Dietary Trans Fat Linked to Worse Memory

Higher consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA), commonly used in processed foods to improve taste, texture and durability, has been linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger, according to a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study published online on June 17 in PLOS ONE. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Principal investigator of the study is Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine.

The Connection Between Oxygen and Diabetes

A lack of O2 in fat cells triggers inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity:

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have, for the first time, described the sequence of early cellular responses to a high-fat diet, one that can result in obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes. The findings, published in the June 5 issue of Cell, also suggest potential molecular targets for preventing or reversing the process.

Dr. Jerrold Olefsky“We’ve described the etiology of obesity-related diabetes. We’ve pinpointed the steps, the way the whole thing happens,” said Jerrold M. Olefsky, MD (left), associate dean for Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego. “The research is in mice, but the evidence suggests that the processes are comparable in humans and these findings are important to not just understanding how diabetes begins, but how better to treat and prevent it … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Checkup Diabetes: the Latest Research and Treatments from UC San Diego

News Feature from the UC San Diego Health System Newsroom

Checkup Diabetes: the latest research and treatments at UC San Diego

by Scott LaFee

Diabetes is a monumental public health issue, not just because millions of Americans have been diagnosed with the metabolic disease, but also for the many more millions who either remain undiagnosed or have signs suggesting they will likely become diabetic. .. Read the full news feature from the UC San Diego Health System newsroom

Dr. Rohit Loomba on Fatty Liver Disease: HHMI Bulletin

Dr. Rohit LoombaDr. Rohit Loomba, a UCSD hepatologist who specializes in fatty liver disease, is interviewed in an article about the disease in the Fall 2012 health bulletin from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In “The Fat You Can’t See,” Loomba describes the rising incidence of fatty liver disease and points to society’s general increase in dietary sugar intake as a major cause. He emphasizes the importance of identifying individuals who are at highest risk for developing the disease and he predicts there will be a dramatic increase in our understanding of the disease in the next five years.

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. He also holds an appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Loomba conducts his clinical practice in UC San Diego Health System’s liver disease clinics. In his research laboratory, he conducts a variety of studies of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including a number of clinical trials.

With a four-year mentored patient-oriented research career development grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Loomba is investigating the genetic epidemiology of NAFLD in a twin-pair study. In that work, his mentors are UCSD researchers Daniel T. O’Connor, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, distinguished professor and chief of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Loomba serves as the UCSD site principal investigator for the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH-CRN) studies in adult patients with NAFLD. NASH-CRN, an NIDDK-sponsored research consortium funded via a UO1 research program-cooperative agreement mechanism, aims to improve understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and management of NAFLD.

In addition, he is the founding director and principal investigator of the San Diego Integrated NAFLD Research Consortium (SINC), which includes four centers: UCSD, Kaiser Permanente Health System, Sharp Health System, and Balboa Naval Medical Center. SINC is a collaborative network that allows community-based patients to participate in NAFLD studies conducted at UCSD.

Loomba has established a major NAFLD research program at UCSD with recently published investigator-initiated treatment studies in NASH (Le et al., Hepatology September 2012) and several in progress.

In various NAFLD translational research studies currently ongoing at UCSD, Loomba collaborates with Drs. Jerrold Olefsky, David Brenner, Claude Sirlin, Bernd Schnabl, Lars Eckmann, Edward Dennis, Ariel Feldstein and Ekihiro Seki.

He also directs the UCSD fellowship training program in liver epidemiology and patient-oriented outcomes research.

More Information:

New Way of Fighting High Cholesterol Upends Assumptions

Atherosclerosis – the hardening of arteries that is a primary cause of cardiovascular disease and death – has long been presumed to be the fateful consequence of complicated interactions between overabundant cholesterol and resulting inflammation in the heart and blood vessels. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Christopher K. GlassSenior author of the study report is Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, pictured at left, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

The other Department of Medicine coauthors on the study report are Andrew C. Li, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism; Sotirios Tsimikas, MD, FACC, professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; and Oswald Quehenberger, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Read the report of the study in Cell (full text UCSD only)

Citation of study report: Spann NJ, Garmire LX, McDonald JG, Myers DS, Milne SB, Shibata N, Reichart D, Fox JN, Shaked I, Heudobler D, Raetz CRH, Wang EW, Kelly SL, Sullards MC, Murphy RC, Merrill AH Jr, Brown HA, Dennis EA, Li AC, Ley K, Tsimikas S, Fahy E, Subramaniam S, Quehenberger O, Russell DW, Glass CK. Regulated accumulation of desmosterol integrates macrophage lipid metabolism and inflammatory responses. Cell 151(1):138-152, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.054

Regular Chocolate Eaters are Thinner

Katharine Hepburn famously said of her slim physique: “What you see before you is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” New evidence suggests she may have been right.

Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues present new findings that may overturn the major objection to regular chocolate consumption: that it makes people fat … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Golomb is professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCSD and a primary care physician at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System.

More information:

More Trans Fat Consumption Linked to Greater Aggression

Might the “Twinkie defense” have a scientific foundation after all? Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown – by each of a range of measures, in men and women of all ages, in Caucasians and minorities – that consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs) is associated with irritability and aggression…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Laboratory test tubes.
Dr. Beatrice Golomb led the study team. Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, is associate professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine. | Read the article online in PLoS One.

Matters of the Heart: A Q&A with Ehtisham Mahmud

News Feature from the UC San Diego Health System Newsroom

Matters of the Heart: A Q&A with Ehtisham Mahmud
A profile of Dr. Ehtisham Mahmud
Professor and Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine
Co-director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center
Director, Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

by Scott LaFee

Every 34 seconds, on average, an American has a heart attack. Every minute, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event. Both men and women are afflicted equally, if differently. More than one-quarter of the annual deaths in this country are due to cardiovascular disease in its myriad manifestations. It claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined.”… Read the full profile from the UC San Diego Health System newsroom

Testing Antioxidant Drugs is Transparent

A study using genetically modified zebrafish to visualize early events involved in development of human atherosclerosis describes an efficient model – one that the researchers say offers many applications for testing the potential effectiveness of new antioxidant and dietary therapies. …Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Laboratory test tubes

Leader of the research team is Yury Miller, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His Department of Medicine coauthors include Joseph L. Witztum, MD, professor in the same division; and Sotirios “Sam” Tsimikas, MD, FACC, professor in the Division of Cardiology.   |   Read the article online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

UC San Diego Researcher Awarded $5.3 Million for Breast Cancer Survivorship Study

Dr. Barbara A. Parker is an investigator in the new clinical trial described in “UC San Diego Researcher Awarded $5.3 Million for Breast Cancer Survivorship Study” from the UCSD Newsroom.

Barbara A. Parker, M.D., Medical Director of Oncology Services for the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, is Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.