December 2, 2010

Break Out Your Slide Rule

1 Weight Watcher's PointsPlus Formula Unveiled

[Updated] Weight Watchers' uber-top secret PointsPlus formula has been revealed - not by WikiLeaks, but by the anonymous boffins at Wikipedia. According to the Wikipedia article on Weight Watchers, the new PointsPlus points are computed using the formula pp = max {round((p x 16 + c x 19 + fa x 45)/175) - fi x (2/25), 0}, where pp is ProPoints, p is protein, c is carbohydrate, fa is total fat, and fi is dietary fiber, all in grams. Got that? Weight Watchers is publishing reference books and calculators to help you out, but you have attend your local Weight Watchers meeting and pull out your wallet. How do the Wikipedia writers know the formula? Using the old Weight Watchers formula as a hint, they guessed that the new formula could be obtained by doing a "linear regression" on sample data.

More at Wikipedia | Posted 7 years ago by Mark

Previously: Weight Watchers New PointsPlus System

Tags: PointsPlus, Weight Watchers, Linear Regression, Mathematics

Read the Comments (30) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Waist Not, Want Not

2 Kids’ Girth Could Signal CV Health

With the growing rate of childhood obesity, healthcare practitioners say it’s not too early to identify children who may be at risk for heart disease as they age. Researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute examined data from 4667 children, ages 6 to 17, and found that their waist size correlated with risk factors for heart disease while the current screening method of determining body mass index did not. "This study suggests pediatricians add their waist measurements to their routine screening of children to help determine the risk of heart-related disorders," says lead author. Dr. Gangadarshni Chandramohan who added that measuring a child’s girth is a simple, cost-effective and valid method of screening for the risk of CV disease.

More at LATimes.com | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Waist Size a Risk Factor for Diabetes

Tags: Body Mass Index, Heart Disease, Waist Size, Girth, Kids' Waist Size, Heart Disease Risk Factor, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Dr. Gangadarshni Chandramohan

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (54%) / No! (46%)

Who Wants a Thin Brain?

3 Smoking May Change Brain Structure

Brain imaging studies indicate that smoking may result in large-scale, widespread brain abnormalities, specifically the thinning of the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain responsible for many higher-order functions such as information processing, memory and language. Cortical thinning is often associated with aging but smoking was not a known risk factor - until now, with the results of a new study that shows cortical thinning in the brain scans of smokers versus non-smokers. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the more one smokes, the thinner the cortical tissue. Researchers believe these findings add to the long list of reasons to kick the habit and plan to study the rehabilitative effects of quitting smoking on the brain in follow-up research.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Tags: Smoking, Brain Shrinkage, Cortical Tissue, Brain Abnormalities, Cerebral Cortex

Read the Comments (2) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Blame It on Dopamine

4 Cheating on Partner Could Be in Genes

Not that it serves as an excuse for infidelity, but researchers say they've found a gene mutation linked with cheating and risky sexual behavior. MSNBC reports that the cheating gene is tied in with dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter we all experience. The study, reported in PloS ONE, found that people with a particular genetic variation are more likely than others to cheat or have one-night stands. Those who had inherited the same form of dopamine receptor were twice as likely to engage in promiscuous behaviors, possibly for the dopamine rush. Fifty percent had been unfaithful, compared to only 22 percent of those without the gene. All hope isn't lost though. Researchers say that many of the study volunteers who inherited the gene had chosen not to cheat.

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Neurotransmitters

Tags: PLoS ONE, Gene Mutation, Excuse for Infidelity, Genetic Variation, Cheating Gene, Cheating in the Genes, Infidelity Trait, Infidelity Gene, Why Men Cheat, Why Women Cheat, Why Spouses Cheat, Why Husbands Cheat, Why Lovers Unfaithful, Reasons for Cheating on Partner, Dopamine Rush

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (40%) / No! (60%)

Don't Try Getting Drunk with It

5 Mylanta Recall over Alcohol Content

It's unlikely that the use of Mylanta will result in alcohol absorption or "alcohol sensitivity-related adverse events," but Johnson and Johnson says they're recalling 12.3 million bottles of the product anyway. The problem stems from alcohol content in flavoring agents not being disclosed on the packaging, reports CNN. Even though the flavoring agent contains less than 1 percent alcohol, affected Mylanta is still being recalled, adding to Johnson and Johnson's long list of recent recalls. AlternaGel, which is used for heartburn relief, is also part of the recall with 84,000 bottles affected. The recall applies to one AlternaGel liquid product, plus 12 different Mylanta liquid products. The recalled products were made at J&J-Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals plant, located in Lancaster, Pa.

More at CNN | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Mylanta Recall, Drug Recall, Johnson and Johnson Recall List, Alcohol in Flavoring Agent, JJ Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, AlternaGel, Heartburn Medicine

Read the Comments (2) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (65%) / No! (35%)

Many Would Respond to Lower Dose

6 Doctors Prescribe High Dose Hormone Therapy

"Pills containing 50 mcg or greater estrogen are considered high dose. Low is around 20 to 35 mcg."
- Peggy in the comments

While the use of lower-dose hormone therapy increased between 2001 and 2009, researchers believe that physicians still aren't fully incorporating the latest evidence supporting the use of lower-dose hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms. The new research, conducted using data collected from outpatient doctor visits between 2001 and 2009, reveals that less than one-third of women on hormone therapy in 2009 were taking a low dose. Yet, two-thirds of those with menopausal symptoms are likely to benefit on low-dose therapy, says senior study author Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, of Stanford Prevention Research Center. Lower-dose hormone therapy carries less risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Findings are reported in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

More at EureakAlert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Hormone Replacement

Tags: Cardiovascular Disease Risk, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Lower Dose HRT, Menopausal Symptoms, Risk of Breast Cancer HRT, Randall Stafford, Menopause the Journal of the North American Menopause Society

Read the Comments (2) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (52%) / No! (48%)

Violence from Spread of Cholera

7 12 Killed in Witch Hunts over Cholera in Haiti

As cholera continues to spread in Haiti, panic has sparked witch hunts in rural Haiti where 12 people accused of practicing black magic have been killed. Locals in the remote southwestern Grand Anse region of Haiti killed 12 Vodou practitioners after accusing them of making a magic powder to spread cholera. National police report that machete-wielding mobs killed the people accused of witchcraft and then burned their bodies. According to MSNBC, Vodou, a popular faith in Haiti, combines elements of African religion with Roman Catholic Christianity. Vodou includes good and evil magic. The first case of cholera in Haiti appeared six weeks ago. Almost 2,000 people have died from the disease, and more than 84,000 have been infected.

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Cholera Outbreak

Tags: Cholera in Haiti, Cholera Outbreak, Black Magic, Witch Hunts in Haiti, Grand Anse, Vodou

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

Not a Hybrid

8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus Complete Makeover

The new Weight Watchers PointsPlus system is described by their chief science officer Karen Miller-Kovach, RD, as a "complete makeover," notes WebMD. Kovach believes that the new PointsPlus system isn't a hybrid, but rather an "entirely new approach" to steady and safe weight loss, taking advantage of the very latest science. She says that the new system emphasizes foods rich in protein and allows for unlimited fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Under the new system, foods that are dense with calories with more fat and simple carbs are given more points. Dieters may find the PointsPlus value of foods utilizing a pocket guide listing up to 700 of the most popular foods or with an online database of 40,000 foods. Dieters may also buy a PointsPlus calculator or use a mobile phone app.

More at WebMD | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Weight Watchers Makes Changes in UK

Tags: PointsPlus Value of Foods, Finding the PointsPlus Value of Foods, What's the New PointsPlus Value of Foods, Points Plus Review, Learning More About Weight Watchers, The New Weight Watchers System, How Does PointsPlus Work, Foods Rich in Fiber, How to Lose Weight, Science of Weight Loss, Karen Miller Kovach, New PointsPlus System

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (56%) / No! (44%)

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