't feel the eggshells under our feet. My stepmother abruptly but politely, quietly, leaves the restaurant, leaving a plate of untouched Peking duck on the table. Something -- it could have been anything -- must have just triggered my father's anger. I was in the washroom so I missed what was said. Having just returned to England to visit my family, I'm unsure as to what has been going on. But the pattern is familiar, and soon my survival techniques kick on. It's like a reflex, like I'm on "auto-pilot" now. I bite my lip, keep my head down, listen to his ranting, do as I am told. The rest of the family synchronizes their behavior to protect each other.


Over 220 poisoned by chlorine at Russian aquapark

A total of 224 people, including 181 children, have sought medical treatment for chlorine poisoning after visiting an aquapark in St. Petersburg, the city's health service said on Friday.

A total of 48 people, including 34 children, have so far been hospitalized. The youngest of the victims is nine months old.

Visitors to the Waterville aquapark in Russia's second-largest city started experiencing health problems, including skin complaints, on Wednesday evening. It is believed that the swimming pools had been over-chlorinated.


US, Minnesota: Chlorine poisoning 'a mystery'

Investigators have been unable to determine what caused an apparent chlorine leak that sickened about 40 students at a Minnesota high school.

Don Adams, Sterans County director of environmental services, said two independent tests Thursday found no fault in chlorination equipment in the swimming pool at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. Water samples both Wednesday and Thursday showed no excessive chlorine in the pool.


Are teenage brains really different?

Many parents are convinced that the brains of their teenage offspring are different than those of children and adults. New data confirms that this is the case. An article by Jay N. Giedd, MD, of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), published in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health describes how brain changes in the adolescent brain impact cognition, emotion and behavior.