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Suggested Citation:"IV Tracer Techniques for the Study of Metabolism." Institute of Medicine. 1997. Emerging Technologies for Nutrition Research: Potential for Assessing Military Performance Capability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5827.
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IV
Tracer Techniques for the Study of Metabolism

THE AUTHORS IN THIS SECTION discuss various tracer techniques, stable isotopes, positron emission tomography, and nuclear magnetic resonance, for studying metabolic processes. Chapters 8 and 9 focus on stable isotopes, which can be used to study turnover of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, thus monitoring changes in energy expenditure, relative fuel utilization, gluconogenesis, and other aspects of metabolic substrate oxidation. For in vivo nutritional studies, stable isotope tracers are injected into accessible compartments in order to compile data on inaccessible compartments from the tracer dilution curve. Mass spectrometry is the analytical method used for measuring stable isotope samples. The problem of the natural abundance of stable isotopes, which differs from place to place, must be overcome if any meaningful data are to be collected, especially in the field.

Positron emission tomography (PET), a noninvasive technique for the evaluation of protein metabolism that traces radioactive atoms incorporated into biological fuels, is discussed in Chapter 10. This technique can be used in conjunction with stable isotopes to evaluate the contribution of individual organs and body areas to whole-body protein metabolic processes. Unfortunately, widespread use of PET is not possible at this time due to the limited number of specialized laboratories that are needed and the high cost of operation.

Suggested Citation:"IV Tracer Techniques for the Study of Metabolism." Institute of Medicine. 1997. Emerging Technologies for Nutrition Research: Potential for Assessing Military Performance Capability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5827.
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Chapter 11 describes the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for the investigation of both liver and muscle glycogen synthesis as well as the pathogenesis of Type II diabetes mellitus. This technique is based on the action of nuclei in the presence of a strong magnetic field, which in the end generates an image from released energy. For the purposes described here, NMR is noninvasive and safe but is relatively insensitive and expensive when the costs of the magnet and staff are considered. The use of NMR imaging for body composition analysis is described in Chapter 5 of this volume.

Suggested Citation:"IV Tracer Techniques for the Study of Metabolism." Institute of Medicine. 1997. Emerging Technologies for Nutrition Research: Potential for Assessing Military Performance Capability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5827.
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Page 199
Suggested Citation:"IV Tracer Techniques for the Study of Metabolism." Institute of Medicine. 1997. Emerging Technologies for Nutrition Research: Potential for Assessing Military Performance Capability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5827.
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The latest of a series of publications based on workshops sponsored by the Committee on Military Nutrition Research, this book's focus on emerging technologies for nutrition research arose from a concern among scientists at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine that traditional nutrition research, using standard techniques, centered more on complex issues of the maintenance or enhancement of performance, and might not be sufficiently substantive either to measure changes in performance or to predict the effects on performance of stresses soldiers commonly experience in operational environments. The committee's task was to identify and evaluate new technologies to determine whether they could help resolve important issues in military nutrition research. The book contains the committee's summary and recommendations as well as individually authored chapters based on presentations at a 1995 workshop. Other chapters cover techniques of body composition assessment, tracer techniques for the study of metabolism, ambulatory techniques for the determination of energy expenditure, molecular and cellular approaches to nutrition, the assessment of immune function, and functional and behavioral measures of nutritional status.

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