Gut bacteria linked to obesity, other illnesses, study shows

Gut bacteria linked to obesity, other illnesses, study shows

Published August 29, 2013

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Individuals who lack key species of so-called “good” bacteria in their intestines are more prone to obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes, heart and cholesterol problems, according to research published Wednesday.

The findings may hold new clues to help tackle the world’s obesity epidemic, which is predicted to affect more than 700 million people in 2015, a rise of 300 million in a decade, its authors said.
An international team of researchers compared the intestinal germs found in 169 obese Danes and 123 non-obese counterparts.

“We were able to distinguish between two groups based on their intestinal flora — people with a large richness of bacterial species in their intestines and people with a few less bacterial species,” said Jeroen Raes of the Flemish Biotechnology Institute (VIB) in Brussels.

Twenty-three percent of the sample had “low bacterial richness.”

They turned out to be more likely to be obese — but not exclusively so — and to develop obesity-linked diseases.

The snapshot showed that the “high richness” group had on average 580,000 different genes in their intestinal bacteria.

Among the “low richness” group, there were just 360,000 different genes.

Six bacterial species appear to play the key role in promoting this diversity.

Further research is needed to develop these early-stage discoveries and see if they apply to other races and populations.

The hope is to develop “specific bacterial markers” to identify people at risk and even bacterial treatments to prevent weight gain, said Stanislas Dusko Ehrlich of France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), who coordinated the two studies published in the journal Nature.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/29/gut-bacteria-link-to-obesity-illnesses-study-shows/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2dTwpXZJg

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Women’s height linked to cancer risk, study shows

Women’s height linked to cancer risk, study shows

By Amanda Woerner

Published July 25, 2013

FoxNews.com
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    Cancer cells. (iStock)

Height may be a disadvantage for some women when it comes to their risk for developing cancer. A new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarker’s and Prevention indicates that taller women are at a greater risk for contracting some forms of the disease.

Furthermore, researchers said their findings held strong even when controlling for numerous other factors linked to cancer, such as body mass index (BMI).

“We didn’t find much difference in heavy or lighter women, so it’s a pretty consistent association right across the spectrum,” senior study author Dr. Thomas Rohan, chair and professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, told FoxNews.com.

In a 12-year study of 20,928 postmenopausal women, researchers noted that height was linked to breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, and thyroid cancers – as well as multiple myeloma and melanoma.

The taller the women were, the higher their cancer risk. Each 3.95 inch increase in height was associated with a 13 percent increased risk for developing any type of cancer, when researchers compared the heights of all women in the study. For example, a woman who was 5 feet 10 inches tall would have a 13 percent higher risk for cancer than a woman who was approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Furthermore, some cancers were more strongly associated with height than others. For cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid and blood, women experienced a 23 percent to 29 percent increased risk with each incremental gain in height.

While researchers can’t say exactly why the link exists, they have a few theories.

“There are many genetic determinants of height, and some may also be related to cancer risks,” Rohan said.

Another potential explanation may be related to environmental factors, such as childhood nutrition.  Increased energy intake during childhood is thought to influence adult height and may also impact certain systems in the body, according to Rohan.

“The intake may influence height, which somehow is influencing cancer risk,” Rohan said. “It may have an effect on hormones, which…may influence cancer risk.”

However, Rohan points out that many additional factors throughout adolescence and young adulthood could also be influencing women’s risk for cancer – and that a true explanation for this phenomenon remains unknown.

Despite their findings, Rohan and his fellow researchers hope that taller women don’t lose sleep over the matter. Instead, he hopes researchers will continue to explore the link between height and cancer, as they search for some of the underlying biological mechanisms that may be responsible for the correlation.

“The goal of this study was not to make clinical recommendations,” Rohan said. “From my perspective, this is an interesting observation. But there’s enough for people to worry about without worrying about how tall they are.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/07/25/womens-height-linked-to-cancer-risk-study-shows/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2amhud5N7