HEART DISEASE AND THE NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT

Like many Americans, do you believe heart disease affects mostly men? In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.  Heart disease, according to The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, written by members of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is one of several cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart and the blood vessel system. Others include stroke, high blood pressure and rheumatic heart disease.

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10 COMMON WEIGHT-LOSS MYTHS

There are so many misconceptions about weight loss and diets that it can be hard to know what to believe. Here are some common weight-loss myths.   Snacking and eating fast food are bad ideas.    Actually, eating small, healthy snacks between meals could help you eat less so you don’t overeat or binge later. Dietitians recommend having five small meals a day, instead of just three. Snacking has a bad rap because of some of the snack choices we make, such as potato chips, cookies, candy and other fattening items.

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FITNESS TIPS FOR LOSING WEIGHT

Summer is finally here, and you want to get your weight down and be in the best shape ever. This summer, make it your mission to reach your weight-loss goals – the same ones you probably set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start down the path to health and wellness. Follow the guidelines below so you can put yourself on a fast track. Turn these tips into lifelong habits to ensure lasting success.

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Yeast has already given us bread, wine and beer, but in the very near future it may be a new painkiller.

 

Researchers at Stanford University have genetically engineered baker’s yeast to act on sugar so that in three to five days the sugar is converted to hydrocodone. In the same general way yeast can work on sugar and turn it into alcohol, the engineered yeast can take sugar, break it down and reassemble it into an opioid drug, according to the researchers.


Hydrocodone is an opioid class drug whose chemical cousins, oxycodone and morphine, can take more than a year to produce from poppies grown on licensed farms around the world. The poppies must be harvested, processed and shipped to pharmaceutical factories around the world. Speeding up the process would be valuable, as would removing the need for poppies.


In this new process, DNA is introduced into yeast cells that instruct it to create a chemical assembly line. Genes from plants, bacteria and rats are included in the genetic engineering.


“When we started work a decade ago, many experts thought it would be impossible to engineer yeast to replace the entire farm-to-factory process,” said senior study author Christina Smolke, a Stanford

YEAST TRANSFORMS QUICKLY INTO HYDROCODONE

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

associate professor of bioengineering. The experiment yields thus far have been too small for practical application as yet; it takes a whopping 4,400 gallons of bioengineered yeast to produce just a single dose of hydrocodone. The success is the proof of concept: It can be done. It just needs to produce more.


Smolke says there’s no possibility this technique, as it currently stands, could be used to produce illicit drugs such as heroin. “It’s definitely the case that no one could take these strains now and use them for commercial production or abuse them for nefarious purposes,” Smolke says. “You could get more of these compounds from eating a poppy seed bagel.”


While confirming genetically engineered yeast can produce hydrocodone and thus eliminate the use of poppies and the farm-to-factory process, there is still much more work needed to begin employing these methods. “This is only the beginning,” Smolke said. “The techniques we developed and demonstrate for opioid pain relievers can be adapted to produce many plant-derived compounds to fight cancers, infectious diseases and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis.”