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Marshall University student researcher presents at national conference
The research was done in the laboratory of Dr. Nader G. Abraham, one of the foremost researchers on the topic of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the world, as well as the Vice Dean for Research for the School of Medicine. The study focused on fructose and a metabolic by-product of fructose metabolism called uric acid and their effects on bone marrow-derived stem cell development. The use of fructose is becoming increasingly popular as a sweetener in western society and has been linked to worsening obesity and obesity-related complications like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"This was a significant study because it's the first study to demonstrate that fructose treatments on stem cells increase the development of fat cells and actually decrease the secretion of adiponectin, a hormone known to have cardio-protective properties," Harsh said. "Our results may provide an avenue for our better understanding of diet-induced obesity and obesity-related cardiovascular complications."
Harsh worked with fellow students Jordan P. Hilgefort, a second- year medical student, and George E. Banks V, also a second-year medical student. Faculty members on the team include Zeid J. Khitan, M.D.; Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; Komal Sodhi, M.D.; Luca Vanella, Ph.D.; and Abraham.
"Obesity is preventable and can be achieved by controlling calorie intake and physical activity," Abraham said. "Our goal is to empower our community with science-based information about what can be done to prevent child and adult obesity and how an increase in fructose intake can be detrimental on body weight gain and heart disease."
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Brickstreet Foundation.