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November 15, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Obesity An Advantage In Hemodialysis Patients

Obesity An Advantage In Hemodialysis Patients
Despite significant improvements in dialysis therapys, currently over 20% of the 350,000 maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients in the United States die each year. A study published in Hemodialysis International finds that this high mortality rate may be attributed to malnutrition.

MHD patients experience what has been termed the "obesity paradox," wherein obesity is linked to increased chance of survival. "A larger body fat mass as seen in obesity probably represents protective reserves that may mitigate the adverse effects of malnutrition in patients," as per Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh M.D., author of the study.

MHD patients tend to have a high degree of protein-energy malnutrition and inflammation. The combination of these two conditions, termed Kidney Disease Wasting (KDW), leads to increased risk of death. On the other hand, it has been shown that an increase in protein intake yields the greatest survival in patients.

The study suggests that improved diet as well as appetite-stimulating agents may be a way to improve nutrition and, consequently, outcome in MHD patients. Understanding the factors that lead to KDW will be the key to improving survival in MHD patients, as well as in the 20 to 40 million Americans who exhibit similar risk-factor paradoxes such as those with chronic heart failure, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and malignancy.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:38 AM CT

Bariatric Surgery Complications

Bariatric Surgery Complications
In-hospital bariatric surgery complication rates vary dramatically among the nation's hospitals, as per a research studyreleased recently by HealthGrades, the leading healthcare ratings company. The study of 86,520 bariatric-surgery procedures performed over the years 2002 through 2004 finds that a typical patient receiving the procedure in a five-star rated hospital would have, on average, a 66 percent lower chance of developing one or more major inhospital complications compared with a one-star rated hospital.

Based on the study, HealthGrades, for the first time, today posted quality ratings for hospitals in 17 states that perform bariatric surgery on its consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com. Hospitals received a five-, three- or one-star rating that reflected their complication rates for bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, obesity surgery and gastric-bypass surgery.

The HealthGrades study comes on the heels of a study published in July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which observed that four of every ten patients undergoing bariatric surgery develop complications within six months.

The percentage of U.S. adults who are obese has doubled in the last thirty years, reaching 30 percent as per the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The number of bariatric surgeries in America are increasing dramatically as well, with the volume growing 34 percent from 2002 to 2004 in the 17 states studied. Experts attribute a growing proportion of the nation's healthcare bill to overweight and obesity, reaching 9.1 percent of U.S. medical costs, or $78 billion, in the most recent study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 6, 2006, 4:32 AM CT

Children's Belly Fat Increases More Than 65 Percent

Children's Belly Fat Increases More Than 65 Percent
Abdominal obesity increased more than 65 percent among boys and almost 70 percent among girls between 1988 and 2004. The finding of growing girth is significant because abdominal obesity has emerged as a better predictor of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk than the more usually used Body Mass Index, a weight to height ratio that can sometimes be misleading.

As the first nationally representative study to document the increase in children's belly fat, the study in today's Pediatrics paints a bleak picture for these children who have a higher risk of heart disease, adult-onset diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The good news is that, for children and adolescents, the health effects are often reversible through improved lifestyle for weight loss.

"Kids, teens and adults who have early stages of atherosclerosis in their arteries can have a healthy cardiovascular system again," said Stephen Cook, M.D., an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and an author of the study about childhood abdominal obesity. "Elderly adults who have plaque build up have a much harder battle, particularly if the plaque has calcified".

Measuring waist circumference is not a "vital sign" normally taken in a visit to the doctor. A BMI is usually calculated at a well visit, but there are limitations to those measurements. A very muscular person may register a high BMI score, even if he is very healthy and has an average waist circumference. On the flip side, a sedentary child may not register a very high BMI score, but if he carries a lot of fat around his middle, he may be at a higher risk for health problems than other children with the same BMI score.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 4:53 AM CT

Media And Body-image

Media And Body-image
New research explores the relationship between so called "thin-ideal" images in the media and body-image issues among young women. Female undergraduates who viewed advertisements displaying ultra-thin women exhibited increases in body dissatisfaction, negative mood, levels of depression and lowered self-esteem. These findings were especially true for women who have negative views of their current body image and believe themselves to be overweight.

The study shows that women who possess these body image concerns are twice as likely to compare their own bodies to those of the thin models in the advertisements. They are also more likely to have those comparisons affect their self-worth, leading to feelings of depression, body dissatisfaction and preoccupation with diet and exercise. On the other hand, women who are content with their bodies did not show any effects from viewing thin-ideal advertisements.

"Women who already have low opinions of their physical appearance are at an even greater risk for negative effects from media images," says Gayle R. Bessenoff, Ph.D., author of the study. "Understanding who will compare to media ideals and when this comparison will take place can help further our understanding of the role of the media in the development of eating disorders".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 22, 2006, 10:57 PM CT

Excalia Combination Therapy To Treat Obesity

Excalia Combination Therapy To Treat Obesity
OREXIGENTM Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held clinical-stage neuroscience company developing novel strategic approaches to the therapy of obesity, today announced that ExcaliaTM, a combination of two centrally-acting medications intended to provide and sustain clinically important weight loss, demonstrated significant weight loss in a six month, double-blind, phase IIa clinical study. The magnitude of weight reduction exceeded that seen with placebo. The findings showed that patients completing the blinded 24-week phase lost on average 9.2% of their weight from baseline using Excalia in comparison to an average of 0.4% weight loss from baseline for patients using placebo. The study results further demonstrate that weight loss continued through an additional 24 week open-label period achieving an average weight loss of 12% from baseline by 48 weeks. These top line phase IIa data for Excalia were presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) in Boston.

"Excalia is designed to achieve an aggressive weight loss trajectory and then to delay the typical weight loss 'plateau' by offsetting one of the body's natural compensatory pathways. These phase II data suggest a level of efficacy that exceeded our expectations in relation to existing approaches," said Gary Tollefson, M.D., Ph.D., OREXIGEN president and CEO. "Excalia is designed to act on a specific reciprocally paired group of hypothalamic neurons that we believe will yield a clinically meaningful weight loss trajectory among significantly overweight individuals. We think that these positive data support our theoretical approach".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 8, 2006, 7:18 PM CT

Exercise For Older Adults

Exercise For Older Adults
For a number of elderly adults, a visit to the doctor is not complete without the bestowal of at least one prescription. What if, in addition to prescribing medications as necessary, physicians also prescribed exercise? Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD, a researcher in the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, and Heather Mernitz, PhD, now of the Nutrition and Cancer Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, propose using the familiar concept of a prescription to help physicians incorporate exercise recommendations into their routine practice. In the journal American Family Physician, McDermott and Mernitz provide clinicians with explicit guidelines for giving their older patients effective "exercise prescriptions."

Their motto for determining an exercise prescription is 'FITT-PRO':.
  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Type
  • Time
  • Progression


As per FITT-PRO principles, an exercise prescription must explicitly instruct the patient regarding what type of exercise to do, how often, how hard, and for how long. The exercises must also progress over time as the patient becomes more physically fit. McDermott and Mernitz caution that, as with medicine prescriptions, these exercise parameters must be personalized to suit each patient's health status and goals.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 4, 2006, 10:38 PM CT

Chocolate Chip Cookies Lower Cholesterol

Chocolate Chip Cookies Lower Cholesterol
Right Direction Chocolate Chip CookiesTM lower cholesterol and improve lipid subfraction profile, lowering the risk of heart disease, as per a published study in The Journal of Nutrition (October). The chocolate chip cookies, made with a combination of psyllium and plant sterols, are a tasty all-natural approach to reducing cardiovascular risk linked to cholesterol.

The American Heart Association estimates at least 50 percent of the American adult population has high cholesterol. The study revealed eating two Right Direction Cookies daily showed a ten percent decrease in LDL cholesterol as well as shifting the LDL particles toward a less atherogenic pattern.

Normal cholesterol levels are commonly linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but not always. Recent studies reveal small, dense LDL particles have been associated with increased formation of fatty substances and cholesterol buildup in the arteries, even for individuals with total cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dl.

The randomized, double blind study researched 33 healthy adults with moderately high cholesterol between the ages 3565 at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Participants were randomly assigned to the Right Direction Cookie group or the placebo cookie group. Two cookies per day were consumed for four weeks. After a three week washout period, subjects received the other cookies for an additional four weeks. At the end of each therapy period, two blood samples were drawn on different days (to control for day-to-day variability) and collected.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 4, 2006, 10:31 PM CT

Overweight Children At Increased Risk

Overweight Children At Increased Risk
Research published recently in Journal of the CardioMetabolic Syndrome (JCMS) presents data supporting that adult diseases, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea are now recognizable in childhood. The underlying link between them is a disorder of insulin resistance, which is worsened by childhood obesity. The annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed that about one-third of U.S. children today, about 25 million, are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.

One study in this special issue reports data on the effect of age and sex on cardiovascular risk in overweight children, aged 11 years and older. Results showed that hypertension and dyslipidemia in overweight children is high, with overweight males 11 years and older having a higher prevalence of these risk factors than females and younger males. This may explain the earlier appearance of cardiovascular disease in overweight adult males.

Scientists from Wisconsin, lead by Dr. David K. Murdock examined the effect of elevated body mass index in 247 healthy school children of which 28 percent of 2nd graders and 33 percent of 11th graders were overweight. Data from the study revealed that biomarkers of increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes were already present in the overweight children.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 3, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Obese smokers at higher risk of death

Obese smokers at higher risk of death
People who are both very obese and who smoke increase their risk of death by 3.5 to 5 times that of people of normal weight who never smoke, finds a study in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As per the study, 20 percent of obese adults in the United States smoke, which puts them at a higher risk of death caused by cancer and circulatory disease. The authors further observed that, in general, being a current smoker was a far stronger risk factor for cancer death than being obese.

"Smoking has been known as a very strong risk factor for a number of cancers, especially lung cancer, which is the most common site of cancer death," said lead author D. Michal Freedman, Ph.D., of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute.

The study surveyed more than 80,000 current and former radiologic technologists between the ages of 22 and 92 who completed a self-administered questionnaire in the period from 1983 to 1989. They all were followed through December 2002 and the number of deaths was reported.

The questionnaire collected information such as birth date, height, weight and smoking behavior. Participants' body mass indexes were calculated from their weight and height A BMI of 30 to 34.9 was considered obese, and more than 35 was very obese.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 24, 2006, 9:50 PM CT

Diabetes Not Obesity

Diabetes Not Obesity
Diabetes puts people who are at risk of developing critical illness and dying early, but obesity without diabetes does not. A study published recently in the open access journal Critical Care reveals that individuals suffering from diabetes are three times more at risk of developing critical illness and dying young than individuals who do not have diabetes. Obese individuals who do not have diabetes, by contrast, have the same risk of dying or of falling critically ill as non-obese patients who do not have diabetes. These results are surprising, as obesity is associated with diabetes. The authors of the study conclude that the relationship between obesity, diabetes and critical illness is complex and that obesity, per se, does not predict poor outcomes.

Katarina Slynkova and his colleagues from the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital collaborated with colleagues from Emory University School of Medicine to analyse data from 15,408 subjects aged 44 to 66, coming from four different US communities, who had originally been studied between 1986 and 1989. The authors analysed the subjects' body mass index (BMI), presence of diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) and the subjects' history of critical illness (acute organ failure) and mortality within 3 years.

Slynkova et al.'s results show that, in the absence of diabetes, obese individuals do not have an increased risk of suffering from acute organ failure, and of dying from acute organ failure, than non-obese individuals. By contrast, patients with diabetes are three times more likely to become critically ill with acute organ failure and they are three times more likely to die from acute organ failure, or from any cause, than patients who do not have diabetes, regardless of their BMI. Slynkova et al. conclude that diabetes is a strong independent predictor of acute organ failure and subsequent death, or death from any cause.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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