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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Public HealthWeight Loss


Pregnancy pounds may affect kids’ weight

Obesity • • PregnancyJun 25 08

Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy might raise their child’s future risk of becoming overweight, a new study suggests.

Looking at data from more than 10,000 mother-child pairs, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children whose mothers gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy were 48 percent more likely than other children to be overweight at age 7.

In the U.S., the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that normal-weight women gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Women who were overweight before becoming pregnant are encouraged to gain a little less—15 to 25 pounds—while underweight women should put on 28 to 40 pounds.

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New US estimates show diabetes affects 24 million

DiabetesJun 25 08

New government estimates show that nearly 24 million people in the United States have diabetes, an increase of more than 3 million in two years.

This means that nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, mostly the type-2 diabetes linked with obesity, poor diet and a lack of exercise, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The estimates, based on 2007 data, also show that 57 million people have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes. And up to 25 percent of people with diabetes do not know they have it, the CDC said—down from 30 percent two years ago.

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Simple ultrasound exam may predict osteoporosis risk

Gender: FemaleJun 25 08

An ultrasound exam of the heel may be able to predict if a woman is at heightened risk for fractures due to osteoporosis, according to a new multicenter study being published in the July issue of the journal Radiology. Along with certain risk factors, including age or recent fall, radiation-free ultrasound of the heel may be used to better select women who need further bone density testing, such as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) exam.

“Osteoporosis is a major public health issue expected to increase in association with worldwide aging of the population,” said the study’s lead author Idris Guessous, M.D., senior research fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland. “The incidence of osteoporosis will outpace economic resources, and the development of strategies to better identify women who need to be tested is crucial.”

Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone tissue and is a major public health threat. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans currently have osteoporosis and approximately 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, increasing their risk of developing the disease. Eighty percent of those affected are women.

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Cardiac Rehab Help and Hope

HeartJun 25 08

Tim Russert’s tragic death put heart disease back into the forefront. In many cases, fortunately, treatment and lifestyle changes can help people fight and win their struggle. Success stories include David Letterman and Regis Philbin. In Baltimore, Maryland, Northwest Hospital’s new Cardiac Rehabilitation Program offers help for individuals, like Letterman and Philbin, with stimulating, do-able plans.

When someone suffers a heart attack or other cardiac events, starting to move around early on is often found to reduce further complications, such developing pulmonary embolisms. However, if a person is doing unsupervised exercise, his or her safety could be compromised. In addition, it is also important to guide an individual toward a complete healthy lifestyle right away.

This is a program that could give hospitals and fitness centers in every area of the country ideas give individuals the tools they need to get and stay heart healthy.

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Promoting sexual and reproductive rights

Fertility and pregnancy • • Sexual HealthJun 25 08

Elsevier announced today Reproductive Health Matters’ May 2008 issue on the theme of “Conflict and Crisis Settings: Promoting Sexual and Reproductive rights”. Under conditions of global economic and ecological crisis as well as rampant militarism, growing numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) find themselves stripped of ordinary rights or even ‘the right to have rights’. By the end of 2006, the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that nearly 33 million people worldwide qualified for humanitarian assistance – representing an increase of 56% from 2005. The great majority of these were IDPs who do not qualify for the rights and benefits conferred by refugee status.

Disaster has a strongly gendered dimension related to sexual and reproductive health. Camps and shelters which are intended to provide refuge often become places of violence and dehumanisation, especially for women and girls. This issue of Reproductive Health Matters attests to the great distance that remains between the official recognition of the sexual and reproductive rights of IDPs and refugees and their safeguarding on the ground.

The long-term duration of armed conflict in many countries means that IDPs and refugees may find themselves displaced for years or even decades. Conditions of unequal power, dependency, crowding, sub-standard housing and lack of privacy make rape and abuse a constant threat.

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Mediterranean diet in pregnancy may curb allergies

Allergies • • Dieting • • PregnancyJun 23 08

Women who eat a Mediterranean diet while pregnant could help stave off asthma and allergies in their children, a new study suggests.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in plant-based foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and nuts—as well as olive oil and fish. Adherents consume low to moderate amounts of dairy products and eggs, lesser amounts of white meat, and infrequently eat red meat.

Some studies have suggested that such eating patterns can lower children’s odds of asthma symptoms and skin and nasal allergies. But it’s unclear whether women can affect their children’s future allergy risks by following a Mediterranean diet during pregnancy.

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Medication improves alcoholics’ quality of life

Drug News • • Psychiatry / PsychologyJun 23 08

The medication topiramate may not only improve drinking problems in people with alcohol dependence, but boost their quality of life as well, according to a new study.

Topiramate (Topamax) is an anti-seizure drug that has also been shown to reduce drinking in alcoholics—possibly due to it effects on certain brain chemicals thought to be involved in alcohol dependence.

Whether treatment with the drug can also improve alcoholics’ physical and mental well-being, however, has been unclear.

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New oral drug curbs MS disease activity

Brain • • NeurologyJun 23 08

In people with multiple sclerosis, or MS, treatment with a new immune-modulating drug called laquinimod can significantly reduce disease activity seen on brain MRI scans, a multinational team reports in The Lancet medical journal.

Currently approved drugs that target the inflammation associated with MS are all given by injection, point out Dr. Giancarlo Comi, from the University Vita-Salute in Milan, Italy, and colleagues. By contrast, laquinimod can be taken more conveniently, by mouth.

In a mid-stage clinical trial involving 306 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, Comi’s team investigated the effects of two laquinimod doses—0.3 and 0.6 milligrams daily—compared to an inactive placebo.

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Lose weight on the carb-packed “big breakfast” diet

Dieting • • Weight LossJun 23 08

To lose weight and keep it off, eat a big breakfast packed with carbohydrates and protein, then follow a low-carb, low-calorie diet the rest of the day, a small study suggests.

The “big breakfast” diet works, researchers say, because it controls appetite and satisfies cravings for sweets and starches. It’s also healthier than popular low-carb diets because it allows people to eat more fiber- and vitamin-rich fruit, according to Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, of the Hospital de Clinicas in Caracas, Venezuela.

She told the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco that she’s successfully used this diet in her patients for more than 15 years.

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Teen “pregnancy pact” shocks Massachusetts city

Pregnancy • • Public HealthJun 23 08

A Massachusetts city is investigating an apparent teenage “pregnancy pact” that has at least 17 high-school girls expecting babies, four times more than last year, including many aged 16 or younger.

A high school health clinic in the city of Gloucester became suspicious after seeing a surge in girls seeking pregnancy tests. Local officials said on Thursday nearly half of those who became pregnant appear to have entered into a pact to have their babies together over the year.

“Some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” Gloucester High School principal Joseph Sullivan told Time magazine, which broke news of the pact on its Web site.

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New source of heart stem cells discovered

HeartJun 23 08

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston are continuing to document the heart’s earliest origins. Now, they have pinpointed a new, previously unrecognized group of stem cells that give rise to cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells. These stem cells, located in the surface of the heart, or epicardium, advance the hope of being able to regenerate injured heart tissue.

This finding, published online by the journal Nature on June 22, comes on the heels of parallel cardiac stem cell discoveries in 2006, at both Children’s and Massachusetts General Hospital. Then, the Children’s team found that a specific stem cell or progenitor, marked by expression of a gene called Nkx2-5, forms many components of the heart: heart muscle cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, and the endothelial cells lining blood vessels in the heart’s left-sided chambers. The team at MGH found a related progenitor, marked by expression of the Isl1 gene, that produces these same cell-types in the right-sided heart chambers.

Now, researchers at Children’s have shown that heart muscle cells can also be derived from a third type of cardiac progenitor, located within the epicardium and identifiable through its expression of a gene called Wt1.

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Fewer Heart Disease Deaths in Massachusetts as Smoking Declines

Heart • • Tobacco & MarijuanaJun 20 08

If more states introduce tobacco control programs for their residents who are regular smokers, the number of U.S. deaths due to coronary heart disease might drop, finds a new study that looks at an ongoing Massachusetts initiative.

A connection exists between coronary heart disease and cigarette smoking, and the new study determines how a reduction in smoking affected the number of related deaths in Massachusetts between 1993 and 2003. The state introduced its Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program (MTCP) in 1992, which received funding through a special cigarette tax, and the researchers say they expected to find it helped control the rate of smoking.

“California was the first state to have a statewide program like the MTCP and they witnessed substantial declines,” said lead author Zubair Kabir, M.D., who at the time of the study was a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. “So it was not surprising that Massachusetts, the second state, would see such declines as well, which reflect the impact of a comprehensive, integrated and - at the time - well-funded program.”

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New Spanish-language Consumer Guide Compares Oral Diabetes Medications

DiabetesJun 20 08

Pastillas para la diabetes tipo 2, a new consumer guide for Hispanic adults who have type 2 diabetes and need information to help them compare various oral medications for their illness, has been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health issues facing Hispanics in the United States. AHRQ data show that nearly one in eight Hispanics take a prescription drug for diabetes.

“This guide offers critically important information to help Hispanics who have diabetes control their disease and avoid side effects,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. She added that providing information in Spanish will help efforts to get Hispanic patients more involved in their own health care and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

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Weight Gain Within the Normal Range Increases Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease

Urine Problems • • Weight LossJun 20 08

Healthy individuals who gain weight, even to a weight still considered normal, are at risk for developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study appearing in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The study suggests that CKD should be added to the list of conditions that are associated with weight gain, including diabetes and hypertension.

Research has shown that obesity is linked to an increased risk of CKD, but no studies have looked at the effects of weight gain within the “normal” range of an individual’s body mass index. To investigate, Drs. Seungho Ryu and Yoosoo Chang of the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, Korea, and their colleagues conducted a prospective study of individuals who were of a healthy weight and had no known risk factors for chronic kidney disease.

In Korea, all workers participate in either annual or biennial health exams, as required by Korea’s Industrial Safety and Health Law. As a result, the investigators had access to clinical data from thousands of individuals. For this study, they included 8,792 healthy men who participated in the health exams in 2002.

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Neurologic Complications of Heart Surgery Detailed in Comprehensive Review Article

Heart • • Neurology • • SurgeryJun 20 08

Possible neurologic complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report in the online journal MedLink Neurology.

The review article, which compiled results of previously published studies, was written by Dr. Betsy Love and Dr. Jose Biller of Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Dr. James Fleck of Indiana University School of Medicine.

In the most comprehensive and up-to-date review of its kind, researchers list possible nervous system complications of bypass surgeries, cardiac catheterizations, valve replacements, heart transplants and surgeries for congenital heart disease.

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