October 30, 2009

Junk food binges may lead to addiction

Using junk food as rewards stimulates the reward centers in the brain, leading to addictive behavior. A recent study presented at Neuroscience 2009 last week is being reported all over the internet. 

Interestingly, this is the basic premise of former FDA Commissioner David Kessler's recent book, The End of Overeating (blogged here).  

From Science Daily.com:

Brain pleasure centers became progressively less responsive in rats fed a diet of high-fat, high-calorie food, a new study has found. As the changes occurred, the rats developed compulsive overeating habits -- and became obese. The overeating continued even when it meant the rats had to endure an unpleasant consequence (a mild foot shock) in order to consume the food. . . .

The researchers also found that as the activity of the brain's pleasure centers decreased, the rats became less likely to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet -- even when the less palatable healthy food was the only food available to them.

Read the rest of this article at Science Daily.com -- Junk Food Diet Causes Rats’ Brain Pleasure Centers To Become Progressively Less Responsive

New York Daily News:Binging on junk food encourages addictive behavior: study

Science News: Junk Food Junkies -- Rats on a junk food diet behave like drug addicts

October 30, 2009 in Obesity, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2009

FDA Science Writers Symposium, November 4-5

From the FDA website:Logo2c
Writing About the Future of Public Health 

Science is a key foundation for the decisions FDA makes day on a wide-range of products affecting human and animal health—from the most common food ingredients, to complex medical and surgical devices, to lifesaving drugs.

The Second Annual Science Writers Symposium on November 4 and 5, 2009, will highlight how the FDA applies novel scientific approaches to critical public health issues and the products it regulates. The symposium, featuring a lab tour and presentations by FDA scientists, will give writers a unique insight into the evolving field of regulatory science with an eye towards generating potential story ideas.

November 4-5, 2009
FDA White Oak Campus
Silver Spring, MD 20993

September 20, 2009 in articles, Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 16, 2009

Advisory Panel to Consider Nano-materials in Pesticide Products

Thank you to Cindy Finley, who contributed this as a comment to our earlier post on nano particles in pesticides (blogged here).

There will be a 4-day consultation meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (FIFRA SAP) to consider and review a set of scientific issues related to the assessment of hazard and exposure associated with nanosilver and other nanometal pesticide products.

DATES: November 3 - 6, 2009, from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Environmental Protection Agency, Conference Center, Lobby Level, One Potomac Yard (South Bldg.), 2777 S. Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22202.

Comments: The Agency encourages that written comments be submitted by October 20, 2009 and requests for oral comments be submitted by October 27, 2009. Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0683, by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Regulatory Public Docket (7502P), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph E. Bailey, DFO, Office of Science Coordination and Policy (7201M), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (202) 564-2045; fax number: (202) 564-8382; e-mail address: [email protected] EPA source: http://www.FederalRegister.com

September 16, 2009 in Current Affairs, Farming, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2009

Beer that travels

Seems like there's a lot of news about beer lately.  Perhaps it's Oktoberfest in the air.  Thank you to Steven H. Sholk for forwarding this piece from the Wall Street Journal.  In Belgium, working with a 1.7 million dollar government grant, scientists are working on improving the shelf life of beer.  A government grant for longer-lasting beer?  Does this fit under nutrition policy?

Revolutionary Ferment: Cooking Up Craft Beer That Travels

LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE, Belgium -- Sonia Collin, one of the world's leading beer chemists, has spent a life tinkering with recipes, consulting for everybody from mom-and-pop brewers to titan Anheuser-Busch InBev NV.

Now, in a lab in Belgium, a hub of craft brewing where Trappist monks have been fermenting complex beers for centuries, Ms. Collin seeks the specialty brewer's Holy Grail: great beers that keep their taste long enough that they can be shipped, stored and sold around the world without going bad.

Working with the help of a $1.7 million government grant, . . .

read more

September 4, 2009 in Food and Drink, nutrition policy, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 31, 2009

Study: A Small Molecule That Blocks Fat Synthesis

A study published in Chemistry and Biology found that a synthetic molecule dubbed "Fatostatin" can block cholesterol and fatty acid biosynthesis in mice with obesity genes.  Here's the abstract (it's rather sciency, but that's better than our attempts at translating it):

A Small Molecule That Blocks Fat Synthesis By Inhibiting the Activation of SREBP

Sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) are transcription factors that activate transcription ofthe genes involved in cholesterol and fatty acid biosynthesis. In the present study, we show that a small synthetic molecule we previously discovered to block adipogenesis is an inhibitor of the SREBP activation. The diarylthiazole derivative, now called fatostatin, impairs the activation process of SREBPs, thereby decreasing the transcription of lipogenic genes in cells. Our analysis suggests that fatostatin inhibits the ER-Golgi translocation of SREBPs through binding to their escort protein, the SREBP cleavage-activating protein (SCAP), at a distinct site from the sterol-binding domain. Fatostatin blocked increases in body weight, blood glucose, and hepatic fat accumulation in obese ob/ob mice, even under uncontrolled food intake. Fatostatin may serve as a tool for gaining further insights into the regulation of SREBP.

Read about the study at Eurekalert.com

August 31, 2009 in Obesity, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2009

Study: Bacterial Resistance May be in Stomach

In a study published this week in Science, researchers found that stomach bacteria allowed resistance to antibiotics when added to E. coli.

Read about the study at Bloomberg.com

Read the abstract here:

Functional Characterization of the Antibiotic Resistance Reservoir in the Human Microflora
Morten O. A. Sommer,*, Gautam Dantas,*,, George M. Church

To understand the process by which antibiotic resistance genes are acquired by human pathogens, we functionally characterized the resistance reservoir in the microbial flora of healthy individuals. Most of the resistance genes we identified using culture-independent sampling have not been previously identified and are evolutionarily distant from known resistance genes. By contrast, nearly half of the resistance genes we identified in cultured aerobic gut isolates (a small subset of the gut microbiome) are identical to resistance genes harbored by major pathogens. The immense diversity of resistance genes in the human microbiome could contribute to future emergence of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens.

August 27, 2009 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack