Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Like a bear leaves its ominous footprints in the snow, diseases and other biological processes often leave traces throughout our bodies. Recent technological and scientific advances have enabled clinicians to use measurements of these ‘biomarkers’ in their attempts to improve our health. A new study by IRP researchers revealed that patients with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have higher blood concentrations of certain biomarkers that may foreshadow poor brain health later in life.1
When people with OSA sleep, their throat muscles relax and block their windpipes, preventing proper breathing and often waking them up. As a result, these individuals get lower-quality sleep and their brains receive less oxygen at night.
“The overall idea is that those two conditions are not good for brain health, but nobody had really looked to see if some of the biomarkers we see in brain injury are also common in younger individuals with this type of disordered breathing,” says IRP Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Jessica Gill, Ph.D., R.N., the study’s senior author.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Researchers have a long history of fattening up mice to gain insight into the causes and consequences of weight gain in the human body. In one of the more recent studies of this kind, a team of IRP researchers found that that a high-fat diet consistently altered the collection of microbes residing in mice’s digestive tracts and that this diet-microbe combination might pre-dispose the mice – and, potentially, obese humans – to colon cancer by triggering certain changes in how genes behave.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Last month I moderated our annual retreat with the NIH Scientific Directors, those individuals tasked with leading their Institute or Center (IC)-based intramural research program. We were joined by many of the IC Clinical Directors. And this year we decided to do something a little different: listen to a series of talks about exciting, new IRP research.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Many scientists at the NIH used the metabolic chamber—a room constructed as a scientific instrument in which volunteers could live—to study how our bodies use air, food, and water under different conditions. Would you have volunteered for a study? Today's NIH Intramural investigators have even more advanced technologies to learn about energy expenditure's affects on obesity.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
If you’ve ever skipped meals for a whole day or gone on a strict, low-calorie diet, you know just how powerful the feeling of hunger can be. Your stomach may growl and rumble, but, ultimately, it’s your brain that signals when to start eating—and when to stop. So, learning more about the brain’s complex role in controlling appetite is crucial to efforts to develop better ways of helping the millions of Americans afflicted with obesity.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Phoenix, Arizona, received its name from a British pioneer named Darrell Duppa. When he saw what was left of prehistoric settlements built by the Hohokam civilization thousands of years before his arrival, he knew that another great civilization would “rise from these ashes” just like the mythic bird. The desert city is today home to the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, one of six IRP research campuses.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
The solution to obesity seems simple on the surface—fewer calories in, more calories out—but for those who have tried to lose weight, it's usually not an easy task, partly because weight is the product of many interrelated factors: environment, family history and genetics, behavior, metabolism, and others. Investigators at the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) are studying all of those aspects and more to further understand the disease and better inform public health initiatives.