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September 9, 2010, 6:47 AM CT

Restaurant menu labeling legislation

Restaurant menu labeling legislation
The government's role in improving the nation's nutrition is now firmly established with nutritional labeling for restaurant meals now mandated across the United States as part of HR 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explains how state and municipal labeling laws developed and how the new national law will supersede these and replace them with a uniform standard. It also addresses the American Dietetic Association's (ADA's) involvement and how these new regulations will impact registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) as well as consumers.

With enactment of the new law and detailed regulations to be issued by the Food and Drug Administration, restaurants and food vendors with 20 or more outlets will be mandatory to post calories on menus, menu boards (including drive-through) and food display tags, with additional nutrient information (fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, and fiber) available in writing upon request. Calorie posting requirements will also apply to vending machines managed by companies that operate at least 20 machines.

This new legislation will ensure that restaurant diners are provided with tools to make informed, healthful choices regarding the foods they consume outside the home. The article provides insights into how this law may work, including recommendations for how RDs may play a critical part in a successful implementation of this national standard.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 9, 2010, 6:35 AM CT

Predicting weight regain after dieting

Predicting weight regain after dieting
A number of people have experienced the frustration that comes with regaining weight that was lost from dieting. As per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), the levels of appetite hormones in the body previous to dieting may serve as a predictor of weight regain after dieting.

"Treating obesity with drugs or dietary programs can be very effective in the short-term, but the long-term success of maintaining the weight lost is commonly poor," said Ana Crujeiras, PhD, of Compejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago in Spain and main author of the study. "Our study sheds light on how the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin affect weight regain after weight loss. This knowledge could be used as a tool to personalize weight-loss programs that could guarantee success in keeping off the weight".

In this study, scientists reviewed a group of 104 obese or overweight men and women during an 8-week low-calorie diet and again 32 weeks after therapy. Scientists measured body weight as well as plasma fasting ghrelin, leptin and insulin concentrations before, during and after dieting. They observed that subjects with higher plasma leptin and lower ghrelin levels before dieting were more prone to regain weight lost after dieting and that these hormone levels could be proposed as biomarkers for predicting obesity-treatment outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 9, 2010, 6:33 AM CT

Using medication for insomnia or anxiety?

Using medication for insomnia or anxiety?
Taking medications to treat insomnia and anxiety increases mortality risk by 36%, as per a research studyconducted by Genevive Belleville, a professor at Universit Laval's School of Psychology. The details of this study are reported in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

Dr. Belleville arrived at these results through analysis of 12 years of data on over 14,000 Canadians in Statistics Canada's National Population Health Survey. The data includes information on the social demographics, lifestyle, and health of Canadians age 18 to 102, surveyed every two years between 1994 and 2007.

During this period, respondents who reported having used medicine to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the month preceding the survey had a mortality rate of 15.7%. Respondents who reported not having used such medications had a rate of 10.5%. After controlling for personal factors that might affect mortality risk, notably alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical health, physical activity level, and the presence or absence of depressive symptoms among participants, Dr. Belleville established that the consumption of sleeping pills or anxiety-relieving medications was linked to a 36% increase in the risk of death.

Many hypotheses have been put forward to explain the link between use of these medications and increased mortality. Sleeping pills and anxiolytics affect reaction time, alertness, and coordination and are thus conducive to falls and other accidents. They may also have an inhibiting effect on the respiratory system, which could aggravate certain breathing problems that may occur during sleep. These medications are also central nervous system inhibitors that may affect judgment and thus increase the risk of suicide.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 7, 2010, 7:40 AM CT

Carbohydrate claims can mislead consumers

Carbohydrate claims can mislead consumers
Food manufacturers advertise a variety of foods on grocery store shelves by using nutrient claims on the front of packaging. A study in the September/recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior evaluates how consumers are interpreting certain carbohydrate-related content claims and the effects of claims on consumer perceptions of food products. Findings from this study reveal that consumers misinterpret low carbohydrate claims to have health benefits and weight loss qualities beyond their nutrition facts.

In the early 2000s, low-carbohydrate claims gained huge popularity in response to such books as Dr. Atkin's New Diet Revolution and The South Beach Diet. As per a research findings published in AC Nielsen Consumer Insights, it was noted that there was a 516% sales increase in low-carbohydrate food products from 2001 to 2005 showing that front of package claims can play a large part in consumer decisions.

Existing research suggests that consumers are less likely to turn to the back of a package to look at the Nutrition Facts panel when there is a claim on the front of the package. In the newly released study, scientists at the United States Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition sought to determine whether low-carbohydrate claims might lead consumers to perceive products to have benefits that are not necessarily correlation to being low in carbohydrate. Using an online questionnaire, 4,320 consumer panelists rated products for their perceived healthfulness, helpfulness for weight management, and caloric content based on front-of-package-only conditions (nutrition claims versus no nutrition claims) and availability of Nutrition Facts panels.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 7, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Many hospital emergency department visits

Many hospital emergency department visits
About 17 percent of all visits to hospital emergency departments across the United States could be treated at retail medical clinics or urgent care centers, potentially saving $4.4 billion annually in health care costs, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Conditions that could be treated safely outside hospitals include minor infections, strains, fractures and lacerations, as per findings reported in the September edition of the journal Health Affairs

"Patient traffic to hospital emergency departments has been growing, but a significant proportion of patients could be safely treated in these alternative settings," said Robin Weinick, the study's main author and a senior social scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Diverting these patients to alternatives such as retail clinics and urgent care centers could shorten their waiting times and save money".

More Americans are using hospital emergency departments because they face long waits for appointments with their doctor and limited after-hours options. A number of studies have observed the cost of treating of nonemergent conditions in the emergency department is significantly higher than in other settings, which can increase patients' out-of-pocket costs and add avoidable spending to the nation's health care bill.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 1, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

High-fat diet during puberty linked to breast cancer

High-fat diet during puberty linked to breast cancer
Girls eating a high-fat diet during puberty, even those who do not become overweight or obese, appears to be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer during the later part of life, as per Michigan State University researchers.

The implications - that a high-fat diet may have detrimental effects independent of its effect to cause obesity - could drive new cancer prevention efforts.

The findings come from research at MSU's Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center, established in 2003 and funded through 2010 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.

Physiology professor Sandra Haslam, director of the center, and Richard Schwartz, microbiology professor and associate dean in the College of Natural Science, are now expanding that research with a new, five-year, $2.3 million federal grant. They will use that funding to continue their work studying the impact of prenatal-to-adult environmental exposures that predispose women to breast cancer as part of the extended nationwide Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program.

"The pubertal time period is crucial, as this is when the basic framework is created for mammary gland development," Haslam said. "What we are seeing from preliminary research in animals is that a high-fat diet during puberty can lead to the production of inflammatory products in the mammary glands of adults, which can promote cancer growth".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 1, 2010, 6:55 AM CT

Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers

Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that a number of of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems linked to drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.).

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is linked to the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (particularly when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as a number of family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It's true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors - job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don't get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 31, 2010, 7:11 AM CT

Destination amnesia

Destination amnesia
Elderly adults are more likely to have destination memory failures forgetting who they've shared or not shared information with, as per a newly released study led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

It's the kind of memory faux pas that can lead to awkward or embarrassing social situations and even miscommunication in the doctor's office. Ironically, after making these memory errors elderly adults remain highly confident in their false beliefs.

The study appears online, ahead of print publication, in the Online First Section of Psychology and Aging

"What we've found is that elderly adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults," said lead investigator and cognitive scientist Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with internationally-renowned experts in memory and attention, Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher.

Typically "destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you've told someone something, such as believing you've told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbour".

Why are elderly adults more prone to destination memory failures? The ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so elderly adults use up most of their attentional resources on the telling of information and don't properly encode the context (ie. who they are speaking to) for later recall.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2010, 7:02 AM CT

Mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care workers

Mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care workers
Influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel is a professional and ethical responsibility and non-compliance with healthcare facility policies regarding vaccination should not be tolerated, as per a position paper released recently by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). The paper, published in this month's Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology journal and endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), stresses influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel as a core patient safety practice that should be a condition of both initial and continued employment in healthcare facilities.

As per SHEA, their recommendations apply to all healthcare professionals in all healthcare settings, regardless of whether the professional has direct patient contact or whether he or she is directly employed by the facility. The policy also applies to students, volunteers, and contract workers. The only exemptions, say the epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, should be in cases of medical contraindications.

"The transmission of influenza in healthcare settings is a substantial safety concern for both patients and healthcare personnel and deserves our attention and action," said Neil Fishman, MD, president of SHEA. "Healthcare providers are ethically obligated to take measures proven to keep patients from acquiring influenza in healthcare settings. Required vaccination is the cornerstone to a comprehensive program designed to prevent the spread of influenza which also includes identification and isolation of infected patients, adherence to hand hygiene and cough etiquette, the appropriate use of protective equipment, and restriction of ill healthcare personnel and visitors in the facility." .........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 26, 2010, 11:12 PM CT

Walking boosts brain connectivity

Walking boosts brain connectivity
Psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer, doctoral student Michelle Voss and their colleagues found that a year of moderate walking improved the connectivity of specific brain networks in older adults.
A group of "professional couch potatoes," as one researcher described them, has proven that even moderate exercise - in this case walking at one's own pace for 40 minutes three times a week - can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat declines in brain function linked to aging and increase performance on cognitive tasks.

The study, in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, followed 65 adults, aged 59 to 80, who joined a walking group or stretching and toning group for a year. All of the participants were sedentary before the study, reporting less than two episodes of physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more in the prior six months. The scientists also measured brain activity in 32 younger (18- to 35-year-old) adults.

Rather than focusing on specific brain structures, the study looked at activity in brain regions that function together as networks.

"Almost nothing in the brain gets done by one area - it's more of a circuit," said University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute Director Art Kramer, who led the study with kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley and doctoral student Michelle Voss. "These networks can become more or less connected. In general, as we get older, they become less connected, so we were interested in the effects of fitness on connectivity of brain networks that show the most dysfunction with age."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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