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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Obesity

 

Beating obesity

ObesityApr 25 12

Barb Beck wrote a list of 1,703 things she couldn’t do – things she “lost,” she said – because she was too fat.

They were measures of obesity’s toll on every aspect of her life, including her basic dignity: Sit on chairs with arms. Do a somersault. Ride the rides at amusement parks.

Buy regular clothes at regular stores, rather than ordering size 9X garments online.

Clean herself after using the bathroom.

- Full Story - »»»    

Beating obesity

ObesityApr 25 12

Barb Beck wrote a list of 1,703 things she couldn’t do – things she “lost,” she said – because she was too fat.

They were measures of obesity’s toll on every aspect of her life, including her basic dignity: Sit on chairs with arms. Do a somersault. Ride the rides at amusement parks.

Buy regular clothes at regular stores, rather than ordering size 9X garments online.

Clean herself after using the bathroom.

- Full Story - »»»    

A New Diagnosis for Frida Kahlo’s Infertility

Fertility and pregnancy • • Public HealthApr 23 12

Frida Kahlo’s many haunting self-portraits have been studied by experts for decades, have attracted worldwide attention and have sold for millions of dollars at auction. Yet, despite the fact that Kahlo’s work focuses largely on anatomy and failed reproduction attempts, relatively little attention has been paid to Kahlo’s own body and infertility.

Intrigued by the messages manifested in Kahlo’s work and surprised by the apparent lack of interest by scientists in Kahlo’s clinical condition, Fernando Antelo, a surgical pathologist at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, set out to reassess the condition that caused Kahlo’s infertility and inspired some of her greatest pieces.

“While art historians and journalists have written extensively on Kahlo’s life and artwork, there is a lack of scientific comment by physicians - who have written only a handful of papers on her health,” Antelo explained. “To add a twist of irony, none of these medical papers have focused on Kahlo’s infertility.”

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Screening programs detect cases of undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease in low-resource countries

Heart • • Rheumatic DiseasesApr 22 12

Widespread screening of children in poorer countries is now being studied and is resulting in the diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in patients that would likely have gone undetected under normal circumstances, according to two new studies carried out in Fiji and Uganda presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology.

Coordinated screening and control programmes can help to identify patients before they progress to severe RHD for a fraction of the cost associated with treating these patients. While more work needs to be done to determine if these programmes should be widely promoted, there has been limited evidence to suggest that they are feasible in countries that have few resources – until now.

In one study carried out in Uganda, 4,869 school children were screened simply using a stethoscope and a portable echocardiography machine. Of the children screened, 72 (1.5 per cent) were diagnosed with possible, probably or definite RHD that required follow-up.

“This is one of the largest single-country child echo-based RHD screening studies that has been carried out,” said Dr. Andrea Beaton Children’s National Medical Center, USA. “This study proves that even in low-resource settings it is possible to embark on a screening programme that will identify children with probable or definite RHD, that would otherwise not have been seen until they had progressed to severe disease.”

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Physicians Call for Improvements to Country’s Public Health System to Protect U.S. Residents

Public HealthApr 22 12

A call for an improved public health infrastructure that works collaboratively with physicians in order to ensure the public’s safety and health was made today by the American College of Physicians (ACP). The action was highlighted by the release of a new policy paper, Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure[PDF], at Internal Medicine 2012, ACP’s annual scientific meeting in New Orleans.

“This paper points out that strengthening the public health infrastructure is imperative to ensure that the appropriate health care services are available to meet the population’s health care needs and to respond to public health emergencies,” said Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, MACP, president of ACP. “A strong public health infrastructure provides the capacity to prepare for and respond to both acute and chronic threats to the nation’s health, yet ill-advised budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels pose a grave threat to the health of U.S. residents.”

ACP’s paper makes the case for adequate investments in public health, which is the practice of preventing diseases and promoting good health within groups of people. Public health depends on an underlying foundation, or infrastructure, to support the planning, delivery, and evaluation of public health activities and practices. Public health works to protect and improve the health of communities through education, policy development, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research. It concentrates on the health of the population, rather than care of the individual patient, although these are becoming more intertwined as non-communicable diseases are becoming a priority focus for both population and patient-directed care.

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Life expectancy and healthy life years in the European Union, 2008-2010

Public HealthApr 19 12

The HLY (Healthy Life Years) indicates how long people can expect to live without disability. It has been computed annually for each Member State of the European Union since 2005. These figures are released in the framework of the first annual meeting of the European Joint Action on Healthy Life Years (EHLEIS), organized in Paris on April 19, 2012 (ASIEM, 6 rue Albert de Lapparent, from 1:30pm) by the French Ministry of Health. The European Joint Action on Healthy Life Years (EHLEIS) is led by FRANCE, and coordinated by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

In 2009 men in the European Union (EU27) could expect 61.3 Healthy Life Years (HLY), representing almost 80% of their life expectancy (LE) at birth of 76.7 years. Women could expect 62 HLY, 75% of their life expectancy (LE) at birth of 82.6 years in 2009.

2010 values for men
In 2010, Sweden has the longest life expectancy at birth (79.6 years) for men in the European Union and Lithuania the shortest (68 years), a gap of almost 12 years. Swedish men also have the most Healthy Life Years (71.7 years) with men in the Slovak Republic having the least (52.3 years), a gap of almost 20 Healthy Life Years. And again Sweden has the highest proportion of years lived without disability (HLY/ LE) in 2010 with 90% of life expectancy without limitations in usual activities. Men in the Slovak Republic on the other hand spend the lowest proportion without disability (73%), a difference of 17 percentage points. This suggests that for men the longer the life expectancy the greater the proportion lived without disability.

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Childhood obesity genes identified

Children's Health • • ObesityApr 11 12

An international genome-wide study involving thousands of cases identified at least two new gene variants linked to childhood obesity, a U.S. researcher says.

Lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and hospital colleagues Jonathan P. Bradfield, Dr. Hakon Hakonarson and Dr. Robert I. Berkowitz said the meta-analysis included 14 previous studies encompassing 5,530 cases of childhood obesity and 8,300 control subjects, all of European ancestry.

The study team identified two novel loci, one near the OLFM4 gene on chromosome 13, the other within the HOXB5 gene on chromosome 17, the study said.

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U.S. teen birth rate lowest since 1946

Pregnancy • • Public HealthApr 11 12

Fewer babies were born to U.S. teenagers ages 15-19 in 2010 - 367,752 - than in any year since 1946’s 322,380, federal health officials said.

The preliminary report by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, used the most current data available from the National Vital Statistics System found the 2010 total of births to teenagers was 43 percent lower than the peak recorded in 1970 at 644,708, the report said.

The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low at 34.3 births per 1,000 women ages 15-19; the rate dropped 44 percent from 1991 through 2010, the report said.

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Diet may treat some gene mutations

Dieting • • GeneticsApr 09 12

Scientists have moved a step closer to correcting some unhealthy gene mutations with diet, according to a new research report appearing in the April 2012 issue of the journal GENETICS. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, determined variations and responses to vitamin treatment in the human cystathionine beta synthase gene, which when defective, causes the disease homocystinuria, an inherited metabolic disorder sometimes treatable with vitamin B6. After the analysis, scientists correlated specific gene mutations with severity of the disease, ranging from perfectly healthy and functional to severe and untreatable. Although the current study focused on homocystinuria, testing the effects of naturally occurring gene variations using surrogate organism genetics can be applied to other inherited disorders, such as neural tube defect, cleft palate, and blindness.

“The era of personal genome sequences is upon us, but there is a growing gap between the ability to sequence human genomes and the ability to understand the significance of variation in genome sequences,” said Jasper Rine, Ph.D., the principal investigator of this research in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences at the University of California, Berkeley. “This study demonstrates one way to close the gap; the data separate gene variants into distinct classes, including a group amenable to dietary intervention.”

To make their determination, scientists “swapped” the cystathionine beta synthase gene of baker’s yeast with the gene from humans to test which variants were healthy, treatable, or untreatable with additional vitamin B6. As a result, the study clarified the function of 84 DNA sequence variants in this gene, which will help physicians more effectively treat patients based on their particular genotypes. In addition, this approach opens doors for future studies examining other human genes that similarly cross over between humans and yeast.

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Risk of Blood Loss in Childhood Back Surgery Varies with Cause of Spine Deformity

Children's Health • • TraumaApr 09 12

The relative risk of blood loss during corrective spine surgery in children appears linked to the underlying condition causing the spinal deformity, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Results of the study, published online March 15 in the journal Spine, can help surgeons prepare, plan and safeguard against this common and serious complication, the investigators say. Blood loss during surgery can increase the length of hospital stay, lead to complications and portend worse overall outcomes.

The Johns Hopkins investigation, believed to be the first to explore the link between intraoperative blood loss and pediatric patients’ underlying condition, is based on an analysis of 617 cases of children, ages 10 through 18, who had surgery to fuse bones to stabilize and correct a spine deformity. All surgeries were conducted at Johns Hopkins between 2001 and 2011.

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Obese Patients Face Higher Radiation Exposure From CT Scans But New Technology Can Help

Cancer • • ObesityApr 06 12

Most medical imaging equipment is not designed with overweight and obese patients in mind. As a result, these individuals can be exposed to higher levels of radiation during routine X-ray and CT scans.

A new study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the first to calculate exactly how much additional radiation obese patients receive from a CT scan. Research results show the internal organs of obese men receive 62 percent more radiation during a CT scan than those of normal weight men. For obese women, it was an increase of 59 percent.

New technology developed at Rensselaer by nuclear engineering expert X. George Xu could help solve this problem. Xu’s research team created ultra-realistic 3-D computer models of overweight and obese men and women, and used computer simulations to determine how X-rays interact with the different body types. These models, known as “phantoms,” can help empower physicians to configure and optimize CT scanning devices in such a way that minimizes how much radiation a patient receives.

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DNA sequencing lays foundation for personalized cancer treatment

CancerApr 02 12

cientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are using powerful DNA sequencing technology not only to identify mutations at the root of a patient’s tumor – considered key to personalizing cancer treatment – but to map the genetic evolution of disease and monitor response to treatment.

“We’re finding clinically relevant information in the tumor samples we’re sequencing for discovery-oriented research studies,” says Elaine Mardis, PhD, co-director of The Genome Institute at the School of Medicine. “Genome analysis can play a role at multiple time points during a patient’s treatment, to identify ‘driver’ mutations in the tumor genome and to determine whether cells carrying those mutations have been eliminated by treatment.”

This work is helping to guide the design of future cancer clinical trials in which treatment decisions are based on results of sequencing, says Mardis, who is speaking April 1 at the opening plenary session of the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago. She also is affiliated with the Siteman Cancer Center at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

To date, Mardis and her colleagues have sequenced all the DNA – the genome – of tumor cells from more than 700 cancer patients. By comparing the genetic sequences in the tumor cells to healthy cells from the same patient, they can identify mutations underlying each patient’s cancer.

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