Monthly Archives: May 2010

Vitamin C promotes healthy bone mass

Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining bone mass – promoting the balance between old bone resorption and new bone formation, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in a report that appears online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

“The assumption is that everyone gets enough vitamin C in their diet,” said Dr. Kenneth Gabbay, professor of pediatrics, molecular diabetes and metabolism at BCM. “However, multiple studies of large groups of people show that higher intakes of vitamin C are associated with higher bone mass and lower fracture rates.

“Our study shows that vitamin C is critical to maintaining the homeostasis necessary for healthy bone mass.”

Homeostatis is the ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes.

Report: 920,000 Kentuckians under age 65 have diagnosed pre-existing health conditions

According to Families USA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will eliminate potential barriers to health coverage for approximately 920,000 Kentuckians by requiring insurance companies to sell them health coverage, despite the fact that those Kentuckians have a pre-existing health condition.

Families USA is a national nonprofit organization for health care consumers.

The report, “Health Reform: Help for Kentuckians with Pre-Existing Conditions,” says:

• That every age group in Kentucky is affected by potential denial of coverage, and the problem grows as people age.

• That Kentuckians of every income level are affected, but the majority of those affected are middle-class and higher income Kentuckians.

• That every racial and ethnic group in Kentucky is affected.

In some cases, exercise may be better than pain medicine

Dr. Vijay Vad is a sports medicine specialist at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery who regularly works with professional golfers and tennis players. He believes in the mind-body connection and regularly prescribes yoga exercises and other alternative strategies for his patients.

According to a story in the New York Times, Vad said there are some self-help things people can do, such as exercise, rather than relying on pain medicine.

With pain, there can be a cycle of taking medicine that may affect REM sleep, making a person tired and lacking the desire to exercise.

According to Vad, if a person can get through the first week or two of extra pain by doing the proper exercise, like 30 minutes of walking daily, that’s going to have an impact long term.

Sometimes, he said, people give up on simple walking, but it can have a huge impact .

Columbus hospital offering ‘gastric sleeve’ for morbidly obese kids

A new weight reduction surgical option is available through the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, O.

The procedure is name the “gastric sleeve,” named as such because a large part of the stomach is removed and the remainder is closed to make a tube-like “sleeve.”

The narrow and smaller stomach limits daily food intake, but does not lose vitamins and minerals, or the likelihood of diarrhea that can be a problem with gastric bypass surgery.

The gastric sleeve has been gaining popularity among the morbidly obese adult population seeking surgical intervention. There are only a small number of pediatric centers performing the operation for morbidly obese children.

For more information, call 614-722-4824.

Scientists study why people cheat on their partners

Why do some men and women cheat on their partners while others resist the temptation?

To find the answer, a growing body of research is focusing on the science of commitment. According to a story in the New York Times, scientists are studying everything from the biological factors that seem to influence marital stability to a person’s psychological response after flirting with a stranger.

Their findings suggest that while some people may be naturally more resistant to temptation, men and women can also train themselves to protect their relationships and raise their feelings of commitment.

Recent studies have raised questions about whether genetic factors may influence commitment and marital stability. Hasse Walum, a biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, studied 552 sets of twins to learn more about a gene related to the body’s regulation of the brain chemical vasopressin, a bonding hormone.

Overall, men who carried a variation in the gene were less likely to be married, and those who had wed were more likely to have had serious marital problems and unhappy wives.

Physician need missing target, report says

With a physician shortage looming, in 2006 the Association of American Medical Colleges set a goal of boosting first-year medical school enrollment by 30 percent between 2002’s baseline and 2015.

It’s going to miss that target by a few years, the AAMC said according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. In its 2009 med school survey, the group’s Center for Workforce Studies said enrollment will be up by 23 percent in 2015, to 20,281, and up a projected 30 percent in 2018.

Enrollment at med schools and osteopathic med schools combined, however, will rise to 26,550 in 2015, up 36 percent from 2002.

That would seem to be good news for the physician shortage, but the real bottleneck for future doctors is the number of residency slots. U.S. med school graduates vie for those spots with international graduates and osteopaths, and that competition is likely to heat up, the AAMC report said.

Report: Today’s children on track to live shorter lives than their parents

One in 3 American children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.

Obesity is even more prevalent among black and Hispanic children. Some public health experts say today’s children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents.

A report released Tuesday and reported in a story in the New York Times said a woman’s weight before she becomes pregnant and her weight gain during pregnancy are two of the most important factors that determine, before a child is born, whether he or she will become obese.

Studies find that about 1 in 5 children becomes overweight or obese by age 6, and that more than half of obese children become overweight before the age of 2. Nearly 6 percent of infants younger than six months are overweight, the report says, up from 3.4 percent between 1980 and 2001.

Breast-feeding after birth also helps, as studies have found that children fed that way are 22 percent less likely to become obese.