Archive for the ‘Medical and Health News’ Category
A coalition of medical groups says, Canadian children under 13 shouldn’t be exposed to marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.
Calls on food companies to immediately stop marketing foods high in fats, added sugars or sodium to children was made on Thursday’s policy statement from the Canadian Medical Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Hypertension Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada and others.
The proposed advertising restriction includes characters or mascots promoting sugary cereals. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)
Dr. Norm Campbell, a hypertension specialist at the University of Calgary who led the campaign Federal, provincial and territorial governments have said that protecting the health of children is a priority.
“They had this on their radar and yet absolutely nothing is done, and so this is really a call for action that they do what we already know is going to be effective.”
The groups say that in 1989, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that “advertisers should not be able to capitalize upon children’s credulity” and “advertising directed at young children is per se manipulative.”
Food companies in Canada, except Quebec, are not obliged by law to restrict unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children.
Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu is the president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and practices in Montreal, where she says companies have clear rules on what is considered healthy.
“Up to 80 per cent of food advertising actually advertises unhealthy food and we know that it has a direct impact on the choices that children make,” Beaulieu said.
Canada hasn’t acted
The World Health Organization released recommendations on the marketing of food and beverages to children and called on governments worldwide to reduce the exposure of children to advertising and to reduce the use of powerful marketing techniques employed by the manufacturers of foods and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free added sugars or sodium last May 2011.
Canada has not acted on the recommendations, the health groups said.
The group’s statement describes the policy goal this way: “Federal government to immediately begin a legislative process to restrict all marketing targeted to children under the age of 13 of foods and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or sodium and that in the interim the food industry immediately ceases marketing of such food to children.”
They intend to use WHO’s suggestions on high content of saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or sodium.
“Right now, we have a voluntary ban on marketing of unhealthy foods to children from the food industry,” said Campbell. “The industries that have signed on to that are the worst offenders. What they’ve done is made their own definition.”
If the plan passes, the restrictions would apply to TV, internet, radio, magazines, mobile phones, video and adver-games, brand mascots, product placement, cross-promotions, school or event sponsorships and viral marketing.
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest said on Wednesday night, NDP member of Parliament Libby Davies’s bill to phase in lower sodium levels in prepackaged foods and add simple, standardized labels, failed to pass with a vote of 147 to 122.
One of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease that leads to an estimated 15 percent of all deaths worldwide each year is hypertension or high blood pressure. Micro-cracks in the inner lining of arterial walls are caused by an excessive blood pressure consequently leads to a series of serious health concerns. Patching materials are hurriedly pulled from blood circulation to fix the cracks, this is in a desperate attempt to prevent a potentially deadly hemorrhage.
This may save you today and can continue a life for a while but over the course of several decades, plaque volume increases until blood flow is cut off to the heart and brain, or a clot becomes lodged in a narrowed artery. There are a number of important lifestyle factors according to medical researchers. These factors increase the risk for hypertension. They also found out that blood pressure can be returned to normal without the need for pharmaceuticals that are ineffective and wrought with deadly side-effects by modifying these actions.
Healthy behaviors regarding alcohol, physical activity, vegetable intake and body weight reduce the risk of hypertension by two-thirds; this is according to the research team from Finland reporting to the European Society of Cardiology Congress. Prevention of hypertension is essential to improving health and preventing morbidity and mortality, they further noted.
Pursue healthy lifestyle parameters to cut the danger of high blood pressure
Smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, obesity and consumption of vegetables are the five major cardiovascular disease-related lifestyle factors the have identified. Their mission was to verify if correcting abnormalities in these aspects could aid forecasting the potential increase of blood pressure and development of clinical hypertension. They developed a large legion study which includes 9,637 men and 11,430 women, aged 25 to 74 who were free of hypertension during baseline measurements. The study was 20 years in the making.
The researchers set parameters for healthy lifestyle factors as follows: Not smoking, Alcohol consumption less than 50g per week, Leisure time physical activity at least three times per week, Daily consumption of vegetables, Normal body weight (BMI lower than 25).
The study authors concluded “The risk of hypertension was only one third among those having all four healthy lifestyle factors compared to those having none… four modifiable lifestyle factors: alcohol consumption, physical activity, consumption of vegetables and keeping normal weight have a remarkable effect on the development of hypertension,” after 709 men and 890 women developed hypertension all through a 16-year follow-up period.
Men were more pronounced of lifestyle modifications than women, this is according to the study the team had found out. This is maybe because it’s due to increases in alcohol consumption and a tendency toward obesity found within the male group. The majority of health conscious persons breathe within the lifestyle parameters defined as healthy in this study. Up till now it still acts as an important reminder to stay watchful at all stages of life to thwart hypertension and stay disease-free.
Even if you were thousands of miles away we cannot help but to feel a range of emotions the day after the terror bombing attack at the Boston Marathon.
Los Angeles psychologist Emanuel Maidenberg, PhD, says that in the wake of all that horror, it’s understandable that emotions are still raw and intense.
“People become vigilant, they look around, they become apprehensive,” says Maidenberg, director of the cognitive behavioral therapy clinic at the UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
He added, empathy for those killed or injured, as well as fear for your own safety and anger at the bomber or bombers, are also common and normal at this time. One hundred fifty and more are reported injured aside from the three people confirmed dead than from two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the marathon Monday afternoon.
He says, for people who witnessed the attacks, the same emotions can surface, although they may be much more intense.
“Some people feel numb emotionally and some feel overwhelmed,” he says. “Some people feel they have to start doing something right away to help other people.” Immediately after the attacks, news reports told of runners who went straight to the nearby hospitals to donate blood.
“Some feel it’s best to withdraw and isolate themselves,” he says.
While the other emotions are healthy, withdrawing and isolating are not, he says.
For the runners, especially those turned back from finishing the race, he says, there is also disappointment and frustration.
The next question would be how to coup up and how to handle the stress after the bombing.
For the first few days after such a catastrophe, Maidenberg says, sharing your feelings with others can help.
The tendency to stay plugged in constantly to news reports, though, can be mentally unhealthy, he says. “We want to know what’s happening, who’s behind it,” he says. That helps us deal with some of the uncertainty.
He said it can also keep you from your regular activities, which is good for healing. He then suggests limiting your news viewing. “My advice is, you do want to seek accurate and timely information. Once or twice a day, check in,” he says. The rest of the time, it’s better to go about your typical activities, he says.
This is the point in time where you must pay even more awareness to your usual stress-reduction techniques and to do more often than reducing the technique. It’s bright to give yourself a reality check, too. “We should also remind ourselves that the likelihood of this happening to us remains extremely low,” he says.
While those who witnessed the events firsthand may take longer to cope with their emotions, anyone still feeling overwhelmed after 4 to 6 weeks should consider seeking professional help, Maidenberg says.
Sleep apnea is a common form of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). A recent study found that obstructive sleep apnea is connected with elevated rates of ADHD-like behavioral problems in children plus other adaptive and learning problems.
“This study provides some helpful information for medical professionals consulting with parents about treatment options for children with SDB that, although it may remit, there are considerable behavioral risks associated with continued SDB,” said Michelle Perfect, PhD, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the school psychology program in the department of disability and psychoeducational studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “School personnel should also consider the possibility that SDB contributes to difficulties with hyperactivity, learning and behavioral and emotional dysregulation in the classroom.”
The journal SLEEP will feature the five-year study in their April issue. This study is utilized data from a longitudinal cohort, the Tucson Children’s Assessment of Sleep Apnea Study (TuCASA). The TuCASA study prospectively examined Hispanic and Caucasian children between 6 and 11 years of age to establish the occurrence and commonness of SDB and its outcomes on neurobehavioral functioning.
263 children participated in the study, they finished an overnight sleep study and a neurobehavioral battery of assessments that incorporated parent and youth reported rating scales.
The outcome of the study shows that 23 children had incident sleep apnea that actualized at some point in the study period, and 21 children had persistent sleep apnea the whole time of the entire study. While 41 children who at first had sleep apnea no longer had breathing problems during sleep at the five-year follow-up.
The chances of having behavioral problems were four to five times greater in children with incident sleep apnea and six times higher in children who had persistent sleep apnea.
Children with sleep apnea were more likely to have parent-reported problems in the areas of hyperactivity, attention, disruptive behaviors, communication, social competency and self-care compared to youth who never had SDB. Children with persistent sleep apnea moreover were seven times more probably to have parent-reported learning troubles and three times more likely to have school grades of C or lower.
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The authors report that this is the first sleep-related study to use a standardized questionnaire to assess adaptive functioning in typically developing youth with and without SDB.
“Even though SDB appears to decline into adolescence, taking a wait and see approach is risky and families and clinicians alike should identify potential treatments,” said Perfect.
3-D glasses aid doctors carry through invasive surgery when their hands are hidden from view
Now 3D glasses are not for moviegoers alone doctors could make some assistance from it as well. This is suggested by new studies.
Doctors preferred to rely on their own experiences having doubts and being skeptic about using the 3D technology but this was all in the past. This may now change; it is all because of the new and improved 3D glasses and even glasses-free systems. The study of 50 surgeons using the new technology showed improvements in surgical precision and speed—funded by industry sponsors.
“While the technology still requires some fine-tuning, technology without the need to wear special glasses will increase the popularity of 3D systems in operating rooms,” study leader Ulrich Leiner of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin said in a statement.
Upgrading screens are lashing advancements in 3D technology and now high-definition screens are already available. According to study co-author Michael Witte of HHI, the next step is ultra-high definition, with a sixteenfold improvement in resolution.
To test it and evaluate the new 3D technology, researchers invited surgeons from the Klinikum rechts der Isar’s surgical hospital, they will determine if the technology is ready for hospital applications. A leading endoscope manufacturer and an international display company financed the study.
The surgeons tried-and-true four different systems: 2D, 3D with glasses, 3D without glasses and a mirror-based 3D system. The glasses-free model relied on an eye-tracking camera system that delivered separate images to each eye, creating a 3D effect in the brain.
The technology works like this, the images came from endoscopic cameras used in surgery. The doctors practiced a replicated, routine surgical procedure in which they sewed up a wound in a model patient’s stomach using a needle and thread. Just as in a minimally invasive surgery, their hands were covered from view and to see what they were doing they depend on the screen.
“The results were astonishing,” Hubertus Feußner, of the Klinikum rechts der Isar university hospital in Munich, said in a statement. The winning surgeon performed the procedure in 15 percent less time and with considerably increased precision, Feußner said.
According to the researchers, the most surprising thing was that not only young surgeons benefited, but experienced surgeons also. The doctor that had won and performed best has worked at the hospital for more than 30 years and has conducted thousands of operations.
The surgeons who participated in the study rated the 3D glasses system the highest while the glasses-free system as comparable to the 2D one.
Once the technology is widely available, will doctors begin using it? “There’s no doubt that 3D will be a commodity in the future,” Witte said.
The study’s results will be forwarded and presented at a congress of the Association of German Surgeons in Berlin in April of this year. However, the findings have not been published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal.
One night without sleep can make you feeling tired the whole day and yawning will probably annoy you and the people around. How about two nights of no sleeping or three? It will surely make you cranky and restless. But just a week of not enough sleep can radically change the activity of human genes.
According to a new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, just one week of abnormal, insufficient sleep is enough to dramatically alter the activity of human genes.
University of Surrey in England conducted a survey and the experiment discovered that lack of sleep, at least less than six hours a night will affect the activity of over 700 of our genes.
The genes that will be affected are associated with controlling response to stress, immunity, and inflammation.
Furthermore, the research demonstrates that insufficient sleep reduces the number of genes that normally peak and fall in expression during a 24-hour period from 1,855 to 1,481.
After a week of pitiable sleep the number of genes influenced by sleep deprivation is seven times greater.
Obesity, cognitive impairment, heart disease are just few of the complications of not having enough sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders affect from 50 to 70 million people in America thus making sleep disorders very common. But until recently, scientists were unaware how gene expression patterns were modified by poor sleep. These ‘gene expression’ patterns offer critical clues on the possible molecular mechanisms that connect sleep with total health.
26 volunteers were followed; they were exposed to a week of sleep deprivation and a week of sufficient sleep. Each week, blood samples were collected and were controlled for the effects of light, activity, and food during the week of insufficient sleep.
The genes affected by poor sleep were linked to circadian rhythms, metabolism, and sleep homeostasis.
Macromolecular metabolism, gene-expression regulation, chromatin modification, inflammatory responses, immune responses, stress responses, these are the biological processes that the investigators found as being affected.
“This research has helped us to understand the effects of insufficient sleep on gene expression. Now that we have identified these effects we can use this information to further investigate the links between gene expression and overall health.” says Derk-Jan Dijk, Director of the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey.
This study was made possible by a team up of researchers completed by sleep and circadian rhythm experts in functional bioinformatics and genomics, and physiologists.
The biological processes recognized may be involved with the negative results of poor sleep on health and stress the links between sleep homeostasis, circadian rhythmicity, and metabolism.
“The current interest in sleep and circadian rhythms as determinants of health and disease is a vital area of research. By combining our expertise in sleep and ‘genomics’ (the study of the full complement of our genes), we are starting to make breakthroughs that will have an impact on our understanding and treatment of poor health arising from insufficient sleep.” says Colin Smith, Professor of functional genomics at the University of Surrey.
You may find fat kids cutie ones but they may be starting to suffer from obesity. Obesity is a serious medical condition that often leads to serious diseases. Childhood obesity often carried out until adulthood, more health complications may occur. And obesity plays a significant role in causing certain so called ‘adult ailments’ in our children such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Childhood obesity is usually caused by eating too much and not getting enough exercise. While there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, studies show the primary cause of children being overweight is due to lifestyle issues such as eating more calories than is needed to support their growing bodies, daily activities and metabolism.
All experts agreed that obesity is a health risk that may result to the following health problems for children.
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Height and BMI
- Signs of stress of weight on lower limbs and joints
- Absence of logical thinking
How to treat obesity in children:
If your child has a weight problem you should a consult a doctor or nutritionist. A healthy eating plan is strongly suggested. This is also to make sure that no serious health problems have developed. Some parents delay this action in the hopes that the problem will just go away but this delay can cause more complications and illness and I will get worse.
Not only obesity can cause many health problems but it can also cause variety of emotional problems. Their being obese can lower their self-esteem. So do not make them feel bad more about themselves, they had enough from school instead just need to help them by developing healthy eating and exercise habits, and lots and lots of moral support.
You should be aware avoiding making their weight as an issue, if you will encourage him to focus on his weight tendency is that their self-esteem will suffer more rather it is best to show them how maintaining a healthy weight will lead to extra energy and fewer health problems.
Express your unconditional love. Remember to make them fell loved no matter what. Overweight children need support, acceptance, and encouragement from their parents.
This is probably the most important and maybe the best solution. Be a good role model. Parents are responsible for putting healthy foods in the kitchen at home, as well as leaving unhealthy foods on the grocery store shelves. You cannot really blame the kids because you maybe is the problem. Practice what you preach! After all you are the one responsible of what food to put in the table.
Do not set food as rewards and put realistic goals. It is also better if you will spend time together exercising, in this way he will be more excited to do it because he is with you. Make them feel that you are together with this.
Did you know that the leading cause of premature death in the United States is no other than cigarettes? A preventable death but it claims almost half a million lives each year. To the extent that the government required larger and more prominent warnings on cigarette packaging and advertisements as part of the strategy to help consumers quit smoking and prevent young people from starting. But despite of this it seems like tobacco users are not conscious about it.
The effects of cigarette smoking to human health are really serious and in fact deadly. There are approximately 4000 chemicals that are present in the chemical composition of cigarette and hundreds of which are toxic.
Smoking effects on the human body are destructive and widespread. The ingredients in cigarette affect everything from the internal functioning of the organs and target the efficiency of the body’s immune system. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.
Here are some facts cigarette smoking can cause you. Toxic ingredients in cigarette smoke travel throughout the body, causing damage in several different ways. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, preventing affected cells from carrying a full load of oxygen. Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in tobacco smoke damage important genes that control the growth of cells, causing them to grow abnormally or to reproduce too rapidly. The carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene binds to cells in the airways and major organs of smokers. Smoking affects the function of the immune system and may increase the risk for respiratory and other infections. There are several likely ways that cigarette smoke does its damage. One is oxidative stress that mutates DNA, promotes atherosclerosis, and leads to chronic lung injury. Oxidative stress is thought to be the general mechanism behind the aging process, contributing to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and COPD. The body produces antioxidants to help repair damaged cells. Smokers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood than do nonsmokers. Smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, another damaging process that may result in oxidative stress. Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. It has been found in every part of the body and in breast milk.
Due to these facts, it is now known that cigarette smoking is deadly. An estimated 443, 000 deaths, or nearly one of every five years, each year has been noted in United States alone. It is more than the deaths caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women. An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.
This is very bothering. That is just some of the diseases that one can get from cigarette smoking. Smoking can also increased heart heath risks, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer not to mention infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
A component of red wine has been found to improve mobility for older people, according to a new study.
Researchers from a university in Pittsburgh have specified resveratrol, a natural-occurring compound that is also present in red wine, could aid in improving mobility of older people and subsequently prevent falls.
The group of researchers fed old and young lab mice a diet that includes resveratrol for a period of 8 weeks while testing their ability to walk around a balance beam. They then took note of the number of times each mouse made a misstep. Initially, the older mice found it difficult to traverse the obstacle but on the 4th week, they made significantly fewer missteps and seemed to perform as well as the young ones.
“Our study suggests a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies seen in our aging population. And that would, therefore, increase an aging person’s quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalisation due to slips and falls,” said Dr. Jane Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh has presented the results at a conference of American Chemical Society held in Philadelphia, noting that motor-related problems like difficulty in walking or balancing are the leading causes of injury among people over the age of 65.
Several medications could aid in alleviating some of the motor-related effects of Parkinson’s disease, though there is currently no such treatment for improving walking and balance in adults.
But despite the promising results, they are warning anyone who would use this as an excuse to drink red wine indiscriminately: resveratrol is something that is poorly absorbed by the human body. Actually, a 150lb individual needs to ingest 700 (4oz) glasses of red wine per day to absorb enough of the compound and achieve any beneficial effect.
They are now actively exploring similar compounds that could yield the same effects and will be more easily absorbed by the human body. Also, they are trying to figure out just how much resveratrol goes to the brain when ingested.
Previous studies have concluded that resveratrol, typically found in dark-skinned fruits and red wine, has the potential in reducing cholesterol, risk of cancer and heart disease.
Over the years, Medicare has been proactive in its efforts to bring awareness to Medicare fraud, a national problem that costs the program millions of dollars each year. The Medicare program relies heavily on a number of sources to assist them in the detection and prevention of Medicare fraud including professionals of the healthcare industry.
Overview of Medicare Fraud
Medicare fraud generally refers to willfully and knowingly billing medical claims in an attempt to defraud the Medicare program for money. Anyone found guilty of Medicare fraud is subject to exclusion from participation in the Medicare program in addition to fines and possibly imprisonment. Most Medicare fraud occurs in these areas:
• Billing for DME
• Billing for physicians services
• Billing for institutional services such as nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, etc.
Be Aware of Common Schemes
There are four popular Medicare fraud schemes.
1. Medical Equipment Never Provided The most common area of Medicare fraud is billing for Durable Medical Equipment (DME). DME refers to any medical equipment necessary for a patient’s medical or physical condition. It includes wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other equipment of that nature. The provider will bill Medicare for equipment that the patient never received. Mobility scooters have been particularly popular for Medicare fraud schemes.
2. Services Never Performed In this instance, the provider bills for tests, treatment or procedures never performed. This can be added to the list of tests a patient has actually received and never be noticed. A provider may also falsify diagnosis codes in order to add on unnecessary tests or services.
3. Upcoding Charges Misrepresenting a level of service or procedure performed in order to charge more or receive a higher reimbursement rate is considered upcoding. Upcoding also occurs when a service performed is not covered by Medicare but the provider bills a covered service in its place.
4. Unbundling Charges Some services are considered all inclusive. Unbundling is billing for procedures separately that are normally billed as a single charge. For example, a provider bills for two unilateral screening mammograms, instead of billing for 1 bilateral screening mammogram.
Medicare Fraud Indicators
There are certain indicators that are common in the detection of Medicare fraud. Is your practice:
• Routinely waiving copayments and deductibles for Medicare patients without checking for their ability to pay?
• Charging higher rates to Medicare patients compared to other persons for similar services?
• Missing treatment documentation such as physician or nurses notes?
What to Do If I Suspect Fraud?
It is your responsibility as a representative of the healthcare industry to be aware of and report any fraudulent activity suspected. If you would like to report suspected Medicare fraud, contact the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Inspector General for further assistance.