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Welcome to NORC at Harvard!

Visit the LONGEVITY Symposium page to learn more about our Nutrition & Obesity Symposium, that took place on JULY 10th & 11th 2019!

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Acarbose improves health and lifespan in aging HET3 mice

Acarbose inhibits alpha-glucosidase, reducing the rate of digestion of polysaccharides and blunding the post-prandial rise in serum glucose. Previous work by Dr. Miller and colleagues demonstrated that treatment with acarbose increases lifespan. This follow-up study confirms and extends that work, testing 3 different doses of acarbose in male and female HET3 mice. Acarbose extended lifespan at all 3 doses, and did so in males to a much greater extent than in females. Effects on lifespan and body weight at different doses are shown in the Figure (females (a) and (c); males (b) and (d)). The two higher doses extended lifespan by 16-17% in males but only 4-5% in females...

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Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard

Nutrition-related disease states such as diabetes and obesity may be treatable eventually by the use of therapies at the cellular and molecular levels. The Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard seeks to establish a research environment which encourages the approach to defining common clinical nutrition research problems using the most sophisticated technology and scientific knowledge available.

Recent Work by NORCH Investigators

Childhood undernutrition and growth impairment remain substantial burdens in Sub-Saharan Africa. Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), a subclinical condition associated with inflammation and malabsorpition in the small intestine, is associated with growth failure. As several studies have demonstrated that individuals with low weight in early childhood are at risk for cardiometabolic disease later in life, NORCH Associate Director Dr. Christopher P. Duggan, NORCH member Dr. Wafaie Fawzi, and others recently investigated whether EED in infancy is associated with cardiovascular risk measures in mid-childhood. Anti-flagellin IgA is a marker for EED and is significantly higher in Tanzanian infants compared to infants in Boston. Drs. Duggan, Fawzie, et al. demonstrated that flagellin IgA at 6 weeks of age is associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in mid-childhood

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Activation of IRF1 in Human Adipocytes Leads to Phenotypes Associated with Metabolic Disease

Chronic inflammation is thought to contribute to obesity-related insulin resistance. In obesity, adipocytes are an important source of inflammatory cytokines, but the mechanisms of adipose inflammation in obesity remain unclear. To determine transcriptional regulators of adipose inflammation, Cowan and colleagues compared transcriptional profiles of primary human adipocytes from obese donors with those from in vitro-derived adipocytes that were genetically identical to the primary adipocytes.

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Recent Work by NORCH Investigators

With support from a NORCH Pilot and Feasibility Grant, Dr. Lauren Feichtner and others recently reported that gestational weight gain affects the composition and diversity of the infant gut microbiome. Using data and infant fecal samples from 84 infant-mother pairs, four distinct microbiota profiles were identified: Bifidobacterium-dominant, Enterobacter/Veillonella-dominant, Bacteroides-dominant, and Escherichia-dominant. Infants whose mothers had more weight gain during pregnancy were less likely to have a Bacteroides-dominant profile (risk ratio 0.83 [95% CI 0.71-0.96] per 1kg of gestational weight gain). Further, a larger amount of gestational weight gain predicted lower bacterial diversity.

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Adipose Tissue-Derived miRNAs Regulate Gene Expression in Other Tissues

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate translation and thereby contribute to the regulation of metabolic processes. Dr. Kahn and others recently demonstrated in Nature that adipose tissue is an important source of circulating miRNAs. Mice with an adipose-tissue-specific knockout of the miRNA processing enzyme Dicer (ADicerKO) demonstrated substantial reductions in levels of circulating miRNAs, and fat transplant from wild type animals largely restored miRNA levels.

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Thank you to everyone who came to the 20th Annual NORCH Symposium!

The evaluations of the event have been sent to the email you registered for the event with.

Video recordings of all the presentations we have permission to record and make public have been posted on our 2019 Symposium tab on this website.



Upcoming Events!

Check out our Events page for more information about NORCH and NORCH Affiliates’ events!

*7/10-7/11: 20th Annual Harvard Nutrition and Obesity Symposium

Please Cite the Grant!

Our work as a Center is measured in part by the contributions we make to published science. Please cite the National Institutes of Health Grant P30 DK040561 in all publications that results from the use of NORC-H services or resources.

Contact Information

Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital,
55 Fruit Street,
Boston, MA 02114
phone 617-724-9109