Friday November 16, 2018

Eating in 10-hours Window May Boost Health

Many of us may have one or more disease-causing defective genes that make us feel helpless and destined to be sick. The finding that a good lifestyle can beat the bad effects of defective genes opens new hope to stay healthy

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Restricting meal intake in 10-hour window may boost health. Pixabay
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Following a simple lifestyle such as eating all food within 10 hours can restore balance, stave off metabolic diseases and maintain health, suggests a study led by one of an Indian-origin.

The study, conducted over mice, suggests that the health problems associated with disruptions to animals’ 24-hour rhythms of activity and rest — which in humans is linked to eating for most of the day or doing shift work — can be corrected by eating all calories within a 10-hour window.

“For many of us, the day begins with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and ends with a bedtime snack 14 or 15 hours later,” said Satchidananda Panda, Professor at the Salk Institute.

“But restricting food intake to 10 hours a day, and fasting the rest, can lead to better health, regardless of our biological clock,” he added.

The researchers demonstrated that the circadian clocks strikes a balance between sufficient nutrition during the fed state and necessary repair or rejuvenation during fasting.

When this internal clock is disrupted, as when humans do shift work, or when it is compromised due to genetic defects, the balance breaks down and diseases set in.

Health
The researchers demonstrated that the circadian clocks strikes a balance between sufficient nutrition during the fed state and necessary repair or rejuvenation during fasting. Pixabay

For the study, which appeared in the journal Cell Metabolism, the team disabled the genes responsible for maintaining the biological clock in mice, including in the liver, which regulates many metabolic functions.

They then put the mice on one of two high-fat diet regimes: one group had access to food around the clock, the other had access to the same number of calories only during a 10-hour window.

As expected, the group that could eat at any time became obese and developed metabolic diseases.

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But the group that ate the same number of calories within a 10-hour window remained lean and healthy — despite not having an internal “biological clock” and thereby genetically programmed to be morbidly sick.

“Many of us may have one or more disease-causing defective genes that make us feel helpless and destined to be sick. The finding that a good lifestyle can beat the bad effects of defective genes opens new hope to stay healthy,” Panda said. (IANS)

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NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips To Test Human Tissue Health in Space

Called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties

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NASA, tissue
NASA to send tissue chips to space to test human health, genetic changes. Flcikr

NASA is planning to send small devices containing human cells in a 3D matrix — known as tissue chips or organs-on-chips — to the International Space Station (ISS) to test how they respond to stress, drugs and genetic changes.

Made of flexible plastic, tissue chips have ports and channels to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them.

The “Tissue Chips in Space” initiative seeks to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to translate that understanding to improved human health on Earth, NASA said.

“Spaceflight causes many significant changes in the human body,” said Liz Warren, Associate Program Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in the US.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Kepler Space Telescope. As of October 2018, the planet-hunting spacecraft has been in space for nearly a decade. VOA

“We expect tissue chips in space to behave much like an astronaut’s body, experiencing the same kind of rapid change,” Warren said.

The US space agency is planning the investigations in collaboration with CASIS and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Many of the changes in the human body caused by microgravity resemble the onset and progression of diseases associated with ageing on Earth, such as bone and muscle loss. But the space-related changes occur much faster.

That means scientists may be able to use tissue chips in space to model changes that might take months or years to happen on Earth.

Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, VOA

This first phase of Tissue Chips in Space includes five investigations. An investigation of immune system ageing is planned for launch on the SpaceX CRS-16 flight, scheduled for this year.

The other four, scheduled to launch on SpaceX CRS-17 or subsequent flights, include lung host defense, the blood-brain barrier, musculoskeletal disease and kidney function.

In addition, four more projects are scheduled for launch in summer 2020, including two on engineered heart tissue to understand cardiovascular health, one on muscle wasting and another on gut inflammation.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay

Also called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties, according to Lucie Low, scientific programme manager at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in the US.

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“It has to be 3D, because humans are 3D,” she explained.

“It must have multiple, different types of cells, because an organ is made up of all kinds of tissue types. And it must have microfluidic channels, because every single tissue in your body has vasculature to bring in blood and nutrients and to take away detritus,” she added. (IANS)