Blog | Friday, September 3, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Fat mice, omega-3s and obesity

Scientists have honed in on why omega-3 fatty acids are good for you. Well, at least why they're good for mice. Omega-3s stimulate a cell signaling molecule in fat cells that is also found in white blood cells that promote inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to insulin insensitivity. Enter the mice. Fed a high-fat diet, they gained weight, had chronic inflammation and had insulin insensitivity. When omega-3s were added, inflammation dropped and the insulin response normalized. Mice with genetic manipulation who were unable to produce the cell signaling molecule didn't respond to omega-3s added to their diet. This is going to take a while to translate to humans. (Los Angeles Times)

Photo illustration by Ryan DuBosar, based on pictures by by Olis Olois and hermzz via Flickr

Gender, careers and pay
It's only a matter of time before female physicians outnumber men, say medical school heads who are seeing more women in their programs. Although women have broken the gender barrier in medicine, they may want to keep going in to nursing, because nurse practitioner salaries grew faster than primary care physicians' pay--nearly 5% compared to nearly 3%. Physicians can take some comfort that their average pay is more--$191,000 compared to more than $85,000--unless they're women, who among all the life sciences average $13,000 less than their male counterparts in comparable positions and with similar experience. (WCSC TV, Fierce Practice Management, Academic Medicine)

Mandatory flu vaccines
The flu fight is gearing up again, as slightly more than half of health care workers in California received flu vaccines last year. While public health agencies and medical societies are seeking stronger compliance, the state is having trouble fully accounting for just how many workers even had vaccines. (Los Angeles Times)