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Walking to work boosts fitness

Walking or biking to work can boost fitness, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, say researchers.

“Active commuting was positively associated with fitness in men and women and inversely associated with body mass index, obesity, triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin level in men,” say Dr Penny Gordon-Larsen, University of North Carolina.

During the study, the researchers looked at 2,364 adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study who worked outside the home.

The participants reported the length of their commute in minutes and miles, including details on the percentage of the trip taken by car, public transportation, walking or bicycling.

The researchers further assessed participants’ height, weight and other health variables, including blood pressure and fitness levels as assessed by a treadmill test.

A total of 16.7 per cent of the participants used any means of active commuting to reach their workplace. The study showed active commuters were less likely to be overweight or obese and have healthier triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin levels.

Bottle-feeding is not safe for kids

New mums who bottle-feed their children might be putting their kids’ health at risk due to mistakes in the preparation of the formula, say researchers.

The errors include too high concentration of formula, changing brands, and the timing of feeds. This could lead to ‘overfeeding’, which can cause obesity. On the other hand, babies who do not receive enough formula milk are likely to be undernourished.

A review of studies involving more than 13,000 mothers found that a lack of information, and support for bottle-feeding mothers, was contributing to the problem.

Liver cells may act as beta cells

Scientists may have moved a step closer to developing a potential new treatment for diabetes, by finding that human liver cells can be transformed into something like the beta cells that produce insulin in a healthy pancreas.

Sarah Ferber of the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Hashomer, Israel, says that the new findings have enabled her research team to implant these cells into diabetic monkeys.

The researcher said that she and her colleagues basically want to take liver cells from people with diabetes, reprogramme the cells, and reinject them.

She says that the fact that they are the patient’s own makes her believe that the cells should escape rejection by the immune system, sparing the individual a lifetime of daily insulin injections.

Sarah says that her most recent study has provided more insights into how the Pdx-1 gene-crucial for the creation of the pancreas in the embryo-operates.

Grapefruit helps prevent obesity

A new study on mice, conducted by University of Western Ontario researchers, has shown that grapefruit contains a substance that’s a natural fat fighter.

Derived from citrus fruit, particularly grapefruit, the substance has shown it can reduce weight gain and fatty particles in the body, Murray Huff of UWO’s Robarts Research Institute said.

The substance, a flavonoid called naringenin, shows promise as an inhibitor of conditions associated with Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, he said.

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