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Cha E.S.,Emory University | Kim K.H.,University of Pittsburgh | Lerner H.M.,Emory College | Dawkins C.R.,Emory University | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Health Behavior | Year: 2014

Objectives: To examine relationships among health literacy, self-efficacy, food label use, and dietary quality in young adults aged 18-29. Methods: Health literacy, self-efficacy, food label use, and dietary quality were assessed. Participants were categorized into low, medium and high health literacy groups based on Newest Vital Sign score. Results: Self-efficacy and health literacy were predictors of food label use, which positively predicted dietary quality. The low health literacy group had significantly lower use of food labels than the high health literacy group. However, there was no significant difference between medium and high health literacy groups. Conclusion: Strategies to enhance health literacy, self-efficacy and food label use should be developed to improve dietary quality and health outcomes.

News Article | April 19, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

L'Hernault, chair of Emory College's Department of Biology, researched sperm proteins (not male hormones) in nematode worms. He and fellow researchers were able to establish a connection between fertilization in mammals, including humans, and nematodes. It was a highly unexpected outcome, given the two animal groups last shared a common ancestor about a billion years ago. The conclusion, which some think could eventually lead to the equivalent of "the pill" for men, provides new insights on the basic mechanics of sperm and egg fertilization. It was recently reported in the journal Current Biology. "At the end of the day, fertilization in humans seems to share some fundamental features with fertilization in worms," L'Hernault said. "Specifically, a similar protein is found on the sperm surface in humans and worms and, if a drug could be discovered that interfered with its function, we might be able to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. "The worm may offer an inexpensive way to find such a drug," he added. "Women have borne more than their fair share in that category of contraception, so the idea is to look at what might be possible for men." In mammals, such as mice and humans, this protein is called Izumo, named for a shrine in Japan where newly married couples visit seeking luck in having children. The Izumo equivalent in worms, named SPE-45, allows the sperm to be recognized by the egg, so that fertilization can occur. Without it, the sperm can move and do other processes normally, but they cannot fertilize the egg. Worms with a mutation affecting SPE-45 are sterile. If you do "gene therapy" by expressing the worm SPE-45 protein in mutant worms, fertility is restored. The challenge was to show that mammalian Izumo was functionally similar to SPE-45. L'Hernault says that he and his team of researchers worked for seven years, focusing on whether there was something specific that connected the two that allowed for fertilization. Both SPE-45 and Izumo proteins have an Ig region that probably allows the sperm to adhere to the egg. Ig regions are widely found in many proteins of all animals, where they provide "stickiness" to proteins. So, L'Hernault and his team took the Ig region from the mouse Izumo protein and used it to replace the Ig region in the worm SPE-45 protein, making a "hybrid" protein. Surprisingly, this "hybrid" protein can be expressed in a worm SPE-45 mutant and it will partially restore fertility to the worm SPE-45 mutant. In contrast, if the Ig domain from a worm skin protein is used to replace the Ig domain of the worm SPE-45 protein, this "hybrid" does not restore fertility. In other words, not any Ig domain, with its associated "stickiness," will allow SPE-45 to fertilize an egg. It must be either the natural worm SPE-45 Ig domain or the Ig domain from a similar mammalian gene. "One useful way to think about Ig domains is that they are all keys and, like real keys that look similar, some specifically open your house, while others only open your car," L'Hernault added. His research shows that the mouse Izumo and worm SPE-45 Ig domains are near-identical "keys." All animals produce sperm that stick to and fertilize eggs from that species, but, generally, sperm from one animal cannot fertilize eggs from another species. That means L'Hernault's work extends well beyond any potential connection to birth control and could provide more understanding on the basic underpinnings of fertility. "Knowing how sperm stick to and fertilize eggs will provide key insights into what has changed and what has remained similar as animals have evolved," L'Hernault concluded.

Pace T.W.W.,Emory University | Negi L.T.,Emory College | Sivilli T.I.,Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies | Issa M.J.,Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies | And 3 more authors.
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2010

Increasing data suggest that meditation impacts stress-related physiological processes relevant to health and disease. For example, our group recently reported that the practice of compassion meditation was associated with reduced innate immune (plasma interleukin [IL]-6) and subjective distress responses to a standardized laboratory psychosocial stressor (Trier Social Stress Test [TSST]). However, because we administered a TSST after, but not prior to, meditation training in our initial study, it remained possible that associations between practice time and TSST outcomes reflected the fact that participants with reduced stress responses prior to training were more able to practice compassion meditation, rather than that meditation practice reduced stress responses. To help resolve this ambiguity, we conducted the current study to evaluate whether innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to a TSST conducted prior to compassion meditation training in an independent sample of 32 medically health young adults would predict subsequent amount of meditation practice time during a compassion meditation training protocol identical to the one used in our first study. No associations were found between responses to a TSST administered prior to compassion meditation training and subsequent amount of meditation practice, whether practice time was considered as a continuous variable or whether meditators were divided into high and low practice time groups based on a median split of mean number of practice sessions per week. These findings contrast strikingly with our original study, in which high and low practice time meditators demonstrated marked differences in IL-6 and distress responses to a TSST administered after meditation training. In addition to providing the first published data regarding stress responsivity as a potential predictor of subsequent ability/willingness to practice meditation, the current study strengthens findings from our initial work by supporting the conclusion that in individuals who actively engage in practicing the technique, compassion meditation may represent a viable strategy for reducing potentially deleterious physiological and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Pace T.W.W.,Emory University | Negi L.T.,Emory College | Dodson-Lavelle B.,Emory College | Ozawa-de Silva B.,Emory College | And 5 more authors.
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2013

Background: Children exposed to early life adversity (ELA) have been shown to have elevated circulating concentrations of inflammatory markers that persist into adulthood. Increased inflammation in individuals with ELA is believed to drive the elevated risk for medical and psychiatric illness in the same individuals. This study sought to determine whether Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT) reduced C-reactive protein (CRP) in adolescents in foster care with high rates of ELA, and to evaluate the relationship between CBCT engagement and changes in CRP given prior evidence from our group for an effect of practice on inflammatory markers. It was hypothesized that increasing engagement would be associated with reduced CRP from baseline to the 6-week assessment. Methods: Seventy-one adolescents in the Georgia foster care system (31 females), aged 13-17, were randomized to either 6 weeks of CBCT or a wait-list condition. State records were used to obtain information about each participant's history of trauma and neglect, as well as reason for placement in foster care. Saliva was collected before and again after 6 weeks of CBCT or the wait-list condition. Participants in the CBCT group completed practice diaries as a means of assessing engagement with the CBCT. Results: No difference between groups was observed in salivary CRP concentrations. Within the CBCT group, practice sessions during the study correlated with reduced CRP from baseline to the 6-week assessment. Conclusions: Engagement with CBCT may positively impact inflammatory measures relevant to health in adolescents at high risk for poor adult functioning as a result of significant ELA, including individuals placed in foster care. Longer term follow-up will be required to evaluate if these changes are maintained and translate into improved health outcomes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Tan X.,Sun Yat Sen University | Tan X.,Emory University | Sidell N.,Emory University | Mancini A.,Emory College | And 6 more authors.
Reproductive Sciences | Year: 2010

Curcumin, a component of turmeric, has been reported to exhibit potential antitumor activities. This study assessed the effects of a novel synthetic curcumin analog, EF24, on proliferation, apoptosis, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) regulation in platinum-sensitive (IGROV1) and platinum-resistant (SK-OV-3) human ovarian cancer cells. EF24 time- and dose-dependently suppressed the growth of both cell lines and synergized with cisplatin to induce apoptosis. Although treatment with EF24 had no significant effect on VEGF messenger RNA (mRNA) expression,VEGF protein secretion into conditioned media was dose-dependently reduced with EF24 demonstrating ĝ̂1/48-fold greater potency than curcumin (P <.05). EF24 significantly inhibited hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced VEGF expression, as did the phenolic antioxidant tert-butylhydroquinone (t-BHQ). EF24 upregulated cellular antioxidant responses as observed by the suppression of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and activation of antioxidant response element (ARE)-dependent gene transcription. Given its high potency, EF24 is an excellent lead candidate for further development as an adjuvant therapeutic agent in preclinical models of ovarian cancer. © The Author(s) 2010.

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