Researchers in Hungary who found that normal and overweight dogs behaved differently in tasks involving food say the dogs’ responses were similar to those that might be expected from normal and overweight humans.
The study suggested dogs could be used as models for future research into the causes and psychological impact of human obesity, the authors of the paper from Budapest’s ELTE University said.
Researchers put two bowls — one holding a good meal, the other empty or containing less attractive food — in front of a series of dogs.
The study found that canines of a normal weight continued obeying instructions to check the second bowl for food, but the obese ones refused after a few rounds.
“We expected the overweight dog to do anything to get food, but in this test, we saw the opposite. The overweight dogs took a negative view,” test leader Orsolya Torda said.
“If a situation is uncertain and they cannot find food, the obese dogs are unwilling to invest energy to search for food — for them, the main thing is to find the right food with least energy involved.”
The behavior had possible parallels with overweight people who see food as a reward, said the paper, which was published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. (VOA)
Researchers have developed a new adhesive patch that could reduce the stretching of cardiac muscle following a heart attack.
Developed by a team of researchers from Brown University, US; Fudan University, China and Soochow University, China, the patch is made from a water-based hydrogel material and can be placed directly on the heart to prevent left ventricular remodelling — a stretching of the heart muscle.
A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber.
“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” said co-author Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University.
“The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal,” he added.
The researchers said the patch, which costs “less than a penny”, has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material’s mechanical properties.
“If the material is too hard or stiff, then you could confine the movement of the heart so that it can’t expand to the volume it needs to,” Gao said.
“But if the material is too soft, then it won’t provide enough support. So we needed some mechanical principles to guide us,” he pointed out.
For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage.
“The patch provided nearly optimal mechanical supports after myocardial infarction (i.e. massive death of cardiomyocytes),” said co-author Ning Sun, a cardiology researcher at Fudan University.
“[It] maintained a better cardiac output and thus greatly reduced the overload of those remaining cardiomyocytes and adverse cardiac remodelling.”