Many meat-eating mammals lack sweet tooth, study finds.

The study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that carnivorous mammals whose diets don’t feature much in the way of sugar may lose the ability to taste it at all.

Study co-author Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, wasn’t sure what he was expecting to find when he and his colleagues began looking at DNA samples of a dozen different species to study their taste receptor genes. But he knew that cats are indifferent to sweet carbohydrates and lack a working copy of a key taste receptor gene called Tas1r2.

“At the time, the feeling was that the cat was a very unusual anomaly among mammals in that it didn’t respond to sweets,” Beauchamp said. “But we wondered if the cat represented something that had happened many times.”

Using DNA samples mostly provided by the San Diego Zoo, the team from Monell and the University of Zurich examined taste receptor genes in a dozen different mammals and found that seven species – including sea lions, Asian otters and spotted hyenas – lacked a properly functioning Tas1r2 receptor. All seven were meat- or fish-eaters.

The precise mutation in the Tas1r2 gene varied from species to species – an indication that the loss of a sweet tooth wasn’t something that occurred just once in the mammalian family tree, but happened independently at different points in time.

Sweet wasn’t the only taste to disappear. Sea lions also appeared to lack functioning genes for detecting the savory tastes known to humans as umami. So did dolphins, which also lack working genes to detect different types of bitter substances. That was surprising to Beauchamp, he said, since bitterness is a useful warning of the presence of poison.

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Altogether, the findings “illustrate the fact that the sensory world of animals is highly attuned to their dietary patterns,” Beauchamp said.

The loss of major taste receptors in sea lions and dolphins makes sense given that these species often gulp their food without chewing, he added.

A similar pattern appears to hold for vegetarian mammals. Beauchamp pointed to research showing that bamboo-eating pandas have a well-developed palate for sweets, but they lack working umami receptors to detect savory, “meaty” foods.

Thomas Finger, a neurobiologist at the University of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center in Aurora, who was not involved in the research, said the study was “pretty impressive.” Now he wonders whether the lack of working sweet genes is a sign that there’s an evolutionary cost to maintaining an essentially useless taste receptor.

At the very least, he said, “it implies that as animals go to a more carnivorous diet, there’s less and less advantage to it.”

But Finger added one caveat. “They haven’t tested the entire population” of these sweet-deprived species, he said. “If you looked in enough individuals you might find someone with the gene.”

As for those cat owners who insist their feline loves chocolate or goes crazy for ice cream, Finger shrugged at humans’ tendency to anthropomorphize their pets’ tastes.

“Ice cream has a strong umami taste to it, so that’s why your cat likes ice cream,” he said. “It’s the milk protein. We’re very sensitive to sweets – but the cat doesn’t get it.”

Source:the Los Angeles Times 


Scientists confirm Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA.

Research findings continues work of DNA Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Francis Crick

Collaborative research from a gathering of exo-scientists postulate that there are genes from over 20 extraterrestrials civilizations in Human DNA. These exo-scientists have continued the work of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Frances Crick, and other scholars in this area. Current findings are consistent with reports of Professor Sam Chang, who discreetly released information on his own apparent findings, in association with the Human Genome Project. Scientists are beginning to complain more and more about political attempts to compromise the integrity of their important work for humanity. The discreet releasing of findings, is one apparent way in which scientists try to cope with scientific peer pressures to conform to prevailing political pressures.

Details of findings have been published in part, by Dr. Michael Salla, who is a learned scholar on extraterrestrial research. Exo-scientists and other researchers base their findings, in part, on carefully collecting data, which includes well corroborated documented observations by contactees and “whistleblowers”, as well as other documentation. These verified reliable sources have come into contact with representatives of non-Earth Human civilizations living in human populations at-large, and also in official capacities.

“Exo-science” is the study of extraterrestrial phenomenon. “Exo-science” is further associated with “exopolitics” which embraces the need for humanity to have open contacts with Extraterrestrials on a representative democratic basis, that respects Earth’s sovereignty.

In today’s “global economy” an “official science” which denies the analytical study of spiritual phenomena, as a legitimate context for understanding human reality, has been created over time. The “science” which is legitimated by institutions that are closely linked to this “global economy”, tends to seek to analyse only certain aspects of ‘materiality’. Priorised subjects by this “official science” are limited to areas which complement the agenda of constituencies of individuals who seek to manipulate the “recognized” body of human knowledge for power and control. That scientific priorisation context, has notably sought to exclude extraterrestrial relationships to humanity, in order to keep humanity ignorant of its apparent potential “locked” heritage within its own DNA.



Behavioral factors may increase event risk in individuals with CHD and depression.


Behavioral mechanisms such as smoking and physical inactivity accounted for nearly 40% of the link between depressive symptoms and coronary heart disease in a cohort of participants in the REGARDS trial.

During a presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Scientific Sessions, Siqin Ye, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center, N.Y., noted that depressive symptoms are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in individuals with coronary heart disease, but that the role of behavioral risk factors in this relationship is not clear. “There is very limited evidence that treating depression with antidepressants or therapy improves cardiac outcomes, and it may be that simply treating depression is not sufficient,” Ye said “More global strategies specifically targeting healthy behavior are needed in this high-risk population.”

The analysis included 4,676 patients with CHD at baseline. Researchers studied 30,239 REGARDS cohort participants. Depression was defined as a score of ≥4 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The researchers created models to assess links between depressive symptoms and definite/probable MI or death. They then added disease-specific and behavioral risk factors to a model that included socio-demographic covariates and BMI.

There were 638 individuals with depressive symptoms at baseline. Mean follow-up was 3.5 years.

Events were observed in 19.6% participants with depressive symptoms and 16.3% participants without symptoms.

Researchers identified a link between depressive symptoms and a higher risk for events (HR=1.41; 95% CI, 1.15-1.72). However, this risk was attenuated after behavioral risk factors were entered into the model (HR=1.17; 95% CI, 0.96-1.43).

“Behavioral mechanisms accounted for 36.9% of the relationship between depressive symptoms and CHD events,” Ye said. The two behavioral factors which contributed most to the attenuation were smoking (–17.6%) and physical inactivity (–21.1%).

“We again confirmed that depression conveys increased risk for adverse cardiac outcomes in patients with CHD,” Ye told Endocrine Today. “We also showed that behavior such as smoking or physical inactivity explains a substantial part of that risk. For physicians taking care of these patients, it is very important to consider these issues and provide appropriate interventions such as smoking cessation counseling and cardiac rehabilitation, as the guidelines already recommend. Our findings suggest that these interventions may be especially important for patients who have both depression and CHD.” – by Rob Volansky

For more information:


  • Source: Endocrine Today.



Microvascular dysfunction common in patients referred for stress testing.

Men and women who had been referred for stress testing had similar rates of impaired coronary flow reserve, with microvascular dysfunction affecting more than 40% of both sexes, researchers found.

Venkatesh L. Murthy, MD, PhD, of the Cardiovascular Medicine and Cardiovascular Imaging Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conducted a study to determine whether coronary microvascular dysfunction is uniquely common in women compared with men and to identify risk factors for microvascular dysfunction. Murthy presented the findings at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Scientific Sessions.

Analysis focused on 307 women and 97 men, for a total of 404 consecutive patients. Eligible participants had been referred for rest or stress Rb-82 positron emission tomography (PET) scan to evaluate for suspected coronary artery disease, and had normal myocardial perfusion imaging and no evidence of coronary artery calcifications.

The primary outcome measure was coronary flow reserve ,2, which was evaluated between sex difference/equivalence. Secondary outcomes included death or MI.

Women had higher myocardial blood flow than men after adjusting for differences in cardiac work (1.2 [interquartile range 0.8-1.7] vs. 0.9 [IQR 0.7-1.2] ml/min/g, P<.0001). Peak stress myocardial blood flow also was higher in women (2.4 [IQR 1.8-3.3] vs. 1.9 [1.4-2.5] ml/min/g, P<.0001).

Both sexes demonstrated impaired coronary flow reserve, with women at 48% and men at 44% (P=.56).

Patients referred for evaluation for chest pain were most likely to have impaired coronary flow reserve (58% of women and 68% of men; P=.25).

Median coronary flow reserve was 2.05 for women (IQR, 1.64-2.57) and 2.04 for men (IQR, 1.58-2.49; P=0.98).

The only univariate and multivariate predictors of impaired coronary flow reserve were diabetes (OR=1.6; P=.04) and tobacco use (OR=2.5; P=.01).

“Impaired coronary flow reserve is extremely common among patients who are referred for stress testing, even if they have a normal stress test and a normal coronary artery calcium score,” Murthy told Endocrine Today. “This means that many patients who come to the clinic with symptoms but have two normal tests (stress PET and calcium score), could still have a cardiac reason for their symptoms.”

Murthy added that low coronary flow reserve carries adverse prognosis, even with normal perfusion and zero coronary artery calcification. – by Rob Volansky

For more information:

Source: Endocrine Today.

Inverse relationship between LDL levels, cancer diagnosis identified.

Researchers identified an inverse relationship between LDL levels and cancer that persisted for more than 18 years before cancer diagnosis in a group of individuals from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort.

Paul M. Lavigne, MD, of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said the relationship between total serum cholesterol and malignancy was first reported 30 years ago and has since been validated in multiple subsequent studies.

“More recently, we have seen an inverse relationship between low LDL and cancer,” Lavigne said during a presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Scientific Sessions. While there is general agreement that lower LDL levels are seen in patients near the time of cancer diagnosis, there is significant controversy regarding interpretation of that relationship, he said.

“One hypothesis — termed reverse causality — postulates that the cancer itself is responsible for the observed depressed LDL levels in cancer patients,” Lavigne said. “An alternative interpretation is the forward causality hypothesis, which postulates that depressed LDL is a precursor to cancer incidence and itself reflects an increased risk for cancer development.”

The objective of the current study was to confirm the link between lower LDL and cancer incidence.

The matched case-control study included data from the Framingham Heart Study’s Offspring Cohort, where 5,124 individuals were followed during a series of visits at 4-year intervals. Eligible patients had LDL values for four time points predating cancer diagnosis. The main exclusion criteria were a known history of cancer and a history of cholesterol-lowering therapy.

Each cancer case was matched with two controls with regard to age, sex, tobacco use, diabetes status, blood pressure and BMI. Regression analysis was conducted to observe cholesterol levels throughout time.

There were 201 patients with cancer and 402 controls in the final analysis.

Lavigne and colleagues found that LDL levels were significantly lower in patients with cancer than controls at each point of assessment during an average of 18.7 years prior to diagnosis (P=.038). The trend for lower LDL in patients with cancer compared with those who were free of cancer was consistent throughout the duration of the study (P=.968 for differences between time points). These findings did not change when controlling for HDL levels.

The stable inverse association between LDL cholesterol and cancer prior to diagnosis argues against the hypothesis that the observed lower LDL in cancer patients results entirely from preclinical disease, according to Lavigne.

“There is no evidence to indicate that lowering cholesterol with a medication in any way predisposes to a risk for cancer,” Lavigne stated in a press release. “We suspect there may be some underlying mechanism affecting both cancer and low LDL, but we can only say definitively that the relationship between the two exists for many years prior to cancer diagnosis, and therefore underscores the need for further examination.” – by Rob Volansky

For more information:


  • Source: Endocrine Today.Cardiology.





FDA approves first drug-eluting stent for treatment of CAD in patients with diabetes.

Medtronic has announced FDA approval of the Resolute Integrity drug-eluting stent for the treatment of coronary artery disease, which is also the first stent approved for coronary artery disease patients with diabetes.

The agency’s approval was based on results from the global RESOLUTE clinical program, consisting of a large randomized controlled trial and a series of confirmatory single-arm studies involving nearly 250 sites in 32 countries. The program enrolled more than 5,100 patients who received the drug-eluting stent — about one-third of whom had diabetes.

The RESOLUTE US program enrolled 1,402 patients (34% with diabetes) from 128 US-based clinical trial sites. At 1-year follow-up, researchers found low rates of target lesion failure (4.7%), clinically driven target lesion revascularization (2.8%) and definite/probable stent thrombosis (0.1%). A prespecified analysis of patients with diabetes who received the Resolute drug-eluting stent at 1 year also showed low rates of target lesion failure (6.6%), target lesion revascularization (3.4%) and definite/probable stent thrombosis (0.3%). Further, the Resolute drug-eluting stent matched the safety and efficacy of the Xience V drug-eluting stent (Abbott) in two separate large randomized controlled trials.

Additionally, 1- and 2-year data from the Resolute All-Comers study, which enrolled nearly 2,300 patients at 17 centers, were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, respectively.

Similar to Medtronic’s Integrity bare metal stent, the Resolute Integrity drug-eluting stent uses continuous sinusoid technology, which encompasses one continuous single strand of wire that is molded into a sinusoidal wave and then wrapped in a helical pattern and laser-fused at certain points.

“The Resolute Integrity drug-eluting stent offers several notable benefits, starting with outstanding deliverability, which means it’s exceptionally easy to navigate the stent on the delivery system through the coronary vasculature to the narrowed arterial segment that requires treatment,” Martin B. Leon, MD, director of the center for interventional vascular therapy at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and principal investigator of the RESOLUTE US clinical study, said in a press release. “Its approval by the FDA is based on the impressive performance of the Resolute drug-eluting stent in a wide variety of patients. With the device’s compelling combination of deliverability, efficacy and safety, not to mention that it is the first drug-eluting stent approved for patients with diabetes, the Resolute Integrity drug-eluting stent promises to gain rapid acceptance in cath labs nationwide.”

Source: Endocrine Today.Cardiology.

RESOLUTE US: Zotarolimus-eluting stent continues to perform at 2 years.

The Resolute Integrity zotarolimus-eluting stent demonstrated ongoing efficacy out to 2 years in a broad range of US patients, including those with small vessels.

Laura Mauri, MD, MSc, of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, presented 2-year outcomes from the pivotal RESOLUTE US study at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Scientific Sessions.

The RESOLUTE US program enrolled 1,402 patients from 128 US-based clinical trial sites. During the angioplasty procedure, each patient received a zotarolimus-eluting stent (Medtronic) ranging from 2.25 mm to 4 mm in either one or two lesions. Patients were then followed with clinical or angiographic follow-up. Nearly 99% completed 1-year follow-up and 97% completed 2-years of follow-up. At 2 years’ follow-up, the researchers obtained data from 1,359 of the enrolled participants.

Target lesion failure at 2 years — the primary endpoint of the study — was 7.3% in all patients studied.

“We broke this down by components,” Mauri said. “The target lesion failure was primarily comprised of target lesion revascularization, with rate a 4.3%, and less cardiac death, with a rate of 1.5%. Also, incremental rates of death and MI were low at 12 months, and remain low.”

Rate of stent thrombosis rate was 0.2% at 2 years, according to Mauri.

“Between years 1 and 2, there was only one additional stent thrombosis event,” she said.

Mauri also presented results of subgroup analyses, including those for patients with diabetes and those with 2.25-mm vessels.

“The most notable characteristic of the [RESOLUTE] US study population was that there was a high diabetes rate,” Mauri said. One-third of the participants had diabetes, and almost 10% were insulin dependent.

“In the diabetic cohort, the target lesion failure rate was 8.9%, the cardiac death rate was 2.1%, and the target vessel MI was 1.5%,” she said.

The target lesion failure rate among patients with small vessels was 8.2%, with a cardiac death rate of 3.4%.

“Out to 2 years, the target lesion failure rate was consistently low in all groups studied,” she said.

Mauri noted that the researchers included patients with up to two de novo lesions in native coronary arteries between 2.25 mm and 4 mm. Patients with acute MI within 72 hours were excluded.

Eligible patients were treated with clopidogrel for a minimum of 6 months.

“We found that, typical of the US population, it was common for them to be on antiplatelet therapy at 1 year,” Mauri said. “At 2 years, that rate was 67.2%.”

Previously presented 1-year results demonstrate low rates of target lesion failure (4.7%), clinically driven target lesion revascularization (2.8%) and definite/probable stent thrombosis (0.1%).

The RESOLUTE US study was designed to garner FDA approval for the Resolute Integrity stent. The stent was approved in February for the treatment of coronary artery disease, including patients with diabetes. The stent is also approved in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and several countries in Asia.

Mauri said the study is currently in long-term follow-up that will extend to 5 years

For more information:

Source: Endocrine Today.Cardiology.

A Snapshot of HIV Infection Among Injection-Drug Users in the U.S.

Despite ongoing high-risk behavior, the prevalence of HIV infection among injection-drug users is about half of what it was a decade ago.

For the first time in more than a decade, the CDC has conducted a large-scale survey of HIV seroprevalence and risk behaviors among injection-drug users (IDUs). More than 10,000 IDUs in 20 large U.S. cities participated.

Overall, 9% of study participants were HIV-infected. Prevalence was higher among Hispanics (12%) and non-Hispanic blacks (11%) than among non-Hispanic whites (6%); it was also higher in the Northeast and South (12% and 11%) than in the Midwest and West (5% and 6%). Nearly half of the IDUs who tested positive for HIV infection (45%) were unaware of their serostatus. In an analysis that combined these individuals with those who were HIV-negative, high-risk behaviors were found to be very common: 69% of the individuals reported unprotected vaginal sex, 23% reported unprotected anal sex, and 34% reported needle sharing. On the plus side, 72% reported ever being tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and 89% reported ever having an HIV test.

Comment: The prevalence of HIV infection in this survey (9%) was substantially lower than the prevalence documented in the last national survey of IDUs, conducted in the 1990s among those entering drug treatment (18%). Unfortunately, more than 40% of those found to be HIV-infected in the current survey were unaware of their infection, and high-risk behaviors were common. Many of the IDUs who participated in this study had been tested for HCV, but the report did not provide data on HCV infection, which, in this population, is probably several times more prevalent than HIV infection.

Source: Journal Watch HIV/AIDS Clinical Care .