Tags: Blood | Pressure | Dementia | Ibuprofen | Obesity | Denial | Vaccine

Blood Pressure Dementia, Ibuprofen, Obesity Denial, Vaccine Woes

Saturday, 15 April 2006 12:00 AM

Most obese people don't think they are obese even though they are aware of how much they weigh, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Kimberly P. Truesdale and her colleagues surveyed 104 people, of whom 31 were of normal weight, 40 were overweight, and 33 were obese.

The researchers asked the people to report their weight and height, how they would define their own weight status and how much they would need to weigh in order to be obese.

Ninety percent of normal weight people and 85 percent of overweight and obese individuals reported heights and weights that were accurate.

But while 71 percent of normal weight people and 73 percent of overweight people identified their weight category correctly, just 15 percent of obese adults did.

Nearly three quarters of the obese subjects classified themselves as overweight, and 12 percent said their weight was normal for their height.

Dr. Truesdale said the findings show how much stigma obesity carries and how reluctant people are to consider themselves obese.  .

However, she said it's important for a person to recognize if they are obese, because being obese carries a much higher risk of health problems than being overweight.

The study was presented at a recent meeting on experimental biology.

Treating hypertension in the elderly protects against dementia and cognitive decline, according to a study from Honolulu's Pacific Health Research Institute.

In fact, the study found that for each year an individual takes blood pressure medication, the risk of dementia decreases by about 3 percent.

"Hypertension treatment in the very old – those ages 80 and older – protects against stroke, heart disease and heart failure, and now we see that there is no harm – and perhaps a benefit – on cognitive function," concluded Dr.Rita Peila and her colleagues.

The investigators analyzed data from 848 men (average age 77) who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure during mid-life. In 1991 and at regular yearly intervals through 1999, the men were assessed for dementia and cognitive decline.

Compared with men who were never treated for hypertension, the risk of developing dementia during the study period was as follows: .

- 6 percent lower in those treated less than five years.

The dementia risk for this last group was the risk in a control group of men with normal blood pressure.

The study appears in the journal, Stroke.

The combination of vitamins E, C and the anti-inflammatory painkiller, ibuprofen, appears to slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease in high-risk patients, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Majid Fotuhi and his colleagues followed nearly 5,000 elderly individuals for eight years, looking at the relationship between the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamins and the development of Alzheimer's.

They identified 127 individuals who regularly consumed ibuprofen and vitamins C and E. Over time this group exhibited significantly less decline in mental performance.

Further, the investigators found that high-risk patients – APOE-4 carriers – appeared to get the greatest benefit from the triple combination.

Those high-risk patients who regularly took all three agents during the eight-year follow-up showed no decline in cognitive function. But those who took just one of the three experienced a decline.

On the other hand, among normal risk people, just taking vitamins C and E was enough to prevent decline and slow Alzheimer's onset.

Dr. Fotuhi recommends the triple combination for high risk people.

"If patients seem to be at high risk, such as having several family members with Alzheimer's disease or with early memory loss, they are likely to benefit the most from the triple-combination therapy," he said.

As for what dose of ibuprofen to use, Fotuhi urges caution, since the drug can lead to stomach ulcers. He recommends no more than 100 milligrams per day. He presented the study at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in San Diego.

One woman in four who tries to stop hormone replacement therapy has severe rebound symptoms and most resume HRT, according to an investigator with the Women's Health Initiative study.

At a recent meeting of the American College of Physicians,  Dr. Marcia Stefanick, a professor of medicine at Stanford U. warned that a simple estrogen prescription to ease hot flashes can start women down the path to chronic hormone replacement.

Dr. Stefanick said that some follow-up studies suggest that "about 26percent cannot stop the hormone."

Her advice is to weigh the undeniable benefit of estrogen for treatment of vasomotor symptoms – "it's the best game in town" – against the risk of becoming chronically dependant on hormone therapy.

She said that many of the women who are unable to kick the hormone habit actually had mild symptoms before starting HRT. "It is almost as if the hormone exposure somehow sets the woman up for worse symptoms," she said.

If women have severe rebound symptoms, she advised going back on hormones but at a lower dose.

"After the woman is stabilized, try tapering the dose by going to an every other day dosing or by skipping weekends," she said.

If and when women go on HRT to ease menopause symptoms, Dr. Stefanick suggested going on lower doses and trying to come off after a year.

Waiting 30 to 45 seconds before clamping the umbilical cord appears to benefit low-birth weight infants by allowing them to acquirer more placental blood, according to a study from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

Dr. Judith Mercer and hear colleagues study involved 72 pregnant women who gave birth to infants before the 32nd week of gestation. The women underwent either immediate cord clamping at 5 to 10 seconds after the birth, or delayed cord clamping 30 to 45 seconds after delivery.

The investigators found differences between the two groups in rates of brain bleeds in the babies, and in their risk of late-onset infections.

Two of the 23 male infants in the delayed-clamping group had intraventricular hemorrhage compared to eight of the 19 in the immediate-clamping group. No case of dangerous infections occurred among the first group, whereas six cases occurred among the others.

The researchers say the delayed clamping strategy is a simple way to improve outcomes of very preterm infants. The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

The massive federal study that purports to clear aspartame as a cancer-causing substance has major shortcomings, according to respected medical expert Dr. Russell Blaylock. Dr. Blaylock edit's NewsMax's

"It's fatally flawed. The early release of this report represents bad science to say the least and appears to be an attempt to shore up a product that has been getting consistently bad reports from independent scientific researchers for the past decade," says Dr. Blaylock. "And these reports showing harm have been presented in peer-reviewed reputable journals from laboratories from all over the world."

Dr. Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and visiting professor of biology at Belhaven College, has been closely following the research on aspartame for years. He offers several pointed criticisms of the NCI study. Major studies typically appear in medical journals, and provide the data and study methods so that the study can be properly evaluated. The study in question has not received that type of "peer review," he says.

The study suffers from "some obvious and major weaknesses in its design," he adds.

"It is accepted among scientist/clinicians that the poorest type of study you can do is an epidemiological [population] study in which you have a large number of people fill out food-intake sheets," Dr. Blaylock explains. "And of the epidemiological studies, the poorest are the ones depending on participants' memory of intake of the product in question – a so-called retrospective study. The latest aspartame study falls in this category."

According to Dr. Blaylock, such studies are so inaccurate that they have been used for over 60 years to "to cover up pharmaceutical disasters. He says for example that when there was enormous scientific evidence that the polio vaccine had been contaminated with a cancer-causing virus (SV-40), "the government was able to cover up this disaster by conducting similar epidemiological studies."

The fact that the National Cancer Institute study relies on a massive group – 567,000 people participated – doesn't make it more reliable, Dr. Blaylock contends.

"It impresses the public, but most doctors agree that you cannot accurately obtain dietary information from 567,000 people," he says.

He also objected to the narrow age range of study participants – ages 50 to 69. "The greatest risk of leukemia and lymphoma would be in a younger population, including young children and adolescents, and they would need to be exposed regularly from early in life. The same is true for the rest of the population. Yet, they did not determine aspartame intake prior to the start of the study age. This is ludicrous," he says.

A fact sheet posted on the NCI Web site states flatly, "There is no clear evidence that the artificial sweeteners on the market in the United States are related to cancer risk in humans."

Dr. Blaylock strongly disagrees. He states that there is clear evidence aspartame damages DNA and can harm pregnant women and their babies.

One of the products that aspartame breaks down into is formaldehyde, which has been associated with brain tumors. Based on animal studies, women have the greatest risk of aspartame-related cancer. And most of the brain tumors being reported are also occurring in women, he adds.

"Aspartame is not an essential nutrient," Dr. Blaylock concludes. "I would not risk my life or the lives of those I love, especially my children, on the basis of such a poorly conducted and reported study. There is just too much evidence that this sweetener is dangerous to babies, children, adults and the elderly. And much of the damage, especially to children, is irreversible."

The long-simmering controversy over mercury in children's' vaccines is heating up, as lawmakers in a number of states press for bans.

The states are meeting with stiff resistance from the Centers for Disease Control and several influential medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

At the heart of the controversy is thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that helps protect vaccines from contamination.

Thimerosal came into wide use in vaccines sold in multi-dose vials to prevent bacterial contamination from repeated insertion of needles. Exposure to the chemical rose sharply in the early 1990s when the CDC added five new shots for infants in the infants' first six months.

The  issue erupted in 1999 when it became public that infants who got all their shots on time could be exposed to mercury in excess of an Environmental Protection Agency guideline.

At that time the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics called on vaccine makers to phase out thimerosal and by 2002 it had been removed or cut to trace levels in all routine children's shots.

But then in 2004 flu vaccines containing thimerosal were added to the childhood immunization schedule and the CDC refused to recommend thimerosal-free shots for infants and pregnant women.

This fired up the controversy once more.

Fearing a resurgence of thimerosal use – state lawmakers and anti-mercury advocates began pushing for outright bans of the chemical.

So far, seven states have adopted such bills – California being one of the first. Passed in 2004, the California law aims to ban shots with more than a trace of thimerosal for pregnant women and children younger than 3.  It goes into effect this July.

Similar legislation is in the works in about 20 other states.

"We're trying to get it out of the environment," said Marilyn Rasmussen, a Washington state senator and sponsor of a thimerosal bill that was signed into law last month.

"Why would we be injecting it into babies? We've got to be smarter than that."

The legislation faces opposition from groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Immunization Action Coalition, who say there is no solid proof that the small amount of mercury in vaccines can cause harm.


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Most obese people don't think they are obese even though they are aware of how much they weigh, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Kimberly P. Truesdale and her colleagues surveyed 104 people, of whom 31 were of normal...
Saturday, 15 April 2006 12:00 AM
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