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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Epigenetics, Cancer, and SAM

Among scientists studying genetics and cancer, epigenetics is a prominent buzz word. What is epigenetics? The term was introduced in 1942 as the study of the processes by which genotype (basically the DNA sequence of an organism) gives rise to phenotype (the observable appearance of an organism). In other words, the sequence of the DNA nucleotides (building blocks of DNA) is essentially unchanged as the DNA is duplicated in cell division. (more...)

Several Theories of Heart Disease Origin

Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause heart attacks and the leading cause of death in the U.S. It is twice as common as all the different cancers combined. (more...)

Eating Less -The New Fountain of Youth

Sometime in the past, most of us learned about Juan Ponce de Leon, the 15th century Spanish explorer who spent a lot of time searching for the Fountain of Youth in what is now Florida and the Bahamas. Of course, Juan never found The Fountain of Youth because such a thing does not exist. Or does it? Although health and youth will never be restored by drinking water from some mythical fountain, scientists have shown there is a dietary intervention that has potential for increasing one's life span. That intervention is caloric restriction. Caloric restriction delays or even prevents some-age-related illnesses in laboratory rats and mice and causes a 30-50% increase in their maximum life spans. Also, preliminary results from an ongoing study have shown that mortality is decreased by about 50% in rhesus monkeys whose caloric intake has been restricted by 30% for 3 to 5 years. (more...)

Can Selenium in Foods Lower Your Risk For Cancer?

Cancer is a leading cause of premature death. Our diet plays an important role in determining the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1/3 of all of the cancer deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to a poor diet. (more...)

Getting Food Facts on the Web

Scientists at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, its five sister nutrition research centers and numerous government and academic institutions across the country perform research that provides the public with information about healthy food choices. This includes information about how much of a given nutrient is required for optimum health and what foods are the best sources of those nutrients. (more...)

Human Nutrition Research Center Mobilized for Local and Regional Studies

The Mobile Nutrition Research Laboratory (MNRL; think MiNeRaL) completed its first year of operation in April. It was a very successful year! The MNRL, operated by the USDA ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, is a 40-foot bus customized and equipped to evaluate dietary intakes and nutritional status, health, body composition, and physical and psychological function in field studies of human nutrition. (more...)

Breakfast Cereals Show Their Metal

Did you know that most of the breakfast cereals lining the shelves of local supermarkets are fortified with iron? This dietary mineral is essential for growth, development, and performance of daily tasks. (more...)

Why Agriculture Needs to understand nutrition: Nutrition Sells!

A few years ago a Western North Dakota newspaper editorial urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service to stop funding research on "yuppie food and nutrition" and instead put that money into research for improving production. As a former owner and operator of a beef cattle operation, I find the editor’s frustration understandable. But as a scientist doing nutrition research, I find the editor’s position to be dead wrong. Today, the hottest method of marketing a food commodity is by it’s nutritional value. Nutrition Sells! (more...)

A Lesson in Nutrition from the Three Little Pigs

From the story—"The Three Little Pigs"—we learn at an early age that building a sturdy house requires a good foundation and the right combination of materials. The same is true with strong bones. The foundation of healthy bones is the protein matrix, which is about 90 percent collagen and a mixture of noncollagenous proteins. (more...)

Food Synergy: Not Missing The Forest For The Trees

Is good science getting in the way of good nutrition? In the past, good nutrition science has been viewed as finding out how each nutrient works by itself to bring about good health. To do this, we refine our experiments so that we can answer questions about specific effects of specific nutrients. Unfortunately, sometimes this can be like studying the leaves on a tree while missing the whole forest. (more...)

Last Modified: 7/30/2009
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