Juvenile Obesity Featured in Odyssey

Contact: Jay Blanton or Jeff Worley

 

""

The magazine also features UK Stroke Program researchers Creed Pettigrew and Anand Vaishnav are taking part in the clinical trial of a drug based on a clot-busting compound in vampire bat saliva, and finding out if aspirin, Plavix and rigorous blood pressure control will prevent stroke more effectively than aspirin alone.

""

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2004) -- It is estimated that 30 percent of children (ages 6 to 11) in this country are overweight, and among adolescents (ages 12 to 19), 30 percent are overweight and nearly 16 percent are obese.

The current issue of Odyssey, the magazine that focuses on research activities at the University of Kentucky, explores this important health concern. From basic science to strength training to long-term weight-loss programs, UK researchers are working to help our kids go from fat to fit.

For more than 20 years, Dr. James Anderson has helped children and teens take off weight through a medically supervised program that prescribes low-calorie meal replacements, fruits and vegetables, and exercise.

Physical activity is the focus of two other UK programs. Joan Griffith heads up the new TEAMS clinic – Teens Enjoying Active Management Systems. TEAMS’ participants and their families meet with a dietitian for nutrition counseling and an exercise physiologist for an individualized exercise plan. UK’s Pediatric Exercise Physiology (PEP) program features kid-sized exercise machines. PEP lab leader Jody Clasey and her staff provide personal supervision.

Leslie Scott is working with Fayette County Schools to screen kids for type II diabetes by looking for a natural marker – Acanthosis Nigricans. This darkening and thickening of the skin, usually on the back of the neck, signals high insulin levels and is frequently associated with obesity.

And Eric Smart is looking at macrophages – our body’s housekeepers and frontline defenders against invaders. Smart explains, “Poor eating habits can change the function of macrophages, and obesity plays a clear role in turning macrophages bad.” Smart is isolating a piece of the macrophage membrane and identifying proteins that change after weight gain.

The magazine also features computer scientist Brent Seales, who is using a CT scanner and imaging software to unwrap the secrets of damaged manuscripts. UK Stroke Program researchers Creed Pettigrew and Anand Vaishnav are taking part in the clinical trial of a drug based on a clot-busting compound in vampire bat saliva, and finding out if aspirin, Plavix and rigorous blood pressure control will prevent stroke more effectively than aspirin alone. Colleague Lee Blonder is analyzing videotaped conversations to see if targeted therapy can help stroke patients improve language skills. The new executive director of UK’s Coldstream Research Campus, John Parks, is also profiled.

Odyssey covers the latest research advances, innovative scholarship, and outstanding people that are part of UK’s $272-million-a-year research enterprise. The award-winning magazine, published three times a year through the Office of Executive Vice President for Research, is also available online.


Back to Campus News Homepage