Sunday, November 25, 2012
Medwire (11/20, Albert) reports that "carriers of a variant of the angiotensin II receptor, type 2 (AGTR2) gene have increased risk for preeclampsia during pregnancy if they are also overweight or obese," according to a study published online Nov. 5 in the journal Placenta. Researchers found "an association...between the AGTR2 SNP C4599A (rs11091046) and preeclampsia, although it was not statistically significant in the cohort overall." But, "when the body mass index (BMI) of the mothers was taken into account, there was a significant 2.1-fold increased risk for preeclampsia for mothers with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or above (overweight) if they had the AA genotype for C4599A, relative to those with the CC genotype."
HealthDay (11/20, Preidt) reports, "Decreased kidney function leads to declines in thinking and memory," according to a study published Nov. 19 in the journal Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation. After looking "at changes in kidney function and mental skills for five years in nearly 600 people," researchers found that "the greater the decrease in a person's kidney function during that time, the greater their decline in overall intellectual abilities, particularly abstract reasoning and verbal memory."
The AP (11/16, Stobbe) reports, "The nation's diabetes problem is getting worse, and the biggest jump over 15 years was in Oklahoma," according to a report published Nov. 16 in the Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report. "The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled, and Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama also saw dramatic increases since 1995, the study showed. The South's growing weight problem is the main explanation, said Linda Geiss, lead author of the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Bloomberg News (11/15, Cortez) reports that people with diabetes "made up six percent or more of the population in all 50 states in 2010, an increase from just three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in 1995, according to the" CDC report. "Rates are increasing in tandem with obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions as physical activity levels plunge and daily calorie counts soar, according to the CDC." The report's "findings have health and economic implications as the number of Americans with diabetes is expected to continue climbing unless effective prevention and treatment efforts are established, Ann Albright, director of the CDC's division of diabetes translation, said."
CQ (11/15, Subscription Publication) reported that after using "data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey of health behaviors and conditions of US adults aged 18 and older," CDC researchers "saw the largest increase in diagnosed diabetes prevalence in the South, followed by the West, Midwest, and Northeast," said Geiss "in a release announcing the findings. 'These data also reinforce findings from previous studies, which indicate that the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is highest in the southern and Appalachian states,'" she noted.
The CNN (11/15, Hagan) "The Chart" blog reports that the majority of the diabetes cases are type 2, a major risk factor for which is obesity.
HealthDay (11/16, Reinberg) reports, "Some states -- especially in the South -- have fared much worse than others, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said. Eighteen states saw their rates of diabetes cases double during the 15-year period covered by the study, and in 42 states the rate jumped by 50 percent." HealthDay quotes Geiss as saying, "We know diabetes has been increasing for decades, but to see 18 states having an increase of 100 percent was shocking."
Focusing on the states at the top and at the bottom of the list, MedPage Today (11/16, Fiore) reports, "Specifically, prevalence was highest (above 10%) in Alabama, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, and was lowest (below 7%) in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Wyoming," the report found. "Median percentage increases over the 15-year period by region were also highest in the South, at 104.2%. In the other three regions, the median increases were 62.2% in the Northeast, 66.7% in the Midwest, and 82.5% in the West." Also covering the story are Reuters (11/16, Steenhuysen) and AFP (11/16).
The Los Angeles Times (11/14, Morin) reports, "Soccer players who repeatedly strike the ball with their heads may be causing measurable damage to their brains, even if they never suffer a concussion, according to a" research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "By examining brain scans of a dozen professional soccer players from Germany, researchers found a pattern of damage that strongly resembled that of patients with mild traumatic brain injury [TBI]."
The Time (11/13, Sifferlin) "Healthland" blog reports, "In the study, the researchers compared brain scans of 12 male soccer players from German elite-level soccer clubs who had not experienced a concussion, to brain scans of 11 competitive swimmers who had similarly never experienced repetitive brain trauma." Investigators "used high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which looks at the brain microscopically and is much more effective at catching white matter changes than the standard MRI." The study authors "found surprising alterations in the white matter that were 'consistent with findings observed in patients with mild TBI, and suggesting possible demyelination [nerve disorder].'"
HealthDay (11/14, Gordon) reports that the study's senior author "noted that the researchers don't know what caused the changes in the white matter of the soccer players, only that there were changes. 'It could be from heading the ball, or due to impact of hitting other players or from sudden acceleration,' she said."
MedPage Today (11/14, Neale) reports, "As an alternate explanation," the study authors "noted that 'soccer players showed increased axial diffusivity in the absence of increased radial diffusivity limited to the corpus callosum, possibly resulting from specialized training or neuroinflammation.'"
USA Today (11/13, Painter, Szabo) reports that antibiotic use in the US is declining albeit at widely varying rates and "most slowly in states that use the drugs the most," where resistance is becoming a problem, according to an analysis released by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. Ramanan Laxminarayan, a research director at the center said that "people in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana took about twice as many antibiotics as people in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington in 2010." Moreover, he noted that a significant portion of the overuse is for viral illnesses that antibiotics cannot treat, such as "colds, flu and sore throats." The center also released "new data showing that urinary tract infections have became more resistant to antibiotics and that the problem is worst" in the Southeast, where use "is highest." Data indicate UTIs "were 30% more likely to resist antibiotic treatment in 2010 than in 1999," Laxminarayan noted.
Survey: Many Americans misusing antibiotics. CQ (11/13, McGlade, Subscription Publication) reports that the results from a Pew Health Group poll released Tuesday showed that "many participants in the study's focus groups admitted to often disregarding doctors' orders to finish their whole prescriptions." Moreover, only "47 percent of respondents understood that taking unnecessary antibiotics would pose a health risk to others even though 79 percent knew that taking unneeded antibiotics could harm their own health." The poll, which was "conducted in partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pew Charitable Trusts, charted 1,004 adults' opinions from Sept. 10 through Sept. 16 about antibiotic effectiveness." The results also include "findings from interviews conducted during two focus groups meetings in Chicago on Oct. 9."
Children's antibiotics-use research highlighted. In the New York Times (11/13) "Well" blog, Perri Klass, MD, discusses new research on antibiotics, in particular, their effect on children and the growing awareness that it's important "to use them judiciously." She cites a study published earlier this year in Pediatrics, which found that the "rate at which antibiotics were dispensed to the youngest group (3 to 24 months) had decreased 24 percent by 2008-9 from 2000-1." That decline was "largely driven by a declining rate of diagnosis of ear infections." Dr. Klass also cites a study in "last month's issue of the journal Pediatrics," which found a link between "childhood antibiotic treatment and the later development of inflammatory bowel disease," and she notes that a recentstudy in the International Journal of Obesity, found that children "treated with antibiotics when very young (under 6 months) showed increased weight gain by a year of age, and were 22 percent more likely to be overweight at age 3."
In a 2,200+ word article, the Washington Post (11/13, Sharpe) reports that "both the iTunes store and the Google Play store are riddled with health apps that experts say do not work and in some cases could even endanger people." The report said that "many of these apps do not follow established medical guidelines, and few have been tested through the sort of clinical research that is standard for less new-fangled treatments sold by other means, a probe by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found." According to global market research firm Research2Guidance, almost 247 million mobile phone users are expected to download a health app. The Post said that "in an examination of 1,500 health apps that cost money and have been available since June 2011, the center found that more than one out of five claims to treat or cure medical problems."
The New York Times (11/13, Bakalar) "Well" blog reports that "a study published on Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that fasting is probably unnecessary" prior to "a lipid profile, the blood test for cholesterol, lipoproteins and triglycerides."
Reuters (11/13, Pittman) reports that investigators analyzed results from the cholesterol tests of more than 200,000 patients.
The Boston Globe (11/13) "Daily Dose" blog reports that the researchers "found that total cholesterol levels and levels of high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, a marker of good heart health, remain fairly steady regardless of whether a person eats within an hour of the test or abstains from eating for up to 16 hours beforehand." The investigators also found that "neglecting to fast can...cause variations in the 'bad' low-density lipoprotein levels...of up to 10 percent." Meanwhile, "eating right before a cholesterol test can also cause triglyceride levels" to increase "by as much as 20 percent above fasting levels."
Forbes (11/13, Husten) reports, "In an accompanying editorial , J. Michael Gaziano writes that 'the incremental gain in information of a fasting profile is exceedingly small for total and HDL cholesterol values and likely does not offset the logistic impositions placed on our patients, the laboratories, and our ability to provide timely counseling to our patients. This, in my opinion, tips the balance toward relying on nonfasting lipid profiles as the preferred practice.'"
MedPage Today (11/13, Kaiser) points out that "the finding is not new and corroborates results from smaller observational studies."
HealthDay (11/13, Reinberg) reports, "'For routine screening, fasting for cholesterol is largely unnecessary,' because it has only a slight effect on test results, said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Naugler, assistant professor of clinical pathology at the University of Calgary, in Canada." According to Naugler, "Eliminating fasting as a general requirement for cholesterol testing could greatly increase convenience for patients without significantly altering test results."
WebMD (11/13, Goodman) reports, "Researchers say the small differences noted in the study may matter for some, including those who are taking specific medications to lower their cholesterol or triglycerides. Those patients may still need fasting tests."
MedPage Today (11/12, Walsh) reports, "Patients with scleroderma who were taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors when they developed a renal crisis had twice the mortality rate at one year compared with patients not receiving those drugs, a researcher reported" at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting. Investigators found that, "on an unadjusted analysis, the hazard ratio for death among patients who had previously used ACE inhibitors was 1.56 (CI 0.70 to 3.47) at 12 months post-crisis compared with non-users." However, "after adjustment for baseline prednisone dose, prior exposure to ACE inhibitors was associated with more than doubling of the risk of death within the year after the renal crisis (HR 2.42, 95% CI 1.02 to 5.75, P=0.046)."
On its website, the CBS News (11/8, Jaslow) reports that the American Heart Association is warning consumer to "beware of the 'salty six,'" which according to the AHA, "consist of common foods in Americans' diets that are packed with excess sodium." Conversely, the "list of top culprits doesn't even include snack foods," such as pretzels and chips.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune (11/8, Stoxen) notes that the AHA says the "Salty Six" foods are "loaded with excess sodium," can increase the "risk for heart disease and stroke," and should be "used sparingly." They are: Breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches.
According to WebMD (11/8, Warner), the "Salty Six" was listed in a new report from the AHA and the American Stroke Association. The study authors "say the average American takes in about 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, more than twice the AHA's recommended limit of 1,500 mg." However, only a small portion of that excess sodium "comes from the salt shaker. Experts say more than 75% of people's salt comes from eating processed or restaurant foods."