Allowing brain-dead organ donors’ body temperatures to fall slightly after brain death — rather than following the accepted protocol of keeping donors warmed to a normal body temperature — resulted in more successful kidney transplants in a recent clinical trial, with fewer organ recipients requiring dialysis in their first week after surgery.

Once better understood and if eventually adopted, the simple intervention could improve outcomes for the 40 percent or so of kidney transplant patients who experience delayed organ function immediately after transplant and continued problems in the longer term.


Benefits without the exercise?

Ever fantasize of being able to see the benefits of exercise without having to, you know, work out? If so, research from Britain’s University of Southampton gives a glimpse of what may be possible in the future.

Ali Tavassoli, a professor of chemical biology, and Felino Cagampang, an associate professor in integrative physiology, reported that they had synthesized a molecule that acts as an “exercise mimic” by tricking cells into thinking they have run out of energy.

Dubbed “compound 14,” the new molecule triggers a chain reaction of events in the cell. Compound 14 inhibits the function of an enzyme called ATIC which plays a central role in insulin signaling in the body. That leads to the build up of ZMP — known as a “master regulator” of metabolism — in the cells. It’s ZMP that makes cells think they have run out of energy and activate the cell’s central energy censor which is known as AMPK. The cells compensate by increasing their glucose update and metabolism — changes that typically occur during exercise and that lead to weight loss.

If this effect could be verified and the compound found to be safe in humans, it could lead to a treatment, even something as simple as a pill, for obesity or type 2 diabetes.


Fret not about picky eaters

Parents of picky eaters, take heart: New research suggests the problem is rarely worth fretting over, although in a small portion of kids it may signal emotional troubles that should be checked out.

Preschoolers who are extremely selective about what they eat and dislike even being near certain foods are more likely than others to have underlying anxiety or depression, the study found. But only 3 percent of young children studied were that picky.

More typical pickiness, including kids who just refuse to eat their vegetables, is probably merely “normal dislike,” said eating disorders specialist Nancy Zucker, an associate psychiatry professor at Duke University’s medical school. These are the kids who typically outgrow their pickiness.

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