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Craig Warden, professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior and of pediatrics at UC Davis, identifies genes linked to obesity in mice and searches for their human counterparts using databases of the human genome and comparison to humans with common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A number of genes linked to obesity have been found by researchers at UC Davis and elsewhere, including uncoupling protein 2 (UCP-2).

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Over the past 24 years, Mr. Changvang Her has been involved in the Hmong community as a healthcare interpreter, cultural broker and director of several programs for the Merced-based nonprofit Healthy House. Mr. Her currently directs language service projects and its \"Partners in Healing Project,\" which works to create more understanding between physicians and Hmong shamans in the Central Valley. Mr. Her facilitates home visits that allow Western doctors to observe traditional ceremonies, and he shares information about shaman tools, altars and the cultural meanings of traditional practices.

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Dr. Aouizerat's research is centered on understanding the quantitative genetics (genomics) of common human disease. He is interested in accelerating the translation of discoveries in basic science genetics (the bench) to clinical practice (the bedside). Of particular interest to his lab is the role of common genetic variations in dyslipidemia, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Currently, he is investigating four clinical populations with discrete cardiovascular diseases: familial combined hyperlipidemia, hypoalphalipoproteinemia, hyperalphalipoproteinmia and normolipidemic controls.

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Dr. America Bracho is the founder, president and CEO of Latino Health Access, a center for health promotion and disease prevention in Santa Ana, Calif. This center was created under her leadership to assist with the multiple health needs of Latinos in Orange County. Latino Health Access encourages empowerment for the Latino community and uses participatory approaches to community health education. The programs train community health workers as leaders of wellness and change. Dr. Bracho worked as a physician in her native Venezuela for several years. She came to the U.S.

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This racial group includes any of the original peoples of North, South and Central America who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. The five leading causes of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, diabetes and chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Native Americans suffer disproportionately high rates of obesity, infant mortality, mental health problems and substance abuse.

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As of 2007, almost 8 percent of Americans – nearly 24 million people – suffer from diabetes, a serious and chronic condition that can lead to complications such as blindness, amputations or even death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About a quarter of them don't know they have the disease. In recent years, rising obesity rates have been linked to a striking rise in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases, particularly among children and teens.

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The health concerns of African-Americans are varied and critical. African-American men have the highest death rate of all racial and ethnic groups, male and female. The 10 leading causes of death for African-Americans are: heart disease; cancer; stroke; diabetes; unintentional injuries; homicide; nephritis, nephritic syndrome and nephrosis; chronic lower respiratory disease; HIV/AIDS and septicemia. There is also a high prevalence of hypertension, infant mortality and tuberculosis.

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Get tips on covering medical research stories from veteran AP reporter Lauran Neergaard.

 

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Native Americans experience higher disease rates than other Americans for problems ranging from diabetes and heart ailments to mental illness and suicides, which contribute to their lower life expectancy. Get tips from a veteran journalist for covering these health issues.

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Obesity is visible — walk down the street and you bump into it. Diabetes, on the other hand, is silent and tragic. Here are tips for reporting on the links between them.

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