Research Roundup: Eating an Egg a Day is Healthy and More
Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones.
No Heart Disease Risk from Eating an Egg a Day
Nutritional science seems to come and go, and for years eating chicken eggs was viewed as somewhat unhealthy because of high cholesterol levels. Science is moving away from that observation. Now, researchers with McMaster University’s Population Research Institute (PHRI) and Hamilton Health Sciences analyzed data from three large, long-term multinational studies. And they found no harm from eating eggs. Mahshid Dehghan, first author and a PHRI investigator, noted that the majority of people in the studies eat one or fewer eggs per day and it was clearly safe to consume at that level.
“Moderate egg intake, which is about one egg per day in most people, does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or mortality even if people have a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes,” Dehghan said. “Also, no association was found between egg intake and blood cholesterol, its components or other risk factors. These results are robust and widely applicable to both healthy individuals and those with vascular disease.”
The studies included data on egg consumption from 146,011 people from 21 countries, which was recorded in the PURE study, and in 31,544 patients with vascular disease from the ONTARGET and the TRANSEND studies. These included populations form 50 countries on six continents at different income levels. The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
How to Turn Off Liver Fibrosis (At Least in Mice)
Scarring, or fibrosis, of the liver, is found in a number of conditions, including chronic alcohol abuse, hepatitis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine identified a potential “off switch” that could possibly be used to treat these diseases, at least in mice. They found that by manipulating a special population of liver cells known as hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), they were able to turn on or off the pathways leading to liver fibrosis.
Researchers ID’ed Top Strategies for Weight Loss Maintenance
California Polytechnic State University researchers published findings in the journal Obesity that listed the most effective behaviors and psychological strategies in maintaining weight loss. They studied 54 behaviors related to weight management and found the most common in people who successfully lost and maintained the weight loss was setting daily food intake goals, keeping eating diaries, measuring food, and staying positive when regaining weight.
Understanding Brain Connectivity
A new study explored the role of dynamic interactions between different groups of brain cells involved in cognitive function. These types of studies usually fall into three categories, spatially dynamic, temporally dynamic, and spatiotemporally dynamic, with the third being the least studied. This refers to a combination of changes in the shape, size or location of brain networks and how the brain connections change. Potentially, this new study could lead to changes in how diseases are modeled in the brain and new ways to apply existing disease models more broadly.
Possible Cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Researchers at Technical University of Munich (TUM) recently developed a gene therapy that might cure DMD. The interdisciplinary team led by researchers from TUM have successfully corrected the mutated dystrophin gene in living pigs. They modified CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to correct the dystrophin gene. This edit made the gene readable to the protein-manufacturing machinery in the cells. The new dystrophin gene was still shorter than the normal dystrophin gene, but was able to stably form dystrophin protein, which improved muscle function. In particular, the laboratory animals were less susceptible to the cardiac arrhythmia seen in the disease and had an increased life expectancy.
How Cells Move
Many different types of cells in the body move, but how was not well understood. For example, if skin is cut, cells move to heal the wound. Researchers have found that different-shaped cells, round or elongated, for example, move in different ways. But the apparent commonality is traction. Each cell applies force to the surface beneath it, meaning traction, which is dominant in how cells travel as a group. The new understanding may have implications on how to improve wound healing.
Massive Genome Study of Asians Underway
Asian populations are often underrepresented in genetic studies, which can have implications for clinical trials and drug development. Researchers from dozens of institutions around the globe, including the University of Virginia School of Medicine, are working as part of the GenomeAsia 100K Consortium. So far, they have analyzed the genomes of 1,739 people from 219 different populations groups in 64 countries across Asia. The goal is to sequence the genomes of 100,000 Asians.