Arts & Culture / Mosaic / April 8, 2009

Health Beat: Guantanamo medics, insulin resistance

CIA and medics work together to torture terror suspects:

Recently, a report was leaked regarding the treatment of 14 suspects during interrogation before they arrived in Guantánamo Bay. In September 2006, President Bush had 14 “high value” detainees transferred from the CIA High Value Terrorist Detainee program to the Department of Defense in Guantánamo Bay. The report states medical personnel monitored the ongoing ill-treatment of the detainees. Responsible for maintaining the health of each of the prisoner’s bodies, the doctors were present for four major reasons: to provide general healthcare, to treat the consequences of ill-treatment during detention, to intervene to prevent drowning when the life of the individual was at stake, and to examine the swelling of detainees shackled in standing positions to allow sitting when “absolutely necessary.” The report states the doctors were there for the interrogation process and not for the patient. Ethical issues regarding the contents of the report are being vigorously debated.

Diets high in protein and fat may cause insulin resistance:

Scientists at Duke University studied the body’s ability to break down proteins known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) due to their large presence in obese people relative to the non-obese. Research shows that a diet high in fat and protein may be the cause of some insulin resistances. Researchers reminded the public that there is nothing wrong with eating protein from sources with BCAAs, but emphasize moderation. Moderate fat intake was determined not to cause insulin resistance. BCAAs activate signaling proteins such as mTOR that regulate cell growth and survival. The rats used for testing were given the mTOR-blocking drug known as rapamycin to reverse insulin resistance; however, humans don’t react quite the same. Overloading a human’s body by forcing it to handle amino acid metabolic processes can lead to insulin resistance. Research will soon be done to better understand what happens to BCAA metabolism when obese people develop insulin dependence and lose weight. Other studies will also need to be done to understand the dietary intake of BCAA and insulin resistance in humans to try to determine what humans can do to improve their situations. Research on rats is an excellent start, but it has a long way to go before the public can apply the findings to their everyday diets.

Information gathered from

Sara Koehnke

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