Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hey Guys! Another Good Reason...

Dieting May Cut Risk for Gum Disease, Mostly In Males

For men, especially older men, dieting may help reduce the risk of gum disease more than for women, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and other institutions.

The study, published in the journal Nutrition, also provides the latest clue to a powerful link between chronic inflammation and poor health, according to Mark Reynolds, DDS, PhD, associate professor at the Dental School, part of UMB.

"Chronic inflammation appears to be an important factor underlying aging and many age-related disorders, and dietary restriction has been shown to reduce the risk for chronic disease and promote longevity in multiple animal models," says Reynolds, who is chair of the Department of periodontics at the School.

The study, of 81 rhesus monkeys at the National Institutes of Health, showed that males fed a diet of 30 percent fewer calories for 13 to 17 years had significantly lower levels of a gum-damaging condition known as periodontal pocketing, less immune response to invading bacteria, and higher inflammatory molecules than males fed a normal diet. Periodontal inflammation and disease start from bacteria.

Also, for the monkeys not fed the reduced-calorie diet, males showed "significantly greater periodontal breakdown" than females. Consistent with previous studies of humans, the monkeys in the study showed an increasing degree of gum problems as they aged.

Aging and obesity are associated with increased biological signs of overall inflammation and periodontal disease in humans, says Reynolds. Although about one-third of adults aged 30 to 90 have periodontitis, attempts to study humans directly have been hampered by the environmental complexities of oral diseases and factors such as smoking.

Non-human primates, such as rhesus monkeys, are an important model for studying inflammatory gum disease and oral infections in humans, says Reynolds.

Reynolds studies the role of inflammation in periodontal disease, including modifiable risk factors such as nutrition. Periodontal disease is one of the few inflammatory conditions that can be readily seen and studied in humans and other animals.

Reynolds was at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) before joining the faculty at the Dental School in 1999. Continuing research verified that the monkeys develop visible gum disease, and the NIA awarded John Novak, BDS, LDS, RCS, MS, at the University of Kentucky; Reynolds; and others a five-year grant for their study.

Men develop higher rates of periodontal and coronary heart disease than do women on the whole, says Reynolds. A major question has been: how much do modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity, contribute to the male-female gap? Or, is this difference in risk a natural occurrence between males and females? The monkey study seems to point to a genetic basis for the difference in risk, he says, reflecting underlying differences in how males and females respond to injury and inflammation.

He adds, "An understanding of such sex differences will become increasingly more important in the selection of treatments as we move toward personalized medicine based on individual genetic profiles."

The study appears in the Oct. 15 online issue of Nutrition, and will appear in the January hard copy. Along with Novak and Reynolds, the study team included other researchers from the Maryland and the University of Kentucky, as well as researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University, the National Institute of Aging, and Louisiana State University.

Author: Steve Berberich
Author Phone: 410-706-0023
Author email:

A Second Mid-Week Post!

Thanks to Pamela and Ron, both for your concern for George (no change) and curiosity about the scale (it arrived).

The scale is very, very nice. It's very well made, with some heft, and seems more serious about it's intended use than my old scale. I did weigh myself and I was surprised. Pleasantly surprised! No great loss, but a loss all the same. I'll do an official weigh-in on Sunday and post the numbers. The only "fancy" function of the scale is that you can input your goal weight and the scale tells you how far above it or below it you are - kind of a "DUH!" - but I guess these days people expect things to do a bit more that it's intended use - kinda like your boss. :-D

It's the Tanita HD334 ($36.00 shipped):

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Mid-Week Post!

First - Pamela's suggestion of the Tanita scale was right on the mark - after some research I ordered one from Amazon on Sunday and it has been shipped! Hopefully I'll have it by the weekend - I'm really curious what my weight is!

I have been having a blast with the pedometer - it really outputs interesting data. Here is part of the output I compiled yesterday morning:

Cool, huh? I think so. It really pushes me to walk more and walk faster!

Lastly, our surrogate child - George, our dog - has been sick since last Thursday and in the Vet hospital since Monday. The vet is cautiously optimistic - he says it's severe gastroenteritis We're (my wife and I) are pretty bummed about the whole thing. I can tell I'm down - I'm hungry ALL the time and it's really a struggle to hold off the munchies. So far so good.

I'll keep you all posted on stuff!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A FUBAR Scale and I Guess I Do Get Exercise...

Well, it finally happened, the digital scale has bitten the dust. I could not get a consistent reading this morning – it read anywhere from I lost four to I gained three. I don’t think it’ been accurate anyway. The last time I went to the doctor’s office I weighed less full dressed and well fed than I did at home on this scale. Time to research and Amazon a new one; hopefully next week I can give you a weight!

Speaking of Amazon… I bought a pedometer. Way cool! The one I bought measures steps, aerobic steps and distance. You can also download the data to your desktop and keep a spreadsheet of your history! I knew I walked a lot. From the subway to my building is one half mile and I like to walk it fast (especially going home!). I have also been walking my dog, George, a lot more. It seems that I walk up to three to five miles a day and between 30 to 60 minutes is aerobic! Pretty good news.

The pedometer is the Amron HJ-720IT.
And I can't let this go by without introducing my daughter and son-in-law's new Corgi pup - Lucy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weight loss, exercising and reconditioning the brain...

I counted and this is around the 27th week I've been doing this lifestyle change. I lost 2.2 pounds this week! Yeah, I'm a little surprised at the amount, but I think I’m catching up from last week too. I haven’t been exercising per se, but I’ve been more active in other ways. I’m not a good exerciser – it’s one of the reasons that I wanted to lose weight by learning to control my eating rather than depend on exercise. I realized that in the past I’d lose weight by exercising a lot but still eating too much. Then, when the exercising lost its initial attraction, the pounds came back and I felt defeated. I had to accept I am not a person who can maintain an exercise regimen, but I need to lose the weight via restricting food intake. That’s helped a lot the last couple of months. This pertains mainly to the winter months – spring and summer I do much better. I just need to maintain my reconditioning through this winter and I’ll be very much on my way. I do try to be active in other way, being sedentary is a bad thing.

My dog developed some issues recently, so I contacted an animal behaviorist and had a very interesting discussion with her. Funny, I was able to relate it to me maintaining a proper weight as well as to the dog. For me, it’s all about conditioning and reward. I cannot reward myself with a big meal or a treat of some kind. It sends my tiny brain the wrong signal, I guess. I found that I need lifestyle rewards – feeling better about myself, new clothes, etc. I think of those rewards when I’m tempted and it’s a better trigger for “correct” behavior.

Oh, the extra activity – longer and more walks for the dog… a bad week to start – I think I lost more weight by my body burning calories to keep warm than the actual physical part!

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, January 16, 2009


WOW! That's how I feel when I finally got around to looking at this blog. Eighteen followers and some really encouraging comments - I am truly humbled. Gad, I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted... I've been busy lately and distracted with other issues in my life, but I have not let the goal of losing weight and keeping it slip out of focus. It's a daily thing and it does take some effort, but I'm mostly on top. I did slip last Friday! We had pizza for dinner; I had my usual portion and was finishing up when my wife had to leave for an appointment. Well, I got out my current book and started to read - the next thing I knew I had finished off the pizza - yea, the whole thing! Then I ate about ten cookies for desert - I have no excuse - I did because of the drive that kicks it at some point. I picture it's like the alcoholic who has a drink or two and then the "what the hell" mode takes over. I'm sure some of you can identify with that feeling. Oh well, I'm only human. The trick is that now there's no guilt the next day. It's a new day - new victories lie ahead - I was back on track and have been ever since. I weighed in at 186.6 on Sunday.

I want to get to around 180, but I want these last few pounds to come off slowly. I have not been counting points (before I eat) the last couple of weeks and I think the WW lessons sunk in pretty good. I have a good sense of portions, etc, but I still need to check the point value of foods that I'm not familiar with. I really want this to be a lifestyle and it's starting to feel that way, a bit.

I get complimented on my new look all the time and that's nice. What I really enjoy is how good I feel!

I promise I'll post my weight on Sunday!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Making Things Right


First, thanks to all of you that comment each week (e.g. Pamela, Ron...), it does mean a lot.

Second, I re-weighed myself on my own scale last week and I had lost a pound - so my weight for last week was actually 189.2. I'll weigh in tomorrow morning - I'm banking on at least a pound so I did my photo thingy...