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Kristina Lewis, MD, MPH, SM

Despite a good run of over 50 years in the business, McDonald’s decided late in 2016 that the services of its friendly, funny clown, Ronald McDonald, were no longer required. The clown, it seems, had become a threat to public health. Why? Not because he was pushing trans fats on toddlers, selling sodas to six-year-olds, and hawking hamburgers to high-schoolers. Rather, this sudden call to action by McDonald’s execs was out of grave concern that Ronald might be.......scaring people (Gasp!!) After a series of creepy clown sightings across the United States last fall, it was felt that Ronald’s continued presence as a McDonald’s ambassador might be upsetting to children.

 
 
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by Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc


Diabetes that appears for the first time in pregnancy is called gestational diabetes, and affects 5 to 20% of pregnant women. High blood sugar – also known as hyperglycemia – in pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child, including higher rates of pre-eclampsia, caesarian section, babies born large for their gestational age and shoulder dystocia, and hypoglycemia in newborns. We also know that treatment of gestational diabetes decreases the risk of these complications.

 
 
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by Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH


A few weeks ago in Toronto, I had the pleasure of hearing my colleague Seth Berkowitz, a talented young researcher at MGH, present a project. His presentation was clear, his research methods thoughtful and his analysis impeccable. But after his talk, rather than praise, he got push-back. Why?
Because his findings challenged a popular theory for socioeconomic differences in healthy food access, obesity and diabetes; he found that living in a food desert does not affect individuals’ control over their diabetes.

 
 
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by Marie-France Hivert, MD, MMSc


DNA is at the base of all life: plants, bacteria, animals, and humans. I personally have always been fascinated by genetics. As a teen, I would dive into books explaining fundamentals of genetics; as a medical student I did an elective in clinical genetics and strongly considered genetics as specialty (but stuck with my original passion for endocrinology). Yet, as a post-doctoral fellow, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest my time in learning about the genetics of obesity and diabetes, since what I really want is to find better ways to prevent those conditions. But I got wrapped into population genetics and still love it.

 
 
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by Lauren Fiechtner, MD


As mammals we have two different types of fat tissue: white and brown. White fat stores energy and plays a role in how full we feel. Brown fat helps regulate the body’s temperature by releasing heat. In mice brown fat has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity and decreased body weight. In humans brown fat has been associated with lower BMI. So we think brown fat is healthier and more efficient than white fat.

 
 
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by Matt Gillman, MD, SM


I’ve just returned from a week in South China. This trip was driven in part by the question of why China, along with India and other Asian countries, are hot spots for 21st century diabetes.  By 2030, ½ billion people on the planet will have type 2 diabetes. The majority will be in Asia.