Study Reveals That Genes Affect Where Fat is Stored in our Bodies

The result of the current study may therefore lead to the development of new interventions to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

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genes, heart failure
The heart attack brings about activation of certain genes which stay as a permanent memory in genes. Pixabay

Researchers have found that whether you store your fat around the trunk or in other parts of your body is highly influenced by genetic factors.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, also reported that this effect is present predominantly in women and to a much lower extent in men.

“We know that women and men tend to store fat differently – women have the ability to more easily store fat on the hips and legs, while men tend to accumulate fat around the abdomen to a higher extent,” said lead author Mathias Rask-Andersen from Uppsala University in Sweden.

“This has been attributed to the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen. But the molecular mechanisms that control this phenomenon are fairly unknown,” Rask-Andersen added.

For the study, the researchers measured how fat was distributed in nearly 360,000 voluntary participants. The participants gave blood samples for genotyping and the distribution of fat tissue was estimated using impedance measurements, i.e. measurements of electrical resistance when an electrical current is fed through the body.

In the study, millions of genetic variants across the genome were tested for association with distribution of fat to the arms, legs or trunk, and the research team identified nearly a hundred genes that affect distribution of adipose tissue to the different compartments of the human body.

Representational image.

The researchers also saw a high degree of heterogeneity between sexes.

The findings suggest that remodelling of the extracellular matrix is one of the mechanisms that generates differences in body fat distribution, the researchers said.

Fat stored in the trunk has previously been associated with increased disease risk. Men have a greater amount of abdominal fat than women and this may explain the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease observed in males.

Epidemiological studies have even shown that the ability to store fat around the hips and legs gives women some protection against cardiovascular disease.

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The result of the current study may therefore lead to the development of new interventions to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“The biological systems we highlight in our study have the potential to be used as points-of-intervention for new drugs that are aimed at improving the distribution of body fat and thereby reducing the risk of disease,” Mathias Rask-Andersen noted. (IANS)

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A Blend of Spices May Help in Lowering Inflammation in the Body: Researchers

Researchers suggest that adding a blend of spices to your meal may help in reducing inflammation

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food-spices
Adding spices to your meal may increase its health benefits. Pixabay

Adding an array of spices to your meal is a surefire way to make it tastier and a part of Healthy Recipes, but it may increase its health benefits as well, say researchers, suggesting that a blend of spices may help in lowering inflammation in the body.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, the research team used a blend of basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, red pepper, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.

In a randomised, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that when participants ate a meal high in fat and carbohydrates with six grams of a spice blend added, the participants had lower inflammation markers compared to when they ate a meal with less or no spices. “If spices are palatable to you, they might be a way to make a high-fat or high-carb meal more healthful,” said study researcher Connie Rogers, Associate Professor at Penn State University in the US.

According to the researchers, previous research has linked a variety of different spices, like ginger and turmeric, with anti-inflammatory properties. For the current study, the researchers recruited 12 men between the ages of 40 and 65, with overweight or obesity, and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In random order, each participant ate three versions of a meal high in saturated fat and carbohydrates on three separate days: one with no spices, one with two grams of the spice blend, and one with six grams of the spice blend. The researchers drew blood samples before and then after each meal hourly for four hours to measure inflammatory markers.

oregano spices
the research team used a blend of many spices including oregano. Pixabay

“Additionally, we cultured the white blood cells and stimulated them to get the cells to respond to an inflammatory stimulus, similar to what would happen while your body is fighting an infection,” Rogers said. “We think that’s important because it’s representative of what would happen in the body. Cells would encounter a pathogen and produce inflammatory cytokines,” Rogers added.

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After analysing the data, the findings showed that inflammatory cytokines were reduced following the meal containing six grams of spices compared to the meal containing two grams of spices or no spices.

While the researchers can’t be sure which spice or spices are contributing to the effect, or the precise mechanism in which the effect is created, the results suggest that the spices have anti-inflammatory properties that help offset inflammation caused by the high-carb and high-fat meal. (IANS)

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Here’s How you Can Enjoy Natural Spa Treatments at Home

Enjoy spa experience as you can make treatments at home

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Spa
Spa treatments can be made at home. Here’s how. Pixabay

A trip to the spa is one of the best ways to rest and recharge.

However, when you’re not visiting a resort and can’t make it to your favourite spa, you can still create your own spa experience with natural products right at your home.

This can be just as effective – and even more fun – than booking a treatment at a professional spa.

Bawah Reserve, one of Indonesia’s most exclusive off-grid resorts, provides every guest with a daily spa treatment during their stay. IANSlife spoke with Emelda Drapiana, Bawah Reserve’s Aura Spa Manager , to bring you six easy yet fabulous recipes for your body, face and hair right from the comfort of your home.

For The Body

Start your natural spa day by exfoliating the dead cells from your skins.

Coconut spa
Coconut oil is an ingredient while making coffee scrub. Pixabay

Coffee Scrub

Used coffee grounds are packed with minerals that are great for the skin. And, because they do not dissolve in water, their gritty texture is great to naturally exfoliate to a super-soft finish.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp coffee grounds

2 tbsp milk powder

100 ml virgin coconut oil

Method

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

Apply to your whole body using circular motions, paying attention to drier areas such as the elbows, knees and feet.

Rinse

Honey spa
5 tsp honey is required while making Honey and Sesame Scrub. Pixabay

Honey and Sesame Scrub

Sesame seeds are a rich source of zinc which can help increase the skin’s flexibility. They are also rich in antioxidants which help detoxify the skin. Black sesame seeds have anti-inflammatory properties as well as iron and vitamins B and E.

Ingredients:

200g white sesame seeds

100g black sesame seeds

5 tbsp honey

5 tbsp sesame oil

Method

Crush the sesame seeds together using a pestle and mortar or the end of a rolling pin.

Mix all ingredients together and stir well.

Apply to your whole body using circular motions, paying attention to drier areas such as the elbows, knees and feet.

Rinse.

For The Face

A simple face mask can make your skin look radiant and glowing. There is no need to use expensive store-bought masks when these clean and restore lost moisture too.

Lemon spa
Lemon Face Mask Can be prepared easily at home. Pixabay

Lemon Face Mask

A natural astringent, lemon juice removes dead skin cells, tightens pores and reduces blackheads.

Ingredients:

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp egg white

Method

Whisk the egg white until fluffy.

Slowly add in the lemon juice.

Apply to face avoiding the eye area; leave for 30 minutes.

Rinse.

Turmeric & Honey Face Mask

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. It can reduce redness from blemishes, minimize acne and calm skin conditions like eczema.

Ingredients:

1 tsp turmeric or cinnamon

2 tbsp honey

Method

Mix all ingredients together and stir well.

Apply to face avoiding the eye area; leave for 30 minutes.

Rinse.

For The Hair

Don’t forget about your hair. A quick and easy hair treatment can add shine and moisture to your hair as well as it being great for your scalp.

Hair mask for shiny, sleek hair

Olive oil is a rich emollient that helps to deep condition hair. Honey locks in extra moisture, minimises breakage and strengthens hair, making it more likely to grow longer.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp honey

Method

Blend the olive oil and honey together.

Apply to dry hair, massaging it into the roots and ends; comb it through for better coverage.

Leave for a minimum of 20 minutes – either loose or wrapped in a towel.

Rinse, then shampoo and condition hair as normal.

Avocado spa
Mashed avocados are helpful in making Hair Mask for dry hair. Pixabay

Avocado and coconut oil have numerous benefits for your hair; moisturising, nourishing and smells good too.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp avocado, mashed

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp honey

Method

Blend the oil and honey together, then slowly mix in the mashed avocado.

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Apply to dry hair, massaging it into the roots and ends; comb it through for better coverage.

Leave for a maximum of 20 minutes – either loose or wrapped in a towel.

Rinse, then shampoo and condition hair as normal.

Now, why not make yourself a rosella tea to complete your home spa experience. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Autism Spectrum Disorder More Common in Boys

Autism is more commons in boys due to difference in neurons

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autism
Neuron offers clues to why autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is more common in boys than in girls, say researchers Pixabay

Neuron offers clues to why autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is more common in boys than in girls, say researchers. They found that a single amino acid change in the “NLGN4” gene, which has been linked to autism symptoms, may drive this difference in some cases.

Researchers led by Katherine Roche from National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, compared two NLGN4 genes, (one on the X chromosome and one on the Y chromosome), which are important for establishing and maintaining synapses, the communication points between neurons.

Every cell in our body contains two sex chromosomes. Females have two X chromosomes; males have one X and one Y chromosome.

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Until now, it was assumed that the NLGN4X and NLGN4Y genes, which encode proteins that are 97 per cent identical, functioned equally well in neurons.

autism
A single amino acid change in the “NLGN4” gene, which has been linked to autism symptoms, may drive this difference in some cases. Pixabay

But using a variety of advanced technology including biochemistry, molecular biology, and imaging tools, the study, published in the journal Neuron, discovered that the proteins encoded by these genes display different functions.

The NLGN4Y protein is less able to move to the cell surface in brain cells and is therefore unable to assemble and maintain synapses, making it difficult for neurons to send signals to one another. When the researchers fixed the error in cells in a dish, they restored much of its correct function.

“We really need to look at NLGN4X and NLGN4Y more carefully. Mutations in NLGN4X can lead to widespread and potentially very severe effects in brain function, and the role of NLGNY is still unclear,” said study first author Thien A Nguyen.

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The research team found that the problems with NLGN4Y were due to a single amino acid. They also discovered that the region surrounding that amino acid in NLGN4X is sensitive to mutations in the human population.

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In females, when one of the NLGN4X genes has a mutation, the other one can often compensate. However, in males, diseases can occur when there is a mutation in NLGN4X because there is no compensation from NLGN4Y, the researcher said.

“The knowledge about these proteins will help doctors treating patients with mutations in NLGN4X better understand their symptoms,” said Dr Roche. (IANS)