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Friday, 30 March 2012

Weightloss and fitness reduces mobility issues in diabetics

Diabetics are twice as likely to have mobility problems as other people their age, but a new study has found that losing weight and improving fitness can make a dramatic difference. 

The researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina calculated that the lifestyle changes led to a 48% drop in the chance of diabetic patients losing their mobility.

"You don't need extreme amounts of weight loss or extreme lifestyle change to improve your outlook," Dr Vivian Fonseca, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), who wasn't involved in the research, told Medical ID wearers. "It is achievable by many people who put their mind to it and who are given the right kind of tools to do that."

The ADA estimates that nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes - most of them with type 2, the form of the disease often associated with being overweight - and 79 million more are at risk for developing the condition. Those numbers are expected to increase dramatically as the U.S. population ages.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Heart attack risk for pregnant women

A study has found that hormonal changes and increased blood volume increase the risk of heart attacks during pregnancy. 

Heart attacks happen for different reasons in pregnant women than those commonly seen in the general population, the research found.

Atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries, is the most common cause of heart attack in the general population, but this was the cause in only a third of pregnant women who had a heart attack.

The more common reason pregnant women had a heart attack was a condition called coronary dissection, a separation of the layers of the artery wall that blocks blood flow. They said this condition is very rare among non-pregnant patients.

"We have very clear guidelines for [heart attack] in the general population," Dr. Uri Elkayam of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the study's lead researcher told Medical ID wearers. "These guidelines, however, may not always apply to women with pregnancy-associated heart attacks and may actually cause more harm than good." 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Aspirin may be cancer wonderdrug

Evidence is building that aspirin may prevent and possibly even treat cancer. 

Studies by Oxford University researchers have already found that daily consumption of a small dose of aspirin can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Now the same team of researchers has found that aspirin can also significantly prevent or slow the spread of cancer.

Depending on the type of cancer, aspirin reduced metastasis by between 18 and 46 per cent.

Prof Peter Johnson, of Cancer Research UK, told Medical ID wearers: "We now need some definitive advice from the government as to whether aspirin should be recommended more widely." 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New peanut allergy test better for children

A new study into peanut allergy has identified a new test, which may benefit high risk children. 

Diagnosis of peanut allergy is relatively straightforward when there is an obvious history of clinical reaction to peanut ingestion. However, diagnosis can be more complicated in cases in which the clinical history is not clear or in children who have not yet been exposed to a food. 

The new test uses part of the peanut protein called ‘Arah2’ and involves a two-step screening process. Researchers found they could perform a blood test, followed by the Arah2 test, which was more accurate and highly predictive than using one of the tests alone. They found the two step testing process reduced the need for oral food challenges by four-fold. 

Researchers told Medical ID wearers that the ‘Arah2’ two step process can be used in children with high risk of food allergy, such as those with eczema and other food allergies, and for those who haven’t eaten peanuts but have a strong family history of food allergy. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Diabetics don't understand self-monitoring, research finds

The majority of diabetics who check their glucose levels at home do not understand how to monitor themselves properly and take no action when readings are abnormal, research has found.

Researchers at Stirling University raised concerns about self-monitoring after interviewing 207 patients in Tayside with type-2 diabetes who assessed their own blood glucose levels at home and did not use insulin.

They found that more than 60% of sufferers took no action in response to test readings, mainly because they didn't know what to do.

Lead researcher Dr Josie Evans told Medical ID wearers: "More than half of the patients were taking no action in response to self-monitoring.

"Some patients find it very frustrating if they have a high reading as they are unsure what to do about it. They know what to do if they have a low blood glucose reading but the opposite is confusing.

"There is no point in patients self-monitoring unless they are educated in how to interpret readings and to respond appropriately and this may be why patients who self-monitored did not seem to have better blood glucose control."

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Egg white allergy problem cracked

Parents are increasingly concerned about egg white allergies in children, but Australian scientists believe they may have cracked the problem. 

Researchers from Deakin University in Geelong believe they can "switch off" the allergens in eggs that can lead to potentially fatal anaphylactic shock in thousands of children.

The team is working on isolating the four main allergens found in egg whites, then reintroducing the protein back into the egg, which should subsequently produce chickens that lay allergy-free eggs.

"There is evidence that new parents are exposing their infants to egg products for the first time in the car parks of major children's hospitals just so they are close to medical attention," Professor Cenk Suphioglu, a Deakin University Associate, told Medical ID wearers.

The team hopes that the allergy-free eggs will hit stores in five to 10 years.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Diabetes UK launches foot care campaign

Diabetes UK has launched a campaign aimed at preventing thousands of people with diabetes from having lower limbs amputated.

The 'Putting Feet First' campaign highlights the fact that people with diabetes are more than 20 times more likely to have a lower limb amputated than the general population.

Furthermore, around four-fifths of diabetes-related amputations are thought to be preventable if NHS foot care services were improved around the country.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK's chief executive, told Medical ID wearers that the situation is "nothing short of a national disgrace".

Diabetes UK recommends that all diabetes patients should manage their levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure properly, and to check their feet on a regular basis, as well as be aware of the level of healthcare they should expect.