Tag Archives: Biological Clock

University of Virginia study: Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity

16 Jan

Lisa Simonson wrote in the Livestrong article, What Are Good & Bad Healthy Lifestyle Choices?

Everyone makes both good and bad lifestyle choices. You may make the choices you do because of learned habits, stress, exhaustion and even timeliness. To live a healthy lifestyle you need to have a nutrient-rich diet, moderate exercise each week, get enough rest and avoid products that can lead to unhealthy habits…. https://www.livestrong.com/article/381713-what-are-good-bad-healthy-lifestyle-choices/
See, Why Digital Overload Is Now Central to the Human Condition https://singularityhub.com/2016/01/15/why-grappling-with-digital-overload-is-now-part-of-the-human-condition/#sm.0001du9uyrj9zefstyx14vmmdlhp8
Science Daily reported in Digital device overload linked to obesity risk:
If your attention gets diverted in different directions by smartphones and other digital devices, take note: Media multitasking has now been linked to obesity.
New research from Rice University indicates that mindless switching between digital devices is associated with increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, which may result in weight gain.
“Increased exposure to phones, tablets and other portable devices has been one of the most significant changes to our environments in the past few decades, and this occurred during a period in which obesity rates also climbed in many places,” said Richard Lopez, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rice and the study’s lead author. “So, we wanted to conduct this research to determine whether links exists between obesity and abuse of digital devices — as captured by people’s tendency to engage in media multitasking….”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190402164520.htm

Citation:

Digital device overload linked to obesity risk
Date: April 2, 2019
Source: Rice University
Summary:
If your attention gets diverted in different directions by smartphones and other digital devices, take note: Media multitasking has now been linked to obesity.

Journal Reference:
Richard B. Lopez, Todd F. Heatherton, Dylan D. Wagner. Media multitasking is associated with higher risk for obesity and increased responsiveness to rewarding food stimuli. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s11682-019-00056-0

See, https://drwilda.com/tag/obesity/

Science Daily reported in Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity:

During the years 1976 through 1980, 15% of U.S. adults were obese. Today, about 40% of adults are obese. Another 33% are overweight.
Coinciding with this increase in weight are ever-rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and health complications caused by obesity, such as hypertension. Even Alzheimer’s disease may be partly attributable to obesity and physical inactivity.
“The diet in the U.S. and other nations has changed dramatically in the last 50 years or so, with highly processed foods readily and cheaply available at any time of the day or night,” Ali Güler, a professor of biology at the University of Virginia, said. “Many of these foods are high in sugars, carbohydrates and calories, which makes for an unhealthy diet when consumed regularly over many years.”
In a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, Güler and his colleagues demonstrate that the pleasure center of the brain that produces the chemical dopamine, and the brain’s separate biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms, are linked, and that high-calorie foods — which bring pleasure — disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption. Using mice as study models, the researchers mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet, and showed that anytime snacking eventually results in obesity and related health problems.
Güler’s team found that mice fed a diet comparable to a wild diet in calories and fats maintained normal eating and exercise schedules and proper weight. But mice fed high-calorie diets laden with fats and sugars began “snacking” at all hours and became obese.
Additionally, so-called “knockout” mice that had their dopamine signaling disrupted — meaning they didn’t seek the rewarding pleasure of the high-fat diet — maintained a normal eating schedule and did not become obese, even when presented with the 24/7 availability of high-calorie feeds.
“We’ve shown that dopamine signaling in the brain governs circadian biology and leads to consumption of energy-dense foods between meals and during odd hours,” Güler said.
Other studies have shown, Güler said, that when mice feed on high-fat foods between meals or during what should be normal resting hours, the excess calories are stored as fat much more readily than the same number of calories consumed only during normal feeding periods. This eventually results in obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes.
Speaking of the modern human diet, Güler said, “The calories of a full meal may now be packed into a small volume, such as a brownie or a super-size soda. It is very easy for people to over-consume calories and gain excessive weight, often resulting in obesity and a lifetime of related health problems.
“Half of the diseases that affect humans are worsened by obesity. And this results in the need for more medical care and higher health care costs for individuals, and society.”
Güler said the human body, through thousands of years of evolution, is hard-wired to consume as much food as possible as long as it’s available. He said this comes from a long earlier history when people hunted or gathered food and had brief periods of plenty, such as after a kill, and then potentially lengthy periods of famine. Humans also were potential prey to large animals and so actively sought food during the day, and sheltered and rested at night.
“We evolved under pressures we no longer have,” Güler said. “It is natural for our bodies as organisms to want to consume as much as possible, to store fat, because the body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200103111717.htm

Citation:

Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity
Date: January 3, 2020
Source: University of Virginia
Summary:
A new study finds that the pleasure center of the brain and the brain’s biological clock are linked, and that high-calorie foods — which bring pleasure — disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption.

Journal Reference:
Ryan M. Grippo, Qijun Tang, Qi Zhang, Sean R. Chadwick, Yingnan Gao, Everett B. Altherr, Laura Sipe, Aarti M. Purohit, Nidhi M. Purohit, Meghana D. Sunkara, Krystyna J. Cios, Michael Sidikpramana, Anthony J. Spano, John N. Campbell, Andrew D. Steele, Jay Hirsh, Christopher D. Deppmann, Martin Wu, Michael M. Scott, Ali D. Güler. Dopamine Signaling in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Enables Weight Gain Associated with Hedonic Feeding. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.11.029

Here is the press release from the University of Virginia:

Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity
by University of Virginia
Coinciding with this increase in weight are ever-rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and health complications caused by obesity, such as hypertension. Even Alzheimer’s disease may be partly attributable to obesity and physical inactivity.
“The diet in the U.S. and other nations has changed dramatically in the last 50 years or so, with highly processed foods readily and cheaply available at any time of the day or night,” Ali Güler, a professor of biology at the University of Virginia, said. “Many of these foods are high in sugars, carbohydrates and calories, which makes for an unhealthy diet when consumed regularly over many years.”
In a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, Güler and his colleagues demonstrate that the pleasure center of the brain that produces the chemical dopamine, and the brain’s separate biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms, are linked, and that high-calorie foods—which bring pleasure—disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption. Using mice as study models, the researchers mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet, and showed that anytime snacking eventually results in obesity and related health problems.
Güler’s team found that mice fed a diet comparable to a wild diet in calories and fats maintained normal eating and exercise schedules and proper weight. But mice fed high-calorie diets laden with fats and sugars began “snacking” at all hours and became obese.
Additionally, so-called “knockout” mice that had their dopamine signaling disrupted—meaning they didn’t seek the rewarding pleasure of the high-fat diet—maintained a normal eating schedule and did not become obese, even when presented with the 24/7 availability of high-calorie feeds.
“We’ve shown that dopamine signaling in the brain governs circadian biology and leads to consumption of energy-dense foods between meals and during odd hours,” Güler said.
Other studies have shown, Güler said, that when mice feed on high-fat foods between meals or during what should be normal resting hours, the excess calories are stored as fat much more readily than the same number of calories consumed only during normal feeding periods. This eventually results in obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes.
Speaking of the modern human diet, Güler said, “The calories of a full meal may now be packed into a small volume, such as a brownie or a super-size soda. It is very easy for people to over-consume calories and gain excessive weight, often resulting in obesity and a lifetime of related health problems.
“Half of the diseases that affect humans are worsened by obesity. And this results in the need for more medical care and higher health care costs for individuals, and society.”
Güler said the human body, through thousands of years of evolution, is hard-wired to consume as much food as possible as long as it’s available. He said this comes from a long earlier history when people hunted or gathered food and had brief periods of plenty, such as after a kill, and then potentially lengthy periods of famine. Humans also were potential prey to large animals and so actively sought food during the day, and sheltered and rested at night.
“We evolved under pressures we no longer have,” Güler said. “It is natural for our bodies as organisms to want to consume as much as possible, to store fat, because the body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming.
“But, of course, food is now abundant, and our next meal is as close as the kitchen, or the nearest fast-food drive-through, or right here on our desk. Often, these foods are high in fats, sugars, and therefore calories, and that’s why they taste good. It’s easy to overconsume, and, over time, this takes a toll on our health.”
Additionally, Güler said, prior to the advent of our electricity-powered society, people started the day at dawn, worked all day, often doing manual labor, and then went to sleep with the setting of the sun. Human activity, therefore, was synchronized to day and night. Today, we are working, playing, staying connected—and eating—day and night. This, Guler said, affects our body clocks, which were evolved to operate on a sleep-wake cycle timed to daytime activity, moderate eating and nighttime rest.
“This lights-on-all-the-time, eat-at-any-time lifestyle recasts eating patterns and affects how the body utilizes energy,” he said. “It alters metabolism—as our study shows—and leads to obesity, which causes disease. We’re learning that when we eat is just as important as how much we eat. A calorie is not just a calorie. Calories consumed between meals or at odd hours become stored as fat, and that is the recipe for poor health.”
________________________________________
Explore further
Researchers identify neurons that control brain’s body clock
________________________________________
More information: Ryan M. Grippo et al, Dopamine Signaling in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Enables Weight Gain Associated with Hedonic Feeding, Current Biology (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.11.029
Journal information: Current Biology
Provided by University of Virginia

In other words, much of the obesity problem is due to personal life style choices and the question is whether government can or should regulate those choices.

Personal Responsibility:

There is only one person responsible for your life and the vocation you have chosen. That person is the one you see in the mirror in the morning when you wake up. Don’t blame God, your boss, your parents, your former teachers, your coach, your co-workers or your dog. You and only you are responsible for your work life and what you have achieved. The sooner you accept this notion, the sooner you will begin to make changes that lead to a happier and more productive life and career. http://www.corethemes.com/coreconcepts/

It’s all about ME unless I have to take responsibility for ME. The same brilliant minds who think the government can substitute for family have fostered a single parenthood rate of 70% in the African-American community and about 50% for the population as a whole. Given the child abuse and foster care numbers, this plan hasn’t worked well. Sometimes folks have to be responsible for their choices.

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Children of older fathers can have genetic issues: Study reports mental illness risk higher

28 Feb

Apparently there is not an unlimited shelf life for sperm. Benedict Carey reported in the New York Times article, Father’s Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia:

Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age, scientists reported on Wednesday, in the first study to quantify the effect as it builds each year. The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found.
Experts said that the finding was hardly reason to forgo fatherhood later in life, though it might have some influence on reproductive decisions. The overall risk to a man in his 40s or older is in the range of 2 percent, at most, and there are other contributing biological factors that are entirely unknown.
But the study, published online in the journal Nature, provides support for the argument that the surging rate of autism diagnoses over recent decades is attributable in part to the increasing average age of fathers, which could account for as many as 20 to 30 percent of cases.
The findings also counter the longstanding assumption that the age of the mother is the most important factor in determining the odds of a child having developmental problems. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome, increases for older mothers, but when it comes to some complex developmental and psychiatric problems, the lion’s share of the genetic risk originates in the sperm, not the egg, the study found. Previous studies had strongly suggested as much, including an analysis published in April that found that this risk was higher at age 35 than 25 and crept up with age. The new report quantifies that risk for the first time, calculating how much it accumulates each year.
The research team found that the average child born to a 20-year-old father had 25 random mutations that could be traced to paternal genetic material. The number increased steadily by two mutations a year, reaching 65 mutations for offspring of 40-year-old men.
The average number of mutations coming from the mother’s side was 15, no matter her age, the study found.
“This study provides some of the first solid scientific evidence for a true increase in the condition” of autism, said Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. “It is extremely well done and the sample meticulously characterized.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/health/fathers-age-is-linked-to-risk-of-autism-and-schizophrenia.html?emc=eta1

Citation:

Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk
Journal name: Nature
Volume: 488,
Pages: 471–475
Date published: (23 August 2012)
DOI: doi:10.1038/nature11396
Received 28 February 2012 Accepted 04 July 2012 Published online 22 August 2012
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Carey is updating this study with findings from a newer study.

Benedict Carey reported in the New York Times article, Mental Illness Risk Higher for Children of Older Fathers, Study Finds:

Children born to middle-aged men are more likely than those born to younger fathers to develop any of a range of mental difficulties, including attention deficits, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, according to the most comprehensive study to date of paternal age and offspring mental health.
In recent years, scientists have debated based on mixed evidence whether a father’s age is linked to his child’s vulnerability to individual disorders like autism and schizophrenia. Some studies have found strong associations, while others have found weak associations or none at all.
The new report, which looked at many mental disorders in Sweden, should inflame the debate, if not settle it, experts said. Men have a biological clock of sorts because of random mutations in sperm over time, the report suggests, and the risks associated with later fatherhood may be higher than previously thought. The findings were published on Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
“This is the best paper I’ve seen on this topic, and it suggests several lines of inquiry into mental illness,” said Dr. Patrick F. Sullivan, a professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina, who was not involved in the research. “But the last thing people should do is read this and say, ‘Oh no, I had a kid at 43, the kid’s doomed.’ The vast majority of kids born to older dads will be just fine.”
Dr. Kenneth S. Kendler, a professor of psychiatry and human molecular genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, also urged caution in interpreting the results. “This is great work from a scientific perspective,” he said. “But it needs to be replicated, and biomedical science needs to get in gear and figure out what accounts for” the mixed findings of previous studies.
The strengths of the new report are size and rigor. The research team, led by Brian M. D’Onofrio of Indiana University, analyzed medical and public records of about 2.6 million people born in Sweden from 1973 to 2001. Like many European countries, Sweden has centralized medical care and keeps detailed records, so the scientists knew the father’s age for each birth and were able to track each child’s medical history over time, as well as that of siblings and other relatives. Among other things, the analysis compared the mental health of siblings born to the same father and found a clear pattern of increased risk with increasing paternal age.
Compared with the children of young fathers, aged 20 to 24, those born to men age 45 and older had about twice the risk of developing psychosis, the signature symptom of schizophrenia; more than three times the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of autism; and about 13 times the chance of having a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. Children born to older fathers also tended to struggle more with academics and substance abuse.
The researchers controlled for every factor they could think of, including parents’ education and income. Older couples tend to be more stable and have more income — both protective factors that help to temper mental problems — and this was the case in the study. But much of the risk associated with paternal age remained. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/health/mental-illness-risk-higher-for-children-of-older-parents-study-finds.html?_r=0

Citation:

Original Investigation|February 26, 2014
Paternal Age at Childbearing and Offspring Psychiatric and Academic MorbidityONLINE FIRST
Brian M. D’Onofrio, PhD1; Martin E. Rickert, PhD1; Emma Frans, MSc2; Ralf Kuja-Halkola, MSc2; Catarina Almqvist, MD2,3; Arvid Sjölander, PhD2; Henrik Larsson, PhD2; Paul Lichtenstein, PhD2
[+] Author Affiliations
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 26, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4525
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ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES
Importance Advancing paternal age is associated with increased genetic mutations during spermatogenesis, which research suggests may cause psychiatric morbidity in the offspring. The effects of advancing paternal age at childbearing on offspring morbidity remain unclear, however, because of inconsistent epidemiologic findings and the inability of previous studies to rigorously rule out confounding factors.
Objective To examine the associations between advancing paternal age at childbearing and numerous indexes of offspring morbidity.
Design, Setting, and Participants We performed a population-based cohort study of all individuals born in Sweden in 1973-2001 (N = 2 615 081), with subsets of the data used to predict childhood or adolescent morbidity. We estimated the risk of psychiatric and academic morbidity associated with advancing paternal age using several quasi-experimental designs, including the comparison of differentially exposed siblings, cousins, and first-born cousins.
Exposure Paternal age at childbearing.
Main Outcomes and Measures Psychiatric (autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, suicide attempt, and substance use problem) and academic (failing grades and low educational attainment) morbidity.
Results In the study population, advancing paternal age was associated with increased risk of some psychiatric disorders (eg, autism, psychosis, and bipolar disorders) but decreased risk of the other indexes of morbidity. In contrast, the sibling-comparison analyses indicated that advancing paternal age had a dose-response relationship with every index of morbidity, with the magnitude of the associations being as large or larger than the estimates in the entire population. Compared with offspring born to fathers 20 to 24 years old, offspring of fathers 45 years and older were at heightened risk of autism (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.45; 95% CI, 1.62-7.33), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (HR = 13.13; 95% CI, 6.85-25.16), psychosis (HR = 2.07; 95% CI, 1.35-3.20), bipolar disorder (HR = 24.70; 95% CI, 12.12-50.31), suicide attempts (HR = 2.72; 95% CI, 2.08-3.56), substance use problems (HR = 2.44; 95% CI, 1.98-2.99), failing a grade (odds ratio [OR] = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.37-1.85), and low educational attainment (OR = 1.70; 95% CI, 1.50-1.93) in within-sibling comparisons. Additional analyses using several quasi-experimental designs obtained commensurate results, further strengthening the internal and external validity of the findings.
Conclusions and Relevance Advancing paternal age is associated with increased risk of psychiatric and academic morbidity, with the magnitude of the risks being as large or larger than previous estimates. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that new genetic mutations that occur during spermatogenesis are causally related to offspring morbidity.

Paul Raeburn posted the article, The conversation we’re not having about dads’ biological clocks at Today’s Moms blog.
According to Raeburn:

Even genetic counselors, who advise couples on such risks, often ignore the risks associated with older fathers, said Jehannine Austin, a genetic counselor at the University of British Columbia whose specialty is psychiatric genetic counseling.
“Medicine tends to focus on the role of mothers in bringing children into the world far more so than we do the role of fathers,” she said. “And I think that really should change.”
Sandra Darilek, an expert on prenatal genetic counseling, says it is still unclear what to do about the risks associated with older fathers.
“There aren’t guidelines about what you should and shouldn’t expect with regard to paternal age,” she said. “Older fathers have a higher risk of passing on what we call new mutations. The problem is that there isn’t any prenatal test that will identify that.”
Furthermore, counselors often do not see couples until the woman is already pregnant, she said. And then it might be wiser not to tell couples about the increased risks associated with fathers’ age. “We’d just be alarming couples when we have nothing to offer them,” she said.
D’Onofrio’s research found that risk increased steadily as fathers aged. There was no age at which the risk zoomed up. Instead, the older the father was, the greater the risk to his children.
“Everyone wants to know when it is safe to have children and when it is not safe,” D’Onofrio said. “There is an increasing risk as men get older. There is not a safe age and a risky age.”
Our two boys are now 7 and 4 — yes, we had another one knowing the risks — and they are fine. We have years to go before we will know for sure whether they have avoided the risks related to my age, but Elizabeth and I have not had any second thoughts about our choices.
http://www.today.com/moms/conversation-were-not-having-about-dads-biological-clocks-2D12184290

Both older males and older females bring genetic issues to any possible late-in-life birth. Potential parents should be advised and counseled concerning these risks.

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