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October 15, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: The metabonomics of chocoholics

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Oooh, joe — "What big words you have."

Never mind.

"Metabonomics is a discipline that uses metabolic profiles of bodily fluids such as blood plasma and urine to understand drug toxicity, pharmacological responsiveness, and other other biological events."

In work published in latest issue of the Journal of Proteome Research (JPR), Sunil Kochhar and colleagues at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland and Imperial College London reported that they were able to characterize — at a molecular level — people who love chocolate and those who don't.

Here's Clive Cookson's summary from the Financial Times.

    Programmed to love chocolate

    People who love chocolate have a different metabolic profile from those who do not. A study by Nestlé, the Swiss food company, and Imperial College London is the first to discover a specific chemical signature linked to food preference.

    The scientists analysed 22 healthy volunteers over a five-day period, during which they ate a controlled diet. Half described themselves as "chocolate desiring" and half as "chocolate indifferent."

    Each group had its own distinct profile of proteins and fats in blood and urine samples taken during the experiment — and each had a different set of gut microbes.

    Sunil Kochhar, the project leader, said: "Our study shows that food preferences, including chocolate, might be programmed into our metabolic system in such a way that the body becomes attuned to a particular diet." More research will be needed to unravel genetic and dietary factors involved in the difference."

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Here is my question: How can my body be programmed for an addiction to Cheddar Cheese Pringles when they hadn't even been invented when I was born?

But I digress.

Now that you're warmed up, it's time for the abstract of the journal article, which follows.

    Human Metabolic Phenotypes Link Directly to Specific Dietary Preferences in Healthy Individuals

    Individual human health is determined by a complex interplay between genes, environment, diet, lifestyle, and symbiotic gut microbial activity. Here, we demonstrate a new "nutrimetabonomic" approach in which spectroscopically generated metabolic phenotypes are correlated with behavioral/psychological dietary preference, namely, "chocolate desiring" or "chocolate indifferent". Urinary and plasma metabolic phenotypes are characterized by differential metabolic biomarkers, measured using 1H NMR spectroscopy, including the postprandial lipoprotein profile and gut microbial co-metabolism. These data suggest that specific dietary preferences can influence basal metabolic state and gut microbiome activity that in turn may have long-term health consequences to the host. Nutrimetabonomics appears as a promising approach for the classification of dietary responses in populations and personalized nutritional management.

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The JPR chose the work described above as the highlight of its latest issue, and summarized the paper as follows.

    A molecular picture of chocoholics

    With an approach called "nutrimetabonomics", scientists can correlate metabolic phenotypes with a behavioral phenotype. In this JPR research paper, subjects' preferences for rich, creamy chocolate appear to be "imprinted" on their metabonomes. The body (and its associated microflora) seems to become attuned to a particular diet, which can have both positive and negative health consequences, but which also could ultimately open the door to novel dietary regimes. Thus, a person's metabolism could be nudged one way or another.

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Finally, Jeffrey M. Perkel offered a "Research Profile" of the work, which appears in the same issue of the JPR as the Kochhar paper; here's Perkel's piece.

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October 15, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

ThumbSaver

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Catchy name, what?

From the website:

    Thumbsaver

    Never hit your poor thumb again!

    The ThumbSaver's strong magnet holds nails, screws, staples or brads in place while you safely hammer, screw or drill.

    Use it to hang pictures, assemble furniture, construct decks, build cabinets and much more.

    Great for getting to hard-to-reach places, it'll quickly become one of your most-used tools.

    Ergonomically designed aluminum handle with soft comfort grip.

    Package of 2 includes 2 sizes: 6" and 7-1/4" long.

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$14.99.

October 15, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Chanel Patent Bootie With Detachable Tweed Gaiter

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$1,250 at Chanel boutiques everywhere.

This has to be the strangest thing I've encountered today.

'Course, the day's still relatively young.

I happened on it five minutes ago as I read yesterday's New York Times, where it appeared in an ad on page 2 (below).

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I know, I know — what the heck am I doing reading yesterday's paper today?

Mea culpa.

But what with all the football going on yesterday, there just weren't enough hours in the day.

I'll make it up to you.

Promise.

October 15, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pets-on-the-Go Dish

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Love the name.

From the website:

    Pets-on-the-Go Dish

    Make sure your best friend's needs are met, even when you're on the road.

    This attractive travel kit includes two 2-cup bowls for food and water — each with its own cover — and a detachable drawstring pouch that holds a half-liter water bottle (not included).

    Bowls have a stainless-steel interior, plastic exterior and fit into a nickel chrome plated steel frame that folds for easy carrying.

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$24.95.

October 15, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Your new free office space: Internet, email, word processing, printing and much more — all in a nicely air-conditioned, quiet environment with ergonomic seating

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What's not to like about that?

It dawned on me last month when I was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Richmond and passed the hotel's business center each time I made my way to and from the elevators that if I didn't have a computer or even a room at the hotel, I could take advantage of their facilities just like a guest.

No one cares who uses the space, at least during daylight hours; it's usually unlocked; and even if it requires a card key for entry, whoever's inside will let you in without a second thought if you knock or wave.

If it's empty, act like you left your room key in your car or room and ask a guest to open it for you.

Usually there's no password required to get online, you just hit enter and you're surfing.

Great for anyone who needs free Internet on the fly.

Bonus: The better the hotel, the better the facilities.

Bonus #2: Because it's a public computer, you're anonymous.

October 15, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rolling Shovel

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It's already getting nippy at night, what?

Where the heck does the time go, anyway?

From websites:

    Rolling Snow Shovel

    Our rolling shovel reduces the toil of snow removal and lessens risks of back strain.

    Why?

    Because its lightweight ergonomic design and rubber wheels eliminate stressful lifting.

    Big 16-gauge steel blade plows through snowfalls up to 6" deep.

    U-shaped handle with cushiony foam grip is height adjustable for use in a fixed or floating position.

    Extends to 56" long with 30"-wide blade.

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$45.

October 15, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Sightseeing — 'Why bother seeing the world for real?'

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From the website: "Google Sightseeing takes you on tour of the world as seen from satellite, using the freely downloadable Google Earth, or Google Maps directly in your web browser. Each weekday your guides James and Alex introduce new weird and wonderful sights as suggested by the reader community."

Warning: Visiting this site while at work may impair job performance.

[via Dean Kaltsas and godean.com]

October 15, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker

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"Millions of people escape to the great outdoors. Unfortunately, not all of them escape from it."

Catchy, what?

That's the homepage intro to SPOT, "the world's first satellite messenger."

More: "SPOT gives you a vital line of communication with friends and family when and where you want it, and emergency assistance when and where you need it. And since it's satellite-based, SPOT works around the world, even where cell phones don't."

Interesting.

Nathan Borchelt reviewed it in yesterday's Washington Post Travel section "Road Test" column as follows.

    SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker

    Why we like it: Unlike most GPS units, this simple and smart gadget lets you do more than just send an electronic distress call. In addition to the standard 911 function, the emergency device sends pre-written text messages, along with your GPS coordinates, to a roster of people via text message or e-mail. The bright-orange weatherproof instrument also has a help function that lets you contact local rescue facilities about less urgent injuries. The best part? Mere mortals can afford the price.

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Coming November 1, 2007.

$149.95, plus $99 for one year of service.

A heckuva lot cheaper than a Breitling Emergency Watch.

From the SPOT website: "It could be the difference between coming home in cargo and coming home in coach."

October 15, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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