Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moms-to-be can pass on asthma to baby

MONTREAL (UPI) -- Expectant mothers, who have asthma but are not treated during pregnancy, heighten the risk of their babies having asthma, Canadian researchers said. Lead author Dr. Lucie Blais, a professor at the Universite de Montreal and researcher at the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal and colleagues at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center examined a decade of health records for 8,226 children -- from birth to age 10 -- born to asthmatic mothers. Parents of these children were also mailed questionnaires requesting additional facts concerning familial medical history, lifestyle habits and environment. The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, found 32.6 percent of children born to mothers who neglected to treat their asthma during pregnancy developed the respiratory illness themselves. "Uncontrolled maternal asthma during pregnancy could trigger a transient yet important reaction in the fetus that affects lung development and could subsequently increase the likelihood of a baby developing asthma in later childhood," Blais said in a statement. "It is of great importance for physicians to adequately treat asthmatic mothers during pregnancy, not only for the favorable outcome of pregnancy but also for the benefit of the child."
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flexibility test may indicate heart risk

DENTON, Texas (UPI) -- Whether someone can reach his or her toes from a sitting position on the floor may be an indicator of heart risk, U.S. and Japanese researchers said. Among people age 40 and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease and the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke, researchers said. Study author Kenta Yamamoto, of the University of North Texas and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan, and colleagues in Japan said it is not known why arterial flexibility would be related to the flexibility of the body in middle age and older people. However, the study authors said that one possibility is that stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening. "Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated," Yamamoto said in a statement. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening." The findings are published in the American Journal of Physiology.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, October 16, 2009

CDC director stresses H1N1 vaccine safety

ATLANTA (UPI) -- The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news briefing in Atlanta Tuesday, said the H1N1 flu vaccine is safe and effective. "The (H1N1) flu vaccine is made as flu vaccine is made each year. By the same companies. In the same production facilities. With the same procedures. With the same safety, safeguards," Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters during a telephone briefing. "We have had literally hundreds of millions of people vaccinated against flu with flu vaccine made in this way. That enables us to have a high degree of confidence in the safety of the vaccine. It has an excellent safety record," he said. Frieden said the CDC "wished we had the vaccine earlier" but current science doesn't allow for production of the vaccine in much less than six months "It would have been great to have had it back in April or May," he said. He acknowledged that people have concerns about vaccinations and said that was "understandable" but he said the flu vaccine is "tried and true ... very effective." Vaccine problems that could occur would likely occur at a very low rate -- 1 per 100,000, Frieden said. "It would take some time to know there was a problem," he said. "On the other hand, there's no reason to think there would be more problem with this vaccine than with the vaccine each year."
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ethnic background, diabetes risk linked

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (UPI) -- Fat and muscle mass -- potentially determined by a person's ethnic background -- may contribute to diabetes risk, Canadian researchers said. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, involving 828 men and women of four ethnic groups -- Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian origin. It found South Asians had higher fat mass, lower muscle mass and greater insulin levels, placing them at increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes. "We know certain ethnic backgrounds show significant differences in amounts of body fat and lean mass," lead author Scott Lear of the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver said in a statement. "What we didn't know, until now, is if these differences are related to insulin levels and insulin resistance, and therefore lead to an increased risk for diabetes. Our findings indicate they are." In populations at increased risk for diabetes, interventions that reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass, such as caloric restriction and regular exercise, should be investigated, Lear said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Diabetic herbal remedies need more study

SYDNEY (UPI) -- There is positive evidence Chinese herbal medicines may prevent diabetes in those at high risk, an Australian review says, but more study is needed. The Cochrane review of 16 studies finds combining herbal medicines with lifestyle changes is twice as effective as lifestyle changes alone at normalizing patients' blood sugar levels. However, the researchers concluded there was not enough hard scientific evidence to recommend their use. "Our results suggest that some Chinese herbal medicines can help to prevent diabetes, but we really need more research before we can confidently say that these treatments work," lead researcher Suzanne Grant of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, says in a statement. "The real value of the study is as guidance for further trials. We need to see more trials that make comparisons with placebos and other types of drugs, and better reporting on the outcomes of these trials." The clinical trials included 1,391 people who received 15 different herbal formulations. Those given the herbal formulations were less likely to develop full blown diabetes during the study period. Trials lasted from one month to two years and no adverse effects were reported. The finding is published in the Cochrane Library.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lifelong Health: Study Finds Bad Habits Early in Life Curtail Longevity

For many of my baby boomer friends and contemporaries, midlife brings an increased attention on health. Sandwiched between aging parents and grown-up children, most of us are acutely aware of the value of preventing disease and staving off chronic illness, which can often lead to major lifestyle changes such as finally quitting smoking, beginning an exercise routine or following a heart-healthy diet. Unfortunately, for those age-50-plus adults with particularly unhealthy habits, new research indicates that changing high-risk behaviors later in life offers little benefit. In an important study recently released in the British Medical Journal, researchers evaluated death rates in more than 19,000 middle-aged men who were followed for four decades. The researchers found that those who smoked, had high blood pressure and an elevated cholesterol at age 50 died an average of 10 to 15 years earlier than those without these risk factors. A high risk of heart disease also means an increased incidence of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, it was not surprising that risk of death from causes other than heart disease was two to three times higher in the high-risk population. Of greater interest, perhaps, was that a large fraction of the age-50-plus population ultimately stopped smoking, lowered their cholesterol and treated high blood pressure, and yet their life expectancy was not improved. In other words, the die is cast at age 50. The message is clear: Good health habits must begin early. Unfortunately, most young adults feel invincible, unable to grasp the long-term impact of unhealthy habits. By the time a medical problem arises, it may be too late. Consider the case of heart disease as a window into our future health challenges. In the last 50 years, educational campaigns against high-risk factors such as smoking, saturated fat and high salt intake contributed to a gradual decrease in the total incidence of heart attack and vascular disease. Unfortunately, recent evidence indicates this trend appears to be reversing. Even worse, the situation seems to be dire in the population under age 50. There are some important reversible factors that lead to heart attacks: cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, significant obesity and diabetes. In a paper just published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the incidence of smoking still appears to be decreasing, but the percentage of the population with hypertension, diabetes and obesity is steadily increasing. Between 1971 and 1974, 4.4 percent of adults had none of the preventable risk factors for heart disease. From 1976 to 1980, this number increased to 5.7 percent, and rose to 10.5 percent between the years 1988 and 1994. Sadly, between 1999 and 2004, the positive trend reversed and only 7.5 percent of the population had no risk factors for heart disease. Although the most current statistics for American health risks are not yet available, the situation appears to be worsening. It is very likely that the prevalence of heart attacks and vascular disease will only increase in the future. This is truly a turning point for the American population. Our health care system must include a far greater focus on prevention. Waiting until midlife to make the important lifestyle changes necessary for long-term health is simply irresponsible. What's more, ignoring the health of our children and grandchildren is a prescription for disaster. All of this information clearly shows that Americans need to change the way we approach health. Good nutrition and increased physical activity must begin in childhood and remain a lifelong commitment. Efforts for health promotion must be addressed at every age and stage in life. From age 20 onward, measure your blood pressure at least twice a year. And at age 30 have a cholesterol screening for the first time. If any problems are identified, take them seriously and assure appropriate treatment. Finally, every American at any age should quit smoking. On the surface, the future seems so bright. We remain the wealthiest and most pampered nation in the world, and yet our collective health is dwindling. The huge advances made in life expectancy throughout the 20th century may not continue into the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is your responsibility to do everything possible to promote health and prevent disease. Do not wait until it's too late.

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. More information is available at www.DrDavidHealth.com.
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Your Health: Dietary Supplement May Stall Progression of Parkinson's Disease

An over-the-counter dietary supplement may help slow the progression of Parkinson's Disease, a degenerative neurological disorder marked by tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, impaired balance and coordination, and slowing of movements. The supplement, called coenzyme Q10, is a vitamin-like compound with powerful antioxidant properties that is vital for the proper function of virtually every cell in the human body. Although it is produced naturally by the body, levels typically dwindle with age. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that low levels of coenzyme Q10 play an important role in many age-related diseases. The results of several recent studies show that individuals with Parkinson's have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to those without the disorder. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can help boost levels in the body and protect the specific area of the brain damaged by the disease. In a 16-month clinical trial, researchers evaluated the effects of coenzyme Q10 in 80 individuals with early-stage Parkinson's disease. Reporting in the medical journal Archives of Neurology, the scientists noted the supplement was safe and well tolerated in daily doses ranging from 300 mg to 1,200 mg. At doses of 1,200 mg per day, individuals with Parkinson's experienced significantly less functional decline and were better able to carry out activities of daily life, such as feeding and dressing themselves, compared to those treated with a placebo pill. These findings are particularly important, since few treatment options are available and, to date, no prescription drugs have been found effective in slowing the natural course of the disease. Coenzyme Q10 may benefit individuals with other neurological disorders. In preliminary trials, the dietary supplement was found to slow the progression of dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease. In individuals with migraines, coenzyme Q10 has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, especially when taken daily for a period of at least three months. In a study published in the medical journal Cephalgia, researchers found that daily doses of 150 mg coenzyme Q10 reduced migraine symptoms by half in more than 60 percent of individuals treated. Coenzyme Q10 appears to be just as beneficial for the cardiovascular system as it is for the brain. The supplement is often recommended for individuals who have suffered a heart attack and for those diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The results of several clinical trials have demonstrated that daily doses of 100 mg to 200 mg can improve cardiac function and reduce the risk of future heart attacks in these patients. For individuals who suffer from heart-related chest pain known as angina pectoris, supplementation appears to improve exercise tolerance and to protect the heart from further damage. Numerous studies have proven coenzyme Q10 beneficial in the treatment of hypertension. Daily doses of the supplement have been found to produce measurable reductions in blood pressure, similar to the reductions achieved with some prescription medications. Interest in coenzyme Q10 as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer arose after scientists discovered low blood levels of the substance in individuals suffering from cancers of the breast, lung and pancreas. Preliminary research indicates the supplement may be beneficial in the treatment of these cancers, especially when combined with other therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation. Use of the supplement also has been found beneficial in the treatment of gum disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, male infertility and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. While aging and poor nutrition are believed to be the most common cause of low blood levels of coenzyme Q10, there is evidence that certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, interfere with the body's ability to produce the substance. More research is needed to determine whether coenzyme Q10 supplementation should be routinely recommended for individuals taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs. It is possible to modestly boost your intake -- and your blood levels -- of coenzyme Q10 without taking a handful of pills. Good food sources of the substance include meat, poultry and fish, as well as nuts and canola oil. To obtain a therapeutic dose of coenzyme Q10, you'll probably need a dietary supplement, which you can get without a prescription at pharmacies and health food stores. Although most adults can safely take the nutritional supplement, it's wise to consult your doctor first. Taking coenzyme Q10 won't keep you from aging, but it may help protect you from many age-related diseases.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Website is www.rallieonhealth.com. She has also created www.MommyMDGuides.com, which features the advice of mommy MDs from top-notch hospitals, medical centers and universities around the country. To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Los gobiernos de México, Estados Unidos y Canadá acordaron fortalecer la colaboración para responder a la propagación del virus de influenza A(H1N1).Según un comunicado, las administraciones de los respectivos países coincidieron en mejorar la coordinación intersectorial, como un paso definitivo para construir una solución continental al problema de la epidemia.También resaltaron que el diálogo y la transparencia son el camino para responder a los retos de salud generados por el virus, minimizando al mismo tiempo el impacto negativo de la enfermedad en la seguridad y prosperidad de los tres países.La Secretaría de Gobernación indicó que los objetivos de la reunión se centraron en un recuento de los esfuerzos realizados por los tres países hasta la fecha.Compartieron así las lecciones aprendidas durante el segundo trimestre del año y discutieron las estrategias para la inminente segunda ola del virus A(H1N1) y otras enfermedades.

Monday, October 5, 2009


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