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The Obesity Epidemic: An Examination of Physical, Emotional, and Social Factors Effects on Eating Tendencies in a College Sample

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Thirty six percent of Americans are obese and thirty three percent are overweight; obesity has become a known killer in the U.S. yet its prevalence has maintained a firm grasp on the U.S. population and continues to spread across the

Thirty six percent of Americans are obese and thirty three percent are overweight; obesity has become a known killer in the U.S. yet its prevalence has maintained a firm grasp on the U.S. population and continues to spread across the globe as other countries slowly adopt the American lifestyle. A survey was compiled collecting demographic and body mass index (BMI) information, as well as Tanofsky-Kraff’s (2009) “Assess Eating in the Absence of Hunger” survey questions. The survey used for this study was emailed out to Arizona State University students in Barrett, The Honors College, and the ASU School of Nutrition and Health Promotion listservs. A total of 457 participants completed the survey, 72 males and 385 females (mean age, 24.5±7.7 y; average body mass index (BMI), 23.4 ± 4.8 [a BMI of 25-29.9 is classified as overweight]). When comparing BMI with the living situation, 71% of obese students were living at home with family versus off campus with friends or alone. For comparison, 45% of normal weight students lived at home with family.  These data could help structure prevention plans targeting college students by focusing on weight gain prevention at the family level. Results from the Tanofsky-Kraff (2009) survey revealed there was not a significant relationship between external or physical cues and BMI in men or women, but there was a significant positive correlation between emotional cues and BMI in women only. Anger and sadness were the emotional cues in women related to initiating consumption past satiation and consumption following several hours of fasting. Although BMI was inversely related to physical activity in this sample (r = -0.132; p=0.005), controlling for physical activity did not impact the significant associations of BMI with anger or sadness (P>0.05).  This information is important in targeting prevention programs to address behavioral change and cognitive awareness of the effects of emotion on over-consumption.

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2013-05

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Next-Generation Sequencing for DNA Methylation Profiling in Blood and Skeletal Muscle

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DNA methylation, a subset of epigenetics, has been found to be a significant marker associated with variations in gene expression and activity across the entire human genome. As of now, however, there is little to no information about how DNA

DNA methylation, a subset of epigenetics, has been found to be a significant marker associated with variations in gene expression and activity across the entire human genome. As of now, however, there is little to no information about how DNA methylation varies between different tissues inside a singular person's body. By using research data from a preliminary study of lean and obese clinical subjects, this study attempts to put together a profile of the differences in DNA methylation that can be observed between two particular body tissues from this subject group: blood and skeletal muscle. This study allows us to start describing the changes that occur at the epigenetic level that influence how differently these two tissues operate, along with seeing how these tissues change between individuals of different weight classes, especially in the context of the development of symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.

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2013-12

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Diet-Induced Thermogenesis as Measured by Exogenous Norepinephrine Injections in High Fat Diet - Fed Rats: A Pilot Study

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It is presently believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is an important tissue in the control of obesity because it has the propensity to increase energy expenditure. The purpose of this study was to attempt to quantify the thermogenesis of

It is presently believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is an important tissue in the control of obesity because it has the propensity to increase energy expenditure. The purpose of this study was to attempt to quantify the thermogenesis of BAT when four rats were exposed to a progression of low-fat to high-fat diet. Exogenous norepinephrine (NE) injections (dose of 0.25 mg/kg i.p.) were administered in order to elicit a temperature response, where increases in temperature indicate increased activity. Temperatures were measured via temperature sensing transponders that had been inserted at the following three sites: interscapular BAT (iBAT), the abdomen (core), and lower back (reference). Data showed increased BAT activity during acute (2-3 weeks) high fat diet (HFD) in comparison to low fat diet (LFD), but a moderate to marked decrease in BAT activity during chronic HFD (6-8 weeks) when compared to acute HFD. This suggests that while a HFD may initially stimulate BAT in the short-term, a long-term HFD diet may have negative effects on BAT activation.

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2016-12

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Effect of fatty acids and insulin on syncytin-1 and 4E-BP1 in skeletal muscle

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Obesity impairs skeletal muscle maintenance and regeneration, a condition that can progressively lead to muscle loss, but the mechanisms behind it are unknown. Muscle is primarily composed of multinucleated cells called myotubes which are derived by the fusion of mononucleated

Obesity impairs skeletal muscle maintenance and regeneration, a condition that can progressively lead to muscle loss, but the mechanisms behind it are unknown. Muscle is primarily composed of multinucleated cells called myotubes which are derived by the fusion of mononucleated myocytes. A key mediator in this process is the cellular fusion protein syncytin-1. This led to the hypothesis that syncytin-1 could be decreased in the muscle of obese/insulin resistant individuals. In contrast, it was found that obese/insulin resistant subjects had higher syncytin-1 expression in the muscle compared to that of the lean subjects. Across the subjects, syncytin-1 correlated significantly with body mass index, percent body fat, blood glucose and HbA1c levels, insulin sensitivity and muscle protein fractional synthesis rate. The concentrations of specific plasma fatty acids, such as the saturated fatty acid (palmitate) and monounsaturated fatty acid (oleate) are known to be altered in obese/insulin resistant humans, and also to influence the protein synthesis in muscle. Therefore, it was evaluated that the effects of palmitate and oleate on syncytin-1 expression, as well as 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, a key mechanism regulating muscle protein synthesis in insulin stimulated C2C12 myotubes. The results showed that treatment with 20 nM insulin, 300 µM oleate, 300 µM oleate +20 nM insulin and 300 µM palmitate + 300 µM oleate elevated 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. At the same time, 20 nM insulin, 300 µM palmitate, 300 µM oleate + 20 nM insulin and 300 µM palmitate + 300 µM oleate elevated syncytin-1 expression. Insulin stimulated muscle syncytin-1 expression and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, and this effect was comparable to that observed in the presence of oleate alone. However, the presence of palmitate + oleate diminished the stimulatory effect of insulin on muscle syncytin-1 expression and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. These findings indicate oleate but not palmitate increased total 4E-BP1 phosphorylation regardless of insulin and the presence of palmitate in insulin mediated C2C12 cells. The presence of palmitate inhibited the upregulation of total 4EB-P1 phosphorylation. Palmitate but not oleate increased syncytin-1 expression in insulin mediated C2C12 myotubes. It is possible that chronic hyperinsulinemia in obesity and/or elevated levels of fatty acids such as palmitate in plasma could have contributed to syncytin-1 overexpression and decreased muscle protein fractional synthesis rate in obese/insulin resistant human muscle.

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2017