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June 8, 2006, 0:14 AM CT

Blacks With Diabetes Are Under-Diagnosed for Obesity

Blacks With Diabetes Are Under-Diagnosed for Obesity
Obesity is under-diagnosed in people with diabetes overall and particularly in African-Americans, even though both conditions are more prevalent in African-Americans than whites, a new study finds.

The data were gleaned from a community health study conducted in Charleston, S.C., part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy People 2010, a large-scale initiative to track and improve the health of people in the United States.

The authors, led by Diane Neal, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, analyzed the records of 265 people with diabetes and a body mass index of 30 or greater, which is classified as obese. Three times as a number of obese whites had been given a diagnosis of obesity as had obese African-Americans.

The authors concluded that "there is under-diagnosis of obesity among people with diabetes mellitus" in their study population. "Further, we think that there exists racial disparity in both the prevalence of obesity and its diagnosis," they wrote in the CDC's REACH 2010 supplement to the current issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

Obesity places people who are at risk for a variety of diseases and disorders, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep and respiratory problems and certain cancers. People with diabetes who are obese are at even greater risk than the general population of obese people. Diagnosing obesity is important because it leads physicians to encourage and assist patients with weight-loss strategies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 8, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

Where You Live Affect Weight

Where You Live Affect Weight
For years, scientists have been trying to document a correlation between obesity among the poor and the limited selection of healthy foods in their local grocery stores. Now, a new study suggests the relationship might be even more complicated than previously thought.

Where people live may influence their food choices as much or more than where they themselves shop, said study lead author Sanae Inagami, M.D., a researcher with the Rand Corporation in Los Angeles.

"My feeling is that your neighbors do influence your health," Inagami said. "Who you know and where you go shopping is correlation to your level of obesity".

Inagami and her colleagues examined census figures from 2000 and linked them to 2,144 Los Angeles County residents who were surveyed about their eating and health habits from 2000 to 2002. The scientists report their findings in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As per the study, residents who lived in poor neighborhoods and shopped in even poorer neighborhoods were more overweight than those who shopped in grocery stores in wealthier areas.

The shopping habits of neighbors were also an important factor. A 5-foot-5-inch person who lived in a poor neighborhood whose neighbors shopped in a wealthier area would weigh an average 9.2 pounds less than if he or she lived in a poor neighborhood whose residents shopped in a poorer area.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 8, 2006, 0:08 AM CT

Laws Don't Stop Kids From Smoking

Laws Don't Stop Kids From Smoking
Laws criminalizing the sale of tobacco to kids might be good PR for politicians, but they have little or no effect of the use of tobacco by minors, a Swiss researcher concludes in a new review article.

The author, Jean-Fran├žois Etter, Ph.D, of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Geneva, reviewed all published studies on the subject, most of which were done in the United States, where, since 1992, legislation requires all states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale for tobacco to persons under the age of 18.

"The review showed that laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors are widespread, but that there is little evidence that they have any impact on smoking rates among youth," said Etter.

States do not enforce the laws, and the federal government does not require states to penalize lawbreakers, as per the review would be reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even when laws are followed, the analysis found "no effect of sales prohibitions on tobacco use by minors, at any level of compliance by retailers".

Minors easily find "social" sources - family and friends - to get tobacco products and circumvent the laws, the review found, and the weight of criminalization is being shifted from retailers to underage users of tobacco.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 8, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

Assessing Risk Of Heart Disease In Ethnic Groups

Assessing Risk Of Heart Disease In Ethnic Groups
A new web-based calculator will better assess the risk of heart disease in British black and minority ethnic groups. These groups are often wrongly assessed.

ETHRISK is for everyday use in the doctor's surgery and other primary care settings. It has been developed by scientists at the University of Bristol to improve prediction of the heart disease risks of seven British black and minority ethnic groups.

Ethnic groups within Britain have a different risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), when compared with the general population in Britain. However, their risks are not being correctly assessed, due to the outdated method of calculation.

Dr Peter Brindle, lead author on the paper published online today in the BMJ journal Heart, said: "The ETHRISK calculator adjusts for ethnic groups and is based on a re-calibration of the Framingham risk equations. It provides a much more realistic assessment of the risk of having heart disease and stroke within a 10-year period, faced by an individual from one of these groups.

"Once the blood pressure and cholesterol measurements have been taken, the nurse or doctor can go online and plug in the numbers to get a more accurate risk score for that individual. ".

The recommended way of preventing heart disease involves using the Framingham risk score to identify high-risk patients. Patients above an agreed threshold are prescribed preventive therapys. However, the relevance of the Framingham score to the British population is uncertain, especially when applied to ethnic groups, because the US data on which Framingham is based, are over 20 years old.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 7, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Thanks To Long-lived Fruit Fly

Thanks To Long-lived Fruit Fly
The creation of an extraordinarily long-lived fruit fly by genetics scientists at the University of Rochester has led researchers down an unexpected new path in the fight against diabetes. The mutant fly is serving as a portal for understanding the factors that determine how nutrition and stress set the foundation for metabolic syndrome and diabetes, why diabetes occurs more frequently as people age, and indeed why people live as long as they do.

Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D., and Henri Jasper, Ph.D., are focusing on a cell signaling system that responds to stress and works in tandem with the insulin receptor that is central to diabetes. They recently received $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the next phase of their studies.

Why spend such funds on a fly that lives 40 percent longer than the average fly? Because of its promise for human health. New findings on aging, diabetes, and stress converge on the fly the team created. Later this month Bohmann will discuss the fly's implications for aging and health at a symposium in Sweden sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundations and also at the exclusive International Workshop on the Molecular and Developmental Biology of Drosophila, sponsored by the European Molecular Biology Organization, in Crete.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 7, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

New Contrast Agents For Better Medical Imaging

New Contrast Agents For Better Medical Imaging Kenneth Watkin
Research by researchers based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may lead to the development of a new breed of "multimodal" contrast agents that could work within a host of medical imaging platforms -- from ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) to magnetic resonance imaging and molecular imaging.

Use of these new agents may, in turn, significantly improve the diagnosis and therapy of cancer, as per Kenneth Watkin, a professor in the department of speech and hearing science and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Watkin's findings, the result of work with former graduate student Michael McDonald, who is now completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, were published recently in the journal Academic Radiology.

"The goal of this work for me was to be able to create advanced methods for the therapy of disease, specifically cancer, that reduce the toxic effects that we see with our current therapys," Watkin said. "And to do that, I had to develop really, really, really small carriers.

"I got into this field -- which is really nanomedicine -- because my area of interest is imaging and head and neck cancer," he said. "And as I would do imaging studies, I would see the true devastation of chemotherapy and radiation treatment to individuals from a psychosocial and a body point of view. So I got to thinking, 'How could we treat head and neck cancers differently -- using fewer chemotoxins?' ".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 7, 2006, 11:36 PM CT

New Approach To Treating Diabetes

New Approach To Treating Diabetes
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have uncovered a surprising and novel way of lowering blood sugar levels in mice by manipulating the release of sugar by liver cells. The results, reported in the recent issue of Cell Metabolism, have implications for treating conditions like diabetes.

The discovery by scientists in Hopkins' Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences and McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine reveals that a protein called GCN5 is critical for controlling a domino-like cascade of molecular events that lead to the release of sugar from liver cells into the bloodstream. Understanding the role of GCN5 in maintaining blood sugar levels is leading to a clearer picture of how the body uses sugar and other nutrients to make, store and spend energy.

"Understanding the ways that energy production and use are controlled is crucial to developing new drugs and therapies," says the report's senior author, Pere Puigserver, Ph.D., an assistant professor of cell biology at Hopkins.

The inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels leads to conditions like obesity and diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause blood sugar levels to stay too high, which can lead to complications like blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage.

"Diabetes is a really big problem, even when patients are given insulin and stay on strict diets," says Carles Lerin, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology at Hopkins and an author of the report. "In the absence of a cure for the disease, we are really trying to focus on finding better therapy because currently available methods just don't work that efficiently," he says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 7, 2006, 11:34 PM CT

Ace Inhibitors Implicated In Birth Defects

Ace Inhibitors Implicated In Birth Defects
The Food and Drug Administration is examining study data from Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, to determine if new warnings should be placed on common blood pressure medications indicating an increased risk of birth defects for babies whose mothers take these medications during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The study, led by William Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, found infants born to mothers who took angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) during the first trimester of pregnancy had an increased risk of major birth defects, compared with infants whose mothers did not take these medications.

Out of 29,507 infants whose TennCare records were examined for the study, 209 were exposed to ACE inhibitors in the first trimester only. When those babies were compared to the rest of the population, including babies exposed to other types of antihypertensive medications, they had more than double the risk of major birth defects, particularly of the heart and central nervous system.

Cooper is first author on the study, which includes co-authors from the Departments of Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


June 7, 2006, 7:02 AM CT

Children And Teens Treated With Antipsychotics Increases

Children And Teens Treated With Antipsychotics Increases
A steadily increasing number of patients younger than age 20 received prescriptions for antipsychotic medications between 1993 and 2002, as per a report reported in the recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Antipsychotics are medications used to treat mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and mania, that may involve loss of contact with reality. Several studies have indicated that prescriptions for these medications have been increasing among children and adolescents, raising concerns among professionals and the public. However, no national data have previously been available, as per background information in the article. Most prescriptions given to children and adolescents are for second-generation antipsychotics, which are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for pediatric patients.

Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, and his colleagues analyzed data from a national survey of office-based physicians conducted yearly by federal researchers. In addition to recording whether the child or adolescent patient received a prescription for antipsychotics, the doctor or a staff member also logged the patient's age, sex and race or ethnicity; the length of the visit; the physician's specialty and whether the patient received psychotherapy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


June 7, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Treatment Options For Patients With Brain Metastases

Treatment Options For Patients With Brain Metastases Image courtesy of University of Western Ontario
Adding whole-brain radiation treatment to highly-focused radiation treatment does not improve survival for patients with cancer and brain metastases, but it may reduce the likelihood of the recurrence of brain metastases, as per a research studyin the June 7 issue of JAMA.

Brain metastases (lesions in the brain due to spread of cancers occurring elsewhere) occur in 20 percent to 40 percent of all patients with cancer and are generally associated with a poor prognosis, as per background information in the article. It has been believed that in brain metastases, the entire brain is "seeded" with micrometastatic disease, even when only a single intracranial lesion is detected. Consequently, whole-brain radiation treatment (WBRT), which has possible adverse effects, has been the dominant therapy. Recently, the assumption that the entire brain is seeded with micrometastases has been questioned. For patients who truly have limited intracranial disease, the potential exists that WBRT could be replaced by more focused therapeutic options such as resection (partial surgical removal) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), which delivers high-dose, focal radiation, with less long-term adverse effects than WBRT. These therapies have been used with increasing frequency. It has been unclear whether adding WBRT to SRS improves survival or neurologic function compared with SRS alone.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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