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what's the buzz

A fat tummy shrinks your brain

A new study by researchers in the US has revealed that having a larger waistline could shrivel your brain.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to cognitive impairment, says Antonio Convit at the New York University School of Medicine.
Convit wanted to see what impact obesity had on the physical structure of the brain.

As part of the study, he used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 44 obese individuals with those of 19 lean people of similar age and background.
He discovered that obese people had more water in the amygdala — a part of the brain involved in eating behaviour.

He also saw smaller orbitofrontal cortices in obese people, important for impulse control and also involved in feeding behaviour (Brain Research, in press).
“It could mean that there are less neurons, or that those neurons are shrunken,” said Convit.

Nails, hair indicate alcohol intake over last 90 days

United States Drug Testing Laboratories (USDTL) has launched two new tests — one for fingernails and the other for hair — which can report a donor’s alcohol exposure for the past 90 days reliably.

The NailStat and HairStat EtG tests measure ethyl glucuronide (EtG) — a minor product of alcohol metabolism.

“For the first time, we have a tool that provides direct evidence of alcohol exposure with an approximate dosing history,” said USDTL President and Scientific Director Douglas Lewis.

“Nail samples are the preferred specimen over hair samples since fingernails show no gender bias. Because cosmetic treatments destroy the presence of some drugs and biomarkers in hair, many women are not able to provide a valid sample,” said Lewis.

USDTL developed the tests for practitioners who are interested in a clinical diagnostic when alcohol may contribute to a health condition.

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