Why Nervous People Gain Weight


Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have discovered a genetic explanation for a phenomenon usually considered psychological — obesity — and such side effects as type 2 diabetes and arteriosclerosis, among people subject to stress.

While individuals with depression are known to overeat to relieve their stress, Dr. Alon Chen’s research team at Weizmann’s department of neurobiology have shown that changes in the activity of a single gene of mice brains leads to metabolic changes that cause symptoms associated with diabetes.

“We showed that the actions of a single gene in just one part of the brain can have profound effects on the metabolism of the whole body,” said Chen, whose findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His research may help scientists treat stress-related diseases in humans.

How Amputations Affect Eyesight

People see objects “at hand” differently if they are missing a hand, according to neuroscientists at Hebrew University. Their study, published in Psychological Science, found that perception of one’s “action space,” within touching distance, changes after amputation of a hand.

Objects slightly outside the right side of someone’s field of vision are perceived as being the same distance as a closer object on the left side, according to the research. “This shows that the possibility for action in near space” — the ability to grasp something — “shapes our perception — the space near our hands is really special, and our ability to move in that space affects how we perceive it,” the study reports.

Family Therapy “Curative Medicine” For Teens

Depressed and suicidal adolescents fare better with family therapy than with private therapy, according to a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researcher.

Dr. Gary Diamond found “robust and statistically significant” improvement in the recovery of teens who participated in attachment-based family therapy instead of standard private therapy. “Research has shown that family conflict, criticism and detachment can contribute to adolescents’ suicidal thoughts and acts,” Diamond said. “On the other hand, family acceptance, love and support decrease the likelihood for suicide by increasing adolescents’ sense of esteem and connection.

“Parents are not viewed as the problem, but as the curative medicine,” he said. “They are the key to keeping lines of communication open in order to monitor against suicidal behavior.”

New Cancer Treatment At Methodist Hospital

Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn has developed an innovative procedure for treating cancer of the spine, adapting a standard kyphoplasty treatment in which a cement-like material is injected into the spine to reduce pain.

“We mix Samarium, a radioactive material that kills cancer cells, with the cement-like material,” said Dr. Hani Ashamala, acting chairman of the hospital’s radiation oncology department. “This way, there are two benefits: pain control and cancer control.”

The minimally invasive, outpatient procedure, performed under local anesthesia, takes about one hour and has no reported side effects. For information: (718) 780-3677.

Suggested: A (UV) Light Drink

Treatment of water with ultra-violet (UV) light may be a better way to remove impurities or foul smells than the standard chlorine treatment, scientists at Tel Aviv University report.

According to their research, water treatment plants and large-scale desalination facilities can keep water clean of microorganisms by using an “optimal UV wavelength.”

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