Saturday, 30 August 2008

Google 15

This year I started using Google 15 again on 7th July when I had 27.6 pounds left to lose. Today I've got 23.4 pounds to lose. This is about half a pound a week weight loss over 8 weeks.

Not too bad considering I've had a week holiday in Dublin and a few days in Cardiff over this period. At this rate I'll be down to my goal weight of 155 pounds in July 2009.

The Google 15 target of weight change one week ago of -1 pound and yesterday weight change of -0.2 pound, is giving an actual loss of half a pound a week.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Daily aspirin in middle-age call

Aspirin makes it harder for blood clots to form

Men and women over a certain age should take aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks, experts say in Heart journal.

Nottingham and Sheffield universities' analysis of almost 12,000 patients

found men from the age of 48 and women from 57 would benefit from the drug.

Heart attacks occur when a blood vessel is blocked by a clot, but aspirin makes it harder for blood clots to form.

The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed before "blanket prescribing" could be recommended.

We would encourage everyone to examine their own individual risk and take steps to reduce it by adjusting their lifestyle
Dr Mike Knapton
British Heart Foundation

Under existing recommendations, a GP will prescribe the drug if a person has already suffered a heart attack or a stroke.

It is also prescribed if factors such as high blood pressure put a patient at high risk of having such an "event" in the next few years.

But the researchers said, in reality, many people are not treated.

Some have speculated it may be easier to treat everyone over a specific age threshold such as 50 years.


An analysis of almost 12,000 patients aged between 30 and 75 showed that by the age of 47 in men and 58 in women, the 10-year coronary heart disease risk is 10% - a risk worth treating, the researchers said.

At that point, unless someone is at risk of dangerous side effects because they have a condition such as a stomach ulcer, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, they concluded.

But this did not apply to people with diabetes or those at high risk of bleeding, the researchers said.

Although diabetics are likely to benefit from aspirin treatment because of their high heart disease risk, the evidence is not yet quite clear, they added.

And in anyone over the age of 75 years, the decision whether or not to take aspirin must be made on an individual basis, because they are more likely to suffer bleeding complications.

Study leader Dr Iskandar Idris, an honorary senior lecturer at Sheffield University, said routinely prescribing aspirin in these age groups was a feasible option.

But he added: "The final decision about use of aspirin must eventually be made after discussion with a healthcare provider."

Dr Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Currently the recommendations in the UK are that aspirin is prescribed after a full risk assessment under medical supervision to those who have established cardiovascular disease.

"Further robust research is needed before aspirin should be considered as a blanket primary prevention measure in the UK.

"We would encourage everyone to examine their own individual risk and take steps to reduce it by adjusting their lifestyle."

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Google 15 - large weight rise in a day

All I had for lunch was a curry and beer and G & S leftovers for dinner. Yet I put on almost 3.5 pounds in a day!

The trend line rose too so that I've lost 0.5 pound this week cf. yesterday 1.2 pound loss.

With S birthday today and a large lunch in prospect further rises expected over the bank hols weekend!!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Google 15 - on track progress

The Google 15 Moving Average Weight change: from yesterday -0.3 pounds and one week ago -1.2 pounds.

My weight two weeks ago was 182 pounds (at the end of a holiday in Dublin & the Wicklow Mountains). Today my weight is 177 pounds.

This week I've had bananas for lunch three out of four days. I had water not wine with Wednesdays dinner but had double Lasagne, courtesy of G & S leftovers.

Because my foot hurt I've not had much exercise this week but I did run with Jazzie for seventy minutes on the beach last night.

To lose a pound a week requires a net loss of 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day. For example thats the difference between a 200 calorie banana and a 700 calorie "All Day Breakfast" (sausages in a pastry bab) lunch.

my Target is Moving Average Weight change: from yesterday -0.2 pounds and one week ago -1.0 pounds.

Today I'm on target. My reward is ... a normal diet today!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Gluttony (overeating) - not laziness (exercise) - to blame for obesity

  • 11:15 19 August 2008
  • news service
  • Tamsin Osborne

Greed - not sloth - might be responsible for the obesity epidemic, according to research showing that we're doing just as much physical activity as we were in the early 1980s.

An increasingly inactive lifestyle is often blamed for the soaring obesity rates in the developed world, but few studies have measured whether lifestyle changes have decreased the amount of energy we burn.

To address this, John Speakman of the University of Aberdeen, UK, and Klaas Westerterp of Maastricht University in the Netherlands looked at the amount of energy used through physical activity over the past 25 years in 393 people from across the US and 366 from Maastricht.

In these subjects, energy expenditure has been measured since 1982 using a technique called the "doubly labelled water method", which measures the throughput of water labelled with isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. By comparing the daily energy expenditure in the early 1980s with current data, the researchers showed that there has been no significant decline in the energy the people studied burned through physical activity.

The obesity epidemic had already started by 1982, but Speakman argues that people have always been fairly inactive during the evenings, and that although activities such as watching TV and playing computer games might be relatively new, they have not affected overall energy expenditure.

"Prior to widespread TV ownership we probably spent this time listening to the radio, before that reading, and before electrical lights were discovered we would have been asleep," he says.

If we are not less active, then we must be eating more food, suggesting that trying to increase our energy expenditure through physical activity may not be the best way of tackling obesity.

"If we want to reverse the obesity epidemic it would be much better to focus on trying to decrease caloric intake," says Speakman.

But Paul Zimmet of Monash University in Victoria, Australia, warns that

a complex problem like obesity requires a complex solution. "Addressing the current obesity epidemic requires an integrated approach over and above modifying energy intake," he says.

Journal reference: International Journal of Obesity (DOI:10.1038/ijo.2008.74)

Nature - full text.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Google 15 - half a pound a week loss (July 7-Aug 16)

Google 15 looks good but its deceptive after a holiday where the final weight was used for all the days of the holiday.

From July 7th - 16th August 2008 weekly moving average has gone down from 27.6 to 24.9 pounds. Thats about 0.5 pounds per week loss (despite a holiday in Ireland). Not bad.

So I'm back to weight i was on 24th July.

Obesity 'equal to terror threat'

Overweight man
Obesity is predicted to continue rising

The threat to Britain and the NHS from rising obesity is as grave as that posed by terrorism, a top expert says.

Durham University public health expert Professor David Hunter, who also acts as a government adviser, said ministers should be taking "bold action" now.

He said this could include compelling manufacturers to improve the salt, fat and sugar content of their products.

The Department of Health said it was making progress in disease prevention in a number of areas.

Professor Hunter said that governments since the 1970s, including the present Labour government, had "tinkered around the edges" of the rising problem of obesity.

The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat
Professor David Hunter
Durham University

He said

it was possible that the disease it caused could overwhelm the NHS, with some predicting a doubling of the number of people with type II diabetes by 2025.

The solution, he said, was a more direct approach, with less public consultation.

"They have been talking about it for four decades, but that never seems to be enough," he said.

"The government was quick to move for things like ID cards or 42-day detention without trial - now it needs to show similar leadership in public health.

"The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat."

While many disease prevention initiatives were having some impact, he said, this was on a "piddling" scale.

He said that current work between the Food Standards Agency and food manufacturers and suppliers could go further.

"Lots of the initiatives are under a voluntary agreement - but it has just come to the point where things like these are simply not working."

He said that bigger warning labels, changes in the taxation of "unhealthy" foods, and even the use of compulsory regulations to force manufacturers to cut levels of salt, sugar and fat in their foods could be employed.

'Terror by targets'

Professor Hunter, who has written a book called "The Health Debate" about the challenges facing the NHS as it hits its 60th anniversary, also criticised targets as a tool for NHS reform, describing it as a "terror-by-targets" culture which damaged staff morale.

The recent review by Lord Darzi placed emphasis on the prevention of disease as a priority for the NHS, as did the Public Health White Paper in 2004.

A spokesman for the Department of Health pointed to the decision to fluoridate drinking water to improve oral health, and the introduction of smoking bans, as signs that it was serious about this.

"Lord Darzi's recent review envisioned an NHS that is as good at preventing ill health as it is at treating the sick," he said.

"We are tackling obesity through awareness campaigns and action in schools. Our alcohol and sexual health campaigns encourage responsible drinking and safer sex."

A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said that the voluntary approach currently used with the food industry had been successful.

She said: "We set voluntary targets for salt and have seen considerable reductions in a range of food.

"Legislation is one option if industry doesn't respond to our voluntary approach, but so far it has proven unnecessary."

Council warning on child obesity

Two overweight males
Councils say obese people are putting a strain on their services

Social services may have to take action over children who are overweight if the UK's obesity problems continue to grow, council chiefs have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA)

questioned whether parental neglect should include child obesity, in the same way as under-nourishment.

Examples of some councils coping with a fatter population include larger school furniture and wider crematoria.

It has been estimated that 1m children will be obese in England by 2012.

Councils outlined the ways obesity is affecting public services:

• The cost to social services of caring for house-bound people suffering from illnesses that are the consequence of obesity, including arthritis, heart disease and diabetes

• Furniture in school classes, gyms and canteens having to be made wider for larger children

• Crematoria furnaces having to be widened

• Fire services being called in to winch obese members of the public out of dangerous buildings in emergencies such as fires

The LGA, which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, is warning that as obesity increasingly becomes a problem for children, it is likely that local authorities will have to step in more and more to deal with the problem.

This is usually through offering help and advice to parents and keeping the welfare of children under review.

'Devastating impact'

David Rogers, LGA spokesperson on public health, said councils were increasingly having to consider taking action where it was considered that parents were putting children's health in danger.

He said: "

Councils would step in to deal with an under-nourished and neglected child so should a case with a morbidly obese child be different?

Council equipment and infrastructure is having to be modified to deal with a population that is getting larger and larger
David Rogers
Local Government Association

"If parents consistently place their children at risk through bad diet and lack of exercise is it right that a council should step in to keep the child's health under review?"

Mr Rogers added that it was "vital" for councils, primary care trusts and the National Health Service to work with parents to prevent children from becoming overweight.

He said: "There needs to be a national debate about the extent to which it is acceptable for local authorities to take action in cases where the welfare of children is in real jeopardy.

"The nation's expanding waistline threatens to have a devastating impact on our public services. It's a massive issue for public health but it also risks placing an unprecedented amount of pressure on council services.

"Obesity is increasingly costing the council taxpayer dear. It falls to social services to care for the house-bound obese adults, to invest money in encouraging people to be active and to replace school furniture that is just too small for larger pupils.

"Council equipment and infrastructure is having to be modified to deal with a population that is getting larger and larger."

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Cell change 'keeps organs young'

Liver cells
Toxic proteins build up in organs over time

Researchers may have found a way to halt the biological clock which slows down our bodies over the decades.

A US team thinks it may have found the genetic levers to help boost a system vital to cleaning up faulty proteins within our cells.

The journal Nature Medicine reported that the livers of genetically-altered older mice worked as well as those in younger animals.

They suggested it might one day help people with progressive brain diseases.

These results show it's possible to correct this protein 'logjam' that occurs in our cells as we get older, thereby perhaps helping us to enjoy healthier lives well into old age
Dr Ana Maria Cuervo
Yeshiva University

The researchers, from Yeshiva University in New York, are focusing on a process which is central to the proper working of cells.

The fundamental chemicals of cells - proteins - often have very short working lives, and need to be cleared away and recycled as soon as possible.

The body has a system for doing just that, but it becomes progressively less efficient as we get older.

This leads to progressive falls in the function of major organs - the heart, liver and brain, some of which contribute to the diseases of old age.

Dr Ana Maria Cuervo, from Yeshiva, created a mouse with two genetic alterations.

The first, when activated, boosted the number of specific cell receptors linked to this protein recycling function, while the second allowed the first to be turned on whenever Dr Cuervo wished simply by modifying the animal's diet.

Switched on

She waited until the mice were six months old - the point at which age-related decline in the protein-recycling system begins - then turned on the receptor gene.

When examined at two years old, the liver cells of these mice were far more effective at recycling protein compared with normal mice.

When the overall liver function of the very old genetically-modified mice was tested, they performed at a comparable level to much younger mice.

Dr Cuervo said:

"These results show it's possible to correct this protein 'logjam' that occurs in our cells as we get older, thereby perhaps helping us to enjoy healthier lives well into old age."

She now plans to test animal models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, believing that the abnormal protein deposits in Alzheimer's in particular might be dealt with more effectively this way.

Thomas von Zglinicki, Professor of Cellular Gerontology at Newcastle University, said that the results were "very exciting".

"It's not often you see studies where they have managed to improve function in this way.

"What they seem to have managed is to maintain the mice at this young stage, and both restore and maintain normal activity."

He said that it should, in theory, be possible to achieve the same effect across the whole body.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Society said:

"As we age we have an increase in protein misfolding and general faults in protein processing, so the ability to maintain an effective system to clear these would be beneficial.

"However, a direct line to the clearance of defective proteins in the brain is not so clear from this research."