Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Nutrition and Exercise Guidelines For Men's Health

(StatePoint) We all know that eating right and exercising are good for us. But exactly what to eat and how much to exercise are details that seem to be constantly changing, as researchers conduct new studies and new scientific discoveries are made.

For instance, one day we're told that tomatoes are critical for men's health -- specifically prostate health -- and the next day broccoli and pomegranate juice top the list.

Clarity has now arrived on critical men's health issues. The latest science-based guidelines on nutrition and exercise as they relate to prostate health and cancer prevention have just been released by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).

"New research underscores the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed sugars and refined carbohydrates. It also calls for approximately 30 minutes of daily exercise," says Howard Soule, chief scientist for the PCF. "We've also learned that it's not just what we eat, but how we cook it that can make a difference. For example, when meat is cooked to the point of charring it creates a substance that could cause prostate cancer."

Here are some highlights from the latest guidelines for men's health, according to "Nutrition, Exercise and Prostate Cancer," a new publication issued by the PCF:

* Being fat can be worse for you than once thought. We all know that being overweight can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Now comes word that excess fat -- especially around your middle -- can produce substances that foster cancer growth.

* Getting nutrients from fruits and vegetables is more healthful than getting the same nutrients from processed foods or vitamin supplements. There are many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances in colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and spices -- nearly all of which are absent from processed foods that rely on sugar, salt, and fat for flavor. Focus your diet on fresh produce, ocean-caught fish, and whole grains.

* Drinking beverages such as pomegranate juice and green and black tea can increase antioxidant levels. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, wasabi mustard, and horseradish all contain a substance that can "sponge up" reactive oxygen molecules before they form free radicals that can mutate the genetic make-up of prostate cells.

* Overcooking meat at high temperatures produces a cancer-causing substance that has been shown to cause prostate cancer. In addition, charbroiling red meat or chicken with its skin intact, produces another set of carcinogens. Use alternate cooking methods, such as steaming or baking instead of charbroiling or pan-frying. When grilling, marinate meat and turn it frequently to reduce charring.

* Excess sugar doesn't just make you fat -- it can be a prime energy source for cancers. It also causes your body to produce more insulin which can lead to diabetes and even prostate cancer.

* Exercise 30 minutes daily, or at a minimum 30 minutes three times a week. Avoiding the muscle loss common with aging, inactivity, and hormonal therapies and/or gaining muscle through increased protein intake and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, giving you more energy and better health.

For more details on the latest guidelines for prostate health, visit www.pcf.org, where you can download or order the new guide, "Nutrition, Exercise and Prostate Cancer."

However, changing dietary patterns and exercise habits is not easy. You need to make time and commit at a deep level.

For more information on men's health and prostate cancer, visit www.pcf.org.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How To Hold A Family Fire Drill

(SPM Wire) Most Americans haven't taken any home fire safety actions, according to the Home Safety Council (HSC).

"With less than three minutes to escape if a fire occurs, every home needs a well-rehearsed escape plan and working smoke alarms," said Meri-K Appy, HSC president.

Make a fire escape plan with every family member. Sketch a map of your home, including rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms.

Make sure windows and doorways open and unlock easily from the inside, without keys. Ensure stairs and doorways aren't blocked.

If you have security bars on doors and windows, have a "quick-release" latch on the inside.

Find two ways out of every room: the door and maybe the window. Upstairs windows might require escape ladders. If so, make them part of your drill. Select two escape routes from each room and mark them clearly on plans.

Children and many older adults will need help escaping fires. Plan for this.

Agree on a place to meet in front of your home. Use a portable or neighbor's phone to call 911. Once outside, don't go back inside for anything.

Make copies of the plan sketch and post them in each room until everyone becomes familiar with them.

Hold fire drills frequently. Once you've mastered the escape plan, hold a drill at night to test ability to waken and respond to the smoke alarm.

For more tips, visit MySafeHome.org.


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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Protect Your Kids' Hearts: Summer Activity Can Trigger Genetic Disorder, Say Results for Life, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

/PRNewswire / -- Before your kids are out the schoolroom door and off to the pool or baseball field this summer, take a few preventive steps to help protect their hearts.

Prevention may be as simple as making sure children eat nutritious meals, exercise, stay away from cigarettes and have check-ups.

Be aware that for some children who have an inherited heart disorder known as Long QT Syndrome, research shows that typical summer activities can trigger sudden cardiac arrest. Genetic tests can identify Long QT Syndrome and help physicians manage the condition.

The most common form of Long QT is triggered by strenuous exercise, especially swimming.

The condition often causes the tragic deaths of seemingly healthy young athletes who collapse on the playing field. More than 3,500 children and young adults die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, most deaths can be prevented if Long QT Syndrome is identified early -- often through a genetic test -- and treated. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association and the American Clinical Laboratory Association's Results for Life Educational Campaign offer the following tips.

Test for Long QT Syndrome if your child has:

-- A family history of Long QT Syndrome or sudden, unexplained death of a
family member before age 40. If one person in your family is
identified with Long QT Syndrome, your entire family should be tested.
-- Fainting episodes during or just after physical activity.
-- Fainting as a result of excitement, distress or a sudden startle.
-- Consistent or unusual chest pain and/or shortness of breath during
exercise.


A physician will test for Long QT Syndrome by doing an electrocardiogram (ECG), often followed by a genetic test.

"The genetic test can be an important component to diagnosing Long QT Syndrome. In most cases, doctors can't tell for certain if a patient has the genetic disorder by just doing a clinical examination," says Alan Mertz, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association and the Results for Life campaign. "Research has shown that a genetic test will identify additional individuals with possible Long QT Syndrome, compared to a clinical diagnosis alone."

Medications known as beta-blockers help prevent sudden cardiac arrest in most people. Pacemakers or automatic defibrillators are used in others.

Parents who live with children who are vulnerable to sudden cardiac arrest should:

-- Learn CPR and check that lifeguards or coaches know CPR.
-- Make sure an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is on-site at the
playing field, pool, or wherever children exercise.


Chris Chiames, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Executive Director, has Long QT Syndrome, as do his two daughters. The girls had a genetic test as toddlers. "As parents, we try to balance having fun with taking heart-health precautions," he says. "Our kids never swim alone. My wife or I always accompany our children to the swimming pool. We make sure the lifeguard is CPR trained and that an AED is on site."

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stay on Par this Golf Season, Injury Free

/PRNewswire / -- Swinging the club on the open green, hitting the perfect shot and playing in the warm sun are just a few things golfers love about hitting the links. Golfing can be a treat for both the mind and body. However, an injury to the bones, muscles or joints can cast a big shadow over the day. That is why the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends following the proper techniques to prevent golf-related injuries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
-- There were more than 103,000 golf-related injuries treated in doctors'
offices, clinics and emergency rooms in 2007, which incurred a total
cost of approximately $2.4 billion in medical, work-loss, pain and
suffering, and legal fees.

-- Golfers most often suffer from hand tenderness or numbness; shoulder,
back and knee pain; golfer's elbow; and wrist injuries, such as
tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

"People often think of golf as a relatively safe, low-injury game," said orthopaedic surgeon Jon B. Tucker, M.D., and spokesperson for the AAOS. "Golfers -- especially beginners, who haven't learned proper techniques yet -- are more susceptible to injuries from overuse and poor mechanics. It's important for golfers to regularly participate in a muscle conditioning program to reduce the risk of common golf injuries."

Because orthopaedic surgeons not only treat, but try to prevent injuries of the bones, joints and muscles, the AAOS offers the following tips to help prevent golfing injuries:

-- Newer golfers should take lessons and begin participating in the sport
gradually.
-- Practice on real turf instead of rubber mats, when possible.
-- Dress for comfort and protection from the elements. Make sure to wear
the appropriate golf shoes: ones with short cleats are best.
-- Do not hunch over the ball too much; it may predispose you to neck
strain and rotator cuff tendinitis.
-- Avoid golfer's elbow -- which is caused by a strain of the muscles in
the inside of the forearm - by performing wrist and forearm stretching
exercises and not overemphasizing your wrists when swinging.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Educational Tool for Understanding UC Flares

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting half a million people in the United States, yet many patients don't always understand how to recognize or treat the symptoms associated with the disease.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the lining of the rectum and colon. The disease is marked by unpredictable "flares" when the inflammation causing the disease state spikes, causing stomach pain and bloody diarrhea. Up to 80 percent of UC patients suffer from flares. This highlights the need for patient, physician, and caregiver information.(1)

To provide that information, an educational brochure titled, Managing Flares and other IBD Symptoms, is now available from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), made possible by an educational grant from Alaven Pharmaceutical LLC, makers of the topical UC flare treatment, ROWASA Kit* (mesalamine rectal suspension enema).

The brochure further defines the symptoms of flare-ups for both Crohn's** disease and UC and includes information on diet and lifestyle, the treatment options for overall maintenance of the diseases and flares specifically, questions patients should ask their doctor when flares occur and a flare symptom tracker.(2)

"We've learned from patients and physicians that there is a need for outreach about what people living with inflammatory bowel diseases should know about flares," said Dave Riccio, Product Manager, Alaven Pharmaceutical. "Working with the CCFA to provide patients with another tool to fight against UC flares will help educate them on how to effectively manage their disease and treat unwanted flare symptoms when they strike."

Gastroenterologists interested in providing the flare brochure to UC patients may request copies at www.flarefighter.com.

The brochure will also be made available to CCFA patient chapters across the country and can be downloaded at www.ccfa.org or via www.RowasaKit.com. Patients experiencing flares and who would like additional support services may also visit the CCFA's community website at www.ccfacommunity.org.

ROWASA is indicated for the treatment of active mild to moderate distal ulcerative colitis, proctosigmoiditis, or proctitis.

Full Prescribing Information available: www.ROWASAKit.com.

*Wipe is optional and not a required part of treatment

**ROWASA is not indicated for the treatment of Crohn's Disease.


(1) Tindall WN, Boltri JM, Wihelm SM. Mild-to-Moderate Ulcerative Colitis: Your role in patient compliance and health care costs. JMCP. 2007;13(7): S1-S15.

(2) Managing Flares and Other IBD Symptoms. CCFA. April 2009.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Experts Say Recommended Daily Dosage for Vitamin D is 'Grossly Inadequate'

/PRNewswire / -- Current recommendations for Vitamin D were called "grossly inadequate" today at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress.

"National recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board are 400 to 600 International Units (IU) a day," Neil Binkley, MD, an Associate Professor in Geriatrics and Endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin said. "That's simply not enough."

"Experts recommend somewhere between 1500 to 2600 IU daily," Dr. Binkley said. "It's considered a very safe vitamin. One would need daily doses of 40,000 IU or higher before seeing negative side effects."

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, but Binkley discussed its role in improving muscle function.

"One of the primary killers among older adults is falls," Binkley said. A sufficient amount of Vitamin D not only enhances bone strength but also improves muscle function thereby reducing the risk of fractures."

Vitamin D receptors have been discovered in many tissues throughout the body. "There's a lot that is unknown about vitamin D right now," Dr. Binkley said. "But there is one certainty - its importance is widespread."

The ubiquitous effects of the "sunshine vitamin" are demonstrated by research studies associating lower circulating vitamin D levels with cancer, type 1 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Although young people are perfectly capable of producing vitamin D in their skin after brief exposure to sunlight (10-15 minutes of UVB ray exposure per day), Americans often avoid sun exposure or utilize sunscreen. Additionally, older adults have less ability to produce vitamin D in the skin and generally require vitamin D supplementation.

"Nearly 40% of our endocrinology clinic patients over the age of 50 have inadequate vitamin D levels," R. Mack Harrell, MD with Broward Health in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, said. "We used to think that sunscreen utilization was the main cause, but the problem is clearly more complicated than that."

As Vitamin D's importance comes into focus, questions and confusion remain about different versions of the vitamin.

There are two types of Vitamin D: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 comes from plant life, while D3 is derived from animals. Binkley recommends checking the labels when buying Vitamin D, because existing data indicates that D3 may be more effective.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Georgia Observes National Older Americans Month

There is a growing population of older adults in Georgia and throughout the nation who have a wealth of experience and knowledge who deserve our recognition and respect. A good time to show these individuals how much we care is during National Older Americans Month in May. This year’s theme is “Living Today for a Better Tomorrow.” The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) Division of Aging Services (DAS) and the Aging Network urge everyone to honor older adults this month by taking time to honor their life experiences and invaluable contributions.

Georgia has the ninth fastest-growing 60-plus population and the 18th fastest-growing 85-plus population in the United States. The number of Georgians aged 60 years and older is estimated to have increased 62.5 percent between 1990 and 2010. Those 85 years and older are by far the fastest growing age group; their numbers are expected to increase by 114.6 percent by 2010.

“As the adult population gets older, there will be greater demands for resources to address health and long-term care challenges,” said Maria Greene, director of the Division of Aging Services. “We administer an array of cost-effective, community-based services statewide for older Georgians and adults with disabilities through our Aging Network and other agency partners.”

DAS provides in-home services, health promotion, senior employment, wellness services, benefits and resource counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and others. DAS is also responsible for investigation and protective services for vulnerable adults through Adult Protective Services (APS). To report suspected cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, call APS toll-free at 1-888-774-0152 or 404-657-5250 in metro Atlanta.

For information on aging services in your local community, call the Division of Aging Services toll-free at 1-866-55-Aging (1-866-552-4464).

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The National Council on Aging and CVS/pharmacy Educate Georgia Seniors about Medication Management and Ways to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

/PRNewswire/ -- Eight out of ten older Americans have at least one chronic health problem, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. According to CVS/pharmacy, fifty percent of Medicare Part D participants take an average of eight or more prescriptions regularly. With increased use of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter treatments, comes increased risk of adverse drug interactions and increased costs.

To address this important issue, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and CVS/pharmacy are bringing the Pack Your Bag(TM) medication consultation program to the Atlanta region. The program encourages seniors to pack a bag with medications they use, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements such as vitamins for a comprehensive review in one-on-one consultations with a local CVS pharmacist. The program also includes a presentation by the pharmacist on improving health through medication compliance and advice on identifying ways to save money on medications.

A Pack Your Bag program is being held today at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia and will provide over 100 seniors with one-on-one medication consultations with CVS pharmacists. This event is just one of many Pack Your Bag events that will be taking place throughout Georgia in the coming months.

"The Lou Walker Senior Center has been participating in the Pack Your Bag program since its inception in 2008," said Darryl Blackwell, Project Monitor at the Lou Walker Senior Center. "Medication management is an important aspect of healthy aging. The Pack Your Bag program allows us to provide an important educational service to the seniors in our community."

Dr. Richard Wild, Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) in Atlanta will also be in attendance at today's event. "Medication interactions are increasingly common for people over the age of 65, due this population's high number of prescriptions. Community-based medication management programs can have a positive effect on the health of seniors," said Dr. Wild. "We hope that many Georgia residents receive a comprehensive medication review by a pharmacist or other qualified provider at least annually."

In over 4,000 Pack Your Bag consultations since the program's inception last year, CVS pharmacists have found:

-- 7% of seniors were taking expired medications
-- 14% were not taking medications as prescribed
-- 10% were at risk for potential drug interactions
-- 15% had the opportunity to switch to money-saving generics

"It is important to review your medication regimen with your pharmacist on a regular basis, especially when filling a new prescription," said Mahesh Patel, R.Ph., Pharmacy Supervisor at CVS/pharmacy. "For older people who often see multiple doctors, the pharmacy is a central point of care where potential drug interactions can be averted. What's more, pharmacists are aware of the latest generic medications available and can suggest ways our patients can save money while maintaining good health. This is especially important in these economic times."

The Pack Your Bag program is available nationwide to senior centers located within five miles of a CVS/pharmacy store location. Seniors can also visit their local CVS for a personal consultation with a pharmacist. To find the CVS/pharmacy nearest you, call 1-800-SHOP-CVS or visit CVS.com.

Below is a list of upcoming Pack Your Bag events scheduled throughout Georgia:

Thursday, May 14th Bleckley County Senior Center, Cochran
HH Brigham Senior Center, Augusta
Wayne County Senior Center, Jesup

Tuesday, May 26th Habersham County Senior Center, Demorest

Monday, June 1st Dorothy C Benson Multi-Purpose Center, Sandy Springs

Thursday, June 4th Roswell Senior Center, Roswell

Tuesday, June 9th Chandler County Senior Center, Metter
West Citrus Community Center, Homosassa

Wednesday, June 10th Athens Community Council on Aging, Inc., Athens

Thursday, June 11th Lowndes County Senior Center, Valdosta

Tuesday, June 16th Branan Lodge, Blairsville
N. Cobb Neighborhood Center, Acworth
Wincliff Apartments, Gainesville

Wednesday, June 24th Marietta Neighborhood Center, Marietta

Thursday, June 25th Toombs County Senior Center, Vidalia

Monday, July 6th Senior Connections, Atlanta

Thursday, July 16th Smyrna Senior Center, Smyrna

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Year-round allergy prevention is key

April showers may have washed away the thick, yellow pollen you can see, but allergens are here to stay, says a Medical College of Georgia family nurse practitioner.

"The problem is pollen allergies last almost all year, because different plants are blooming all the time," says Dr. Sandy Turner, assistant dean for community partnerships in the MCG School of Nursing.

Pollen season can last from January to October with the pollination of trees, grasses and weeds. "The yellow pine pollen is most visible, but it isn't nearly as bad as what you can't see," Dr. Turner says.

The most important way to beat seasonal allergies is to stay on top of them, she says.

Research has shown that year-round nasal irrigation can reduce sinus and upper respiratory tract infections. "If you can wash the pollen and particulate out of your nasal passages daily, it will help to reduce inflammation and clear your sinuses," Dr. Turner says.

For nasal irrigation, fill a squeeze bottle or a neti pot, which resembles a small teapot, with equal parts salt water and soda bicarbonate. Pour or squeeze the mixture in one nostril and it will flow out the other. The squeeze bottle method can be done in the shower daily.

Dr. Turner offers these additional tips:

If you've been outside during the day, shower at night to wash away the pollen before bedtime.
Wipe pets down with a wet cloth when they come inside so that they don't carry allergens into the house.
Take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, Claritin or Zyrtec, daily. If your system becomes too accustomed to one type, switch to another. Ranitidine, which reduces stomach acid, is a histamine-2 blocker and may also help with allergies.
Use saline or over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops for itchy, burning eyes. Remove and wash contact lenses frequently to combat pollen buildup.
Drink plenty of water.
"You'll have fewer symptoms if you can keep the allergens down and keep yourself free from pollen as much as possible," Dr. Turner says.

If symptoms and drainage become overwhelming, you may need to contact your health care provider for evaluation to see if prescription medication is needed.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lack of Food Variety Puts Kids With Autism at Risk for Poor Nutrition

/PRNewswire/ -- The strong preference kids with autism have for certain foods places them at risk for nutritional deficiencies because their diets lack sufficient variety, according to research from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center at this year's Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore.

After presenting their findings on May 4, the researchers said screening children for the amount of variety of food in their diets may be a good clinical marker to predict which children might be at risk for nutrition problems. Kids with low food variety scores who are at risk could then be referred to dieticians or therapists to help them expand food choices and improve nutrition, said Michelle Zimmer, M.D., lead investigator and a pediatrician in the division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's.

The study is one of two presented by Dr. Zimmer and colleagues this year at PAS that deal with autism, the second one showing that the red blood cells of children with autism have low levels of a fatty acid linked to cognitive function. This finding, the researchers report, warrants further research into how the low fatty acid levels may trigger biochemical changes in the brain linked to autism.

The team found that levels of docosahexanoic acid and total omega-3 fatty acids were significantly lower in the red blood cells of autistic children than in normally developing children. Omega-3 fatty acids are nutritionally important substances considered vital to the normal development of children.

Evidence of abnormal fatty acid metabolism in children with autism runs counter to at least one previous study that suggested no difference between normally developing and autistic children. The different results between studies may be explained by the current research focusing on an older group of children, Dr. Zimmer said.

"The fatty acid docosahexanoic is linked to other mental health issues, and this raises questions about whether there are functional issues in neural cells involving a deficiency of essential fatty acids," said Dr. Zimmer. "The main point of the study is we cannot rule that fatty acids are part of the story of what is going on with kids who have autism."

Dr. Zimmer said its possible older children with autism have had more time to use up their bodies' stores of omega-3 fatty acids and are unable to replenish those stores. The 21 children with autism in this study were between the ages of 3 and 18 years, as were the 20 age-matched normally developing children and 10 of their siblings who served as control subjects.

The research team is conducting a larger study with more children to verify its PAS findings. Dr. Zimmer said another study is also under design to give essential omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexanonic acid, to children with autism to see what impact it has on brain chemistry and/or the disorder.

Increasing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of autistic children has been suggested by some researchers as potentially beneficial, Dr. Zimmer said. Although doing so would not have a negative impact on the children, until studies are conducted it isn't known what affect, if any, it might have, she added. Also, given the findings of the previous study on the lack of food variety among kids with autism, augmenting their diets could be challenging.

Most of the 19 autistic children in the food study had much lower food variety scores in their diets than typically developing children. A majority of the children with autism also suffered from nutritional deficiencies. The researchers concluded children with autism and low food variety scores are at risk for mild and serious nutritional deficiencies.

Researchers participating in studies were from the division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's. Researchers from the department of Pathology at the University of Cincinnati participated in the study on food variety.

The PAS meeting is the largest international meeting focused on research in child health. It is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Ambulatory Pediatric Association.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Injured Obese Child: Let's Give Him Some Ankle Support

/PRNewswire / -- In comparison to non-obese children, obese children are significantly more likely to have lower body injuries, such as in their ankles and legs. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study, which was conducted to determine if different body parts are injured in obese children compared to non-obese children so that prevention strategies can be developed, was presented May 2 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore.

"The most common lower body injuries were sprains," said Wendy Pomerantz, MD, emergency medicine physician and lead author of the study. "Because obese patients have an increased body mass and force, they are more likely to twist or roll on a lower extremity and cause injury than the non-obese children. Other injuries that the patients experienced were fractures and lacerations."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes than are other children and adolescents.

The study that Dr. Pomerantz and her team conducted included 23,349 children who visited the Cincinnati Children's emergency department for an injury from Jan. 1, 2005, to March 31, 2008. The average age of the children was approximately eight years. Some 16.5 percent of those observed were obese.

According to Dr. Pomerantz, childhood obesity not only puts children at a greater risk for injuries but it also prolongs recovery time. "Though it is not well studied, we suspect that increased force due to increased weight puts undue strain on the ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints and bones of these particular children. Repetitive forces with increased weight likely results in more damage to their bodies and lengthy recovery times," she said.

Dr. Pomerantz said that as obesity continues to increase in the US, doctors and care providers are likely to see more of these injuries. With weight loss and exercise, however, these children may be able to prevent getting hurt.

"The best advice for parents of an obese child who want the child to exercise but are afraid of the child getting injured should work with a specialist to get a tailored diet and exercise regimen to help them lose weight," said Dr. Pomerantz. "There are different kinds of programs across the country, such as Cincinnati Children's HealthWorks! Program, that work with children to assist them with achieving their weight loss goals." She added that one of the most important things for parents to remember that every little bit of dieting and exercise will help their child lose weight.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Dermatologists Warn Skin Cancer is an Equal-Opportunity Health Threat

/PRNewswire / -- According to current estimates, more than 1 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. While historically those most at risk for developing skin cancer are fair-skinned individuals with blonde or red hair, light eyes, and generally older populations, dermatologists advise that those who do not fit this profile are not immune. In fact, some dermatologists are reporting an increased incidence of skin cancer in younger women and people with skin of color - with the latter group often facing a bleaker outcome due to delayed diagnosis.

At the recent 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), research presented by dermatologist Jason K. Rivers, MD, FRCPC, FAAD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, found a higher than expected incidence of basal cell carcinoma in a small population of women under age 40. In other research unveiled at this meeting, dermatologist Robert S. Kirsner, MD, PhD, FAAD, vice chairman and Stiefel professor in the department of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, reported the incidence of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) among Hispanics and African-Americans in Florida is higher than the national average.

Increasing Incidence of Basal Cell Carcinoma in Young Women

In order to determine the demographic and tumor characteristic changes of patients diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, Dr. Rivers conducted a retrospective chart review on 885 of his patients with diagnosed non-melanoma skin cancers from 1993 to 2005 in his Vancouver dermatology practice.

Of the 885 patient charts that were reviewed, 1,177 non-melanoma skin cancers were identified. While basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas generally were diagnosed in the older age group of patients (60+ years of age), Dr. Rivers noticed a surprising trend of a slight increase in basal cell carcinomas in patients under age 40 (20-39 years of age).

In his practice, Dr. Rivers noted that approximately five to 10 women under age 40 were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma per year between 1995 and 2003 - a notable observation since this type of skin cancer generally affects older people. In fact, women in all age groups developed an increasing number of basal cell carcinomas over the decade studied, whereas the rate of this particular skin cancer in men remained stable.

"Although the actual number of young women diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma was relatively low, it is disturbing that we noticed a consistent increase in these numbers given that this type of non-melanoma skin cancer is a result of intermittent damage from ultraviolet radiation early in life," explained Dr. Rivers. "This means that young people are getting enough ultraviolet exposure at a very young age to cause the development of skin cancers that normally do not occur until later in life or generally in people over age 40."

Since Vancouver is a low sunlight area, Dr. Rivers speculated that the young women diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in his practice could be getting more ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds, which studies show is also linked to an increased risk in melanoma.

"I think these findings of an increased incidence of basal cell carcinomas in younger people is representative of what you would find across North America if a large-scale study was conducted," said Dr. Rivers. "We probably would notice even higher rates in areas where year-round sun exposure is more prevalent, such as the southern parts of the United States."

Dr. Rivers added that it is important for young people to be vigilant about practicing proper sun protection and limiting their sun exposure, whether to natural or artificial sunlight. This advice is especially important for people diagnosed with skin cancer, as non-melanoma skin cancer increases a person's risk for developing future skin cancers, including melanoma.

Increasing Rates of Melanoma in People of Color

According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, one American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes). While melanoma can strike anyone, Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than other races. However, new research suggests that melanoma rates among Hispanics and African-Americans may be increasing in certain populations.

In a study comparing state and national melanoma incidence trends, Dr. Kirsner examined data from the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS) and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program that compiles cancer statistics from geographic areas across the country - representing 26 percent of the U.S. population. A retrospective trend analysis comparing age-adjusted, race/ethnic- and gender-specific invasive cutaneous melanoma incidence rates in Florida versus the general U.S. population were computed for the years 1992-2004.

When melanoma rates in Hispanic males were compared, the incidence of melanoma among this group was elevated in Florida. Specifically, Dr. Kirsner reported that the incidence of melanoma among male Hispanic patients residing in Florida was 20 percent higher than that of their counterparts in the SEER program. In the African-American population, black female patients in Florida had a 60 percent higher incidence of melanoma than that of black female patients reported in the SEER program - representing a significant difference in melanoma rates.

"Numerous studies also show that because of the perceived low risk of melanoma in Hispanics and African-Americans in the U.S., these patients are diagnosed later when melanoma is more advanced and much more likely to spread. As a result, they have poorer outcomes than Caucasians," said Dr. Kirsner. "We hope that earlier diagnosis of melanoma in black and Hispanic patients at a more favorable or treatable stage will ultimately improve melanoma survival rates in minority populations. Clearly, it is important for people of all races and ethnicities to protect their skin from ultraviolet light and to make an appointment to see a dermatologist at the first sign of a suspicious mole."

To educate the Hispanic population, the Academy is working with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health on its skin cancer public education initiative.

Monday, May 4, is Melanoma Monday(R) and the official launch of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month(R). Visit www.melanomamonday.org to find out how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map to track changes in your skin or find free skin cancer screenings in your area. For more information on skin cancer, go to the "SkinCancerNet" section of www.skincarephysicians.com, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Family History is Key Risk Factor in Developing Osteoporosis

/PRNewswire/ -- Of all the gifts that generations of women have passed on to their loved ones, one of the most important is the gift of knowledge about health -- especially information about bone health and osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is sponsoring A Gift from Mothers to Daughters as the theme for Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention this May to help break the cycle of generations of women suffering from this disease.

"An estimated one in two women age 50 and older will break a bone from osteoporosis in their remaining lifetime," said Leo Schargorodski, executive director of NOF. "Our goal is to provide parents information about bone health and osteoporosis prevention, so they can not only protect themselves, but also influence the next generation to make lifelong bone health a family tradition."

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and can break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, from a simple action such as a sneeze. In the U.S. today, nearly 8 million women have osteoporosis and millions more are at risk. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Surgeon General have joined NOF in declaring osteoporosis a major public health issue for the nation.

In a 2008 survey, it was revealed that 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men age 45 and older have little or no concern about their bone health.(1) Additionally, it has been reported that nine out of 10 teenage girls fail to get enough of the calcium they need.(2)

"Bone health is a family issue, particularly as genetics and heredity are among the key factors that influence a person's risk of developing osteoporosis," said Robert Recker, MD, president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "However, there are many lifestyle choices that families can make to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis later in life."

NOF encourages all individuals, young and old, to eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise and be active, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Throughout the month of May, NOF is collaborating with its network of healthcare professionals and patient support groups and reaching out to all Americans to encourage family dialogue about bone health and osteoporosis. Visit www.nof.org to download materials and learn more about the events and activities planned for Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month.

Celebrating 25 years of Standing Tall for You(R), the National Osteoporosis Foundation is the nation's leading voluntary health organization solely dedicated to osteoporosis and bone health. Its mission is to prevent osteoporosis, to promote lifelong bone health, to help improve the lives of those affected by osteoporosis and related fractures, and to find a cure through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information on osteoporosis and bone health, contact NOF online at www.nof.org or by telephone (800) 223-9994.

According to NOF prevalence estimates and reinforced in Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of the people 50 years of age and older. In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease. Almost 34 million more people are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

Notes:

1) GFK Custom Research North America. April 2008. Osteoporosis Study. Commissioned by National Osteoporosis Foundation.

2) What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002 : Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes; www.ars.usda.gov/foodsurvey

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