Omega-3s and Type-1 Diabetes

New research claims a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can cut children’s risk of Type-1 diabetes. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
"It is a relatively large effect," said Jill Norris, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


"It is exciting because it suggests we might be able to develop nutritional interventions to prevent diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes in children. It occurs when the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

No one knows exactly what triggers this process, but heredity and environmental factors such as diet are thought to play a role.
Hey! Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, omegas are important. Just check out Wednesday’s post Essential Fatty Acids. Here’s a snippet:
Optimal health depends on the proper balance of fatty acids in the diet. The modern diet that most of us eat supplies an excessive amount of omega-6 fat, but often too little omega-3 fat. This relative deficiency of omega-3 fats has potentially serious implications. Also, the consumption of too much omega-6 fat leads to high levels of arachidonic acid (AA). Higher levels of arachidonic acid can promote inflammation.

Thursday: Health Points

Dr. Stern, a specialist in geriatric emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, noted that the elderly took about 40 percent of prescribed drugs, roughly twice what younger adults take, and that they suffered twice as many adverse drug reactions as younger people.

“The average community-dwelling older adult takes 4.5 prescription drugs and 2.1 over-the-counter medications,” Dr. Stern reported. Polypharmacy is responsible for up to 28 percent of hospital admissions and, he added, if it were classified as such, it would be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Curious about back exercises? This article in The Detroit Free Press should give you plenty of ideas. The roman chair—eek—sounds like a torture device! Have a look:
Training your lower back can improve your posture, develop your abdominal muscles and help prevent lower back pain and injury. A great twist on an old favorite is the low-cable back extension. This is a little more challenging than the traditional exercise, but it's a welcome change of pace.


First, position a roman chair or back extension machine inside the cable station. The machine should be squarely facing the weight stack with enough distance between the machine and the weight stack that there is still tension on the cable when you are at the bottom of the exercise.
Weight training works just as well as running on a treadmill or biking to help the most important symptom of type-2 diabetes -- long-term control of blood sugar -- Canadian researchers said on Monday.


Doing both aerobic and resistance training lowered blood sugar levels better than either alone, researchers said -- and both appeared to be safe.

At least 194 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the World Health Organization expects the number to rise to more than 300 million by 2025.
Reading the food labels was "a little bit confusing, but after a while I got used to it," said the fifth-grader from suburban Doral.


"Since I find parents are not doing a bang-up job (teaching nutrition), I think it's important to empower the children with their own information," said Miami registered dietitian Ronni Litz Julien.

The FDA partnered with the Cartoon Network earlier this year to launch a public education campaign encouraging children ages 9 to 13 - or tweens - to read the nutrition facts on food labels.
"Patients are using the Internet to find health-related quality information, and the information is out there," noted lead researcher Dr. Michael J. Leonardi, from the department of surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. "But the information is inconsistent and varies from Web site to Web site," he said.


A lot of Web sites try to rank hospitals, Leonardi said. But because there is no standard way of calculating quality differences, Internet sites come up with different results for the same hospitals, he noted.
The tainted bag of Dole’s Hearts Delight salad mix was sold at a store in Canada, officials said. Neither Canadian health officials nor Dole Food Co. have received reports of anyone getting sick from the product.


The voluntary recall, issued Monday, affects all packages of Hearts Delight sold in the United States and Canada with a “best if used by” date of September 19, 2007, and a production code of “A24924A” or “A24924B,” the company said.
Worried that you'll take up running and then quit? No chance. Just follow our simple but surefire training program. It just might be the most exciting time in your entire running career. But you won't necessarily realize it.


First steps...starting out...the beginning of a great adventure. In fact, in lots of ways, it's sort of a declaration of personal independence. A statement that says, "In a world that confronts me with mechanical convenience and idle luxury at virtually every turn, I have decided, nonetheless, to improve my physical fitness."
Of course, at issue is the fact that for doctors coming into close contact with many ill patients, all that extra fabric and buttons and ties and watches are just additional places for bacteria to colonize and hop on over to the next person.


Will it help? Not sure, but I suppose it falls under the "can't hurt" category. The article also notes that a study of doctors' ties a few years' back showed that almost half were contaminated with a minimum of one species of pathogen--so eliminate the dirty tie, maybe they'll pass around fewer germs? Time will tell, I suppose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said new labeling on the drug will note that ailments, including QT prolongation, a disorder of the heart's electrical system that can lead to a life-threatening condition, have been observed in post-marketing studies.

The drug is also sold generically under the name haloperidol.

Several other drugs for schizophrenia, including a much newer J&J drug including Invega, have warnings about the risk of the serious cardiac effect.

American Food Not Good for Immigrants

Just in case you doubted exactly how unhealthy the standard American diet is. Read this article from CNN. Immigrant children have a disastrous time adjusting to and resisting the urge of American junk food. More from John Bonifield:
Adrian McHargh grew up active and skinny in Kingston, Jamaica. An enthusiastic swimmer, he had the pristine waters of the Caribbean for a playground until two years ago, when he and his family moved to America.


"I would always cook a healthy dinner," the 13-year-old's mother, Visha Siew-Narine, says about mealtime on the island. "When he came here, I think the fascination of having all this food that we couldn't afford in Jamaica, or that wasn't really available, that was kind of new to him."

In suburban Atlanta, things changed fast. The new foods were cheap, unhealthy and hard to resist: toaster waffles, corn dogs and the chocolate syrup Adrian liked so much he guzzled it straight from the bottle.

"I would eat a lot because I was bored," he says. "I was sitting on the couch just watching TV, not playing a lot."

Within months, Adrian was in trouble. He'd packed on 30 pounds. Doctors said he had hypertension, high cholesterol and was at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
I hate to say it, but, we’ve seen this before. Asian immigrants also have a heard time adjusting to all the garbage food polluting our food supply; White Kids Have Highest Diabetes Rate.

Thursday: Health Points

Burger King Holdings Inc., the world's second largest hamburger chain, said it has set nutritional guidelines to follow when targeting children under 12 in advertising, including limiting ads to Kids Meals that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30 percent of calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.

In that vein, Burger King is building a Kids Meal that will contain the flame-broiled Tenders, organic unsweetened applesauce and low-fat milk, for a total of 305 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. It will be available in restaurants sometime in 2008, the company said.

The fast-food chain is also developing what it calls BK Fresh Apple Fries. The red apples are cut to resemble french fries and are served in the same containers as fries, but they are not fried and are served skinless and cold.
The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.


Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.

Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.
One study found that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, doubled the risks of heart failure and raised the risks of heart attack by 42 percent. A second study found that Actos, a similar drug made by Takeda, actually lowered the risks of heart attacks, strokes and death but, like Avandia, also raised risks of heart failure.


Taken together, some of the authors said, the two studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association confirm what doctors and patients using Avandia have already done in great numbers, that is, switch to another drug. Sales of Avandia have plunged.

GlaxoSmithKline said in a written statement that the studies were flawed and “offered no new information on the safety of Avandia.” The company “continues to support Avandia as safe and effective when used appropriately,” the statement said.
Obesity has more than doubled in Australia in the last 20 years and is placing an uncomfortable strain not only on waistlines but on health services, the Australian General Practice Network said.


To combat the spiralling problem, it wants the government to give the overweight a 170 dollar (141 dollar US) subsidy to do something about their expanding physique.

The network, which represents general practitioners, said effective weight-loss programmes were often too expensive, particularly for those with modest incomes.
Amid worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials, among others around the country, are proposing to limit new fast-food restaurants -- a tactic that could be called health zoning.


The City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A., a part of the city where fast food is at least as much a practicality as a preference.

"The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.
"This is a major public-health problem," said Rebecca Din-Dzietham of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, who led the study, which will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. "Unless this upward trend in high blood pressure is reversed, we could be facing an explosion of new cardiovascular-disease cases in young adults and adults."


With an adult form of diabetes already being diagnosed more frequently in children and more young people developing high cholesterol, the new finding is another indication that the obesity epidemic is spawning a generation at heightened risk for illnesses that struck their parents and grandparents only later in life, experts said.

"This is very worrisome," said Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "This is another piece of evidence suggesting that the obesity epidemic will likely turn into a heart-disease epidemic."
A gaping hole exists between conventional medicine and diet. Conventional medicine claims that the cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown. Medical doctors, as practitioners of conventional medicine, are not trained to explain how it happened. They treat symptoms with medicine. The business of medicine is medicine. The business of diabetes would be devasted if the cure was as simple as diet. The explanation Thomas Smith provides in his empirical studies is fascinating and I encourage anybody with competing or supporting evidence to open the debate.
"Women who have this disorder usually are interested in exercise to improve their appearance, but an instructor who emphasizes physique during a workout may deter such students from coming back," said Brian Focht, assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State, and a co-author of the study.


The study, which was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, indicated women in the study reported that they enjoyed a step aerobics class more when the instructor focused on how the workout was making them more fit.

Even though most of the women studied took the class primarily because they were concerned about their body image, they enjoyed the class less and were less likely to take another if the instructor emphasized how a particular exercise would tone their legs, slim their waists, or otherwise improve their appearance, the researchers found.
A new study from Yale shows that 75 percent of physicians in training surveyed do not understand the statistics used in medical literature. The study surveyed internal medicine residents at 11 programs across the country.


The residents scored an average of 41% correct on the test and the senior residents scored worse than the junior residents, possibly reflecting a loss of knowledge over time.

Health Insurance: Points of Interest

After speaking with underwriters in the top 40 or so companies, Ed Hinerman, a life insurance specialist with the Hinerman Group, found a discernible lack of interest due to lack of data. Companies would say that they couldn't consider someone with type 1 diabetes until they were either age 15 or age 20. A peer in the industry told Ed the knee jerk reaction was because insurance companies haven't done mortality studies on children. They simply don't have any data upon which to base the pricing for products. Uh oh!! That coupled with the fact that there really isn't any financial incentive for them to study and create products for a relatively small market that would produce relatively low premium, kind of sets the tone. Well, now the war has been defined and the battles are becoming clearer…

…Bottom line. Life insurance companies make big money and for them to cut and run from children just because it might not make them more big bucks, or because they really haven't done their homework and aren't interested in doing it, isn't acceptable. Game on! I hope we can make a good showing, at the very least - hit one out of the park for the fans. Thanks for inviting me to play, Ed!
Premiums for employer-based health insurance have risen 6.1 percent in 2007, down from a 7.7 percent increase a year earlier, according to an annual survey of about 2,000 employers by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group.


But despite the slowdown in premium increases, the cost for family coverage has risen 78 percent since 2001, while wages rose 19 percent and prices for goods and services have risen 17 percent in that period, according to the report.

"Even though the rate of increase is moderating a little bit, nobody is celebrating, because it's year after year of increases," the foundation's president, Drew Altman, said.

The findings come days after the government unexpectedly said U.S. employers cut 4,000 jobs in August, the first drop in four years. The moderation in premium rises comes amid robust economic growth, but that is seen threatened if growth stalls.

Insulin for Type II Diabetes Makes Things Worse

Insulin works less effectively when people eat fatty foods or gain weight. Diets containing less fat improve insulin sensitivity, as does weight loss.1 An individual who is overweight requires more insulin, whether he or she is diabetic or not. In fact, giving overweight diabetic people even more insulin makes them sicker by promoting weight gain. They become even more diabetic. How does this process work? Our pancreas secretes the amount of insulin demanded by the body. A person of normal weight with about a third of an inch of periumbilical fat will secrete X amount of insulin. Let’s say this person gains about twenty pounds of fat. His body will now require more insulin, almost twice as much, because fat on the body blocks the uptake of insulin into the cells.

If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it — pancreatic poop-out.

The pancreas begins to secrete less insulin, in spite of the huge demands of the body. Eventually, with less insulin available to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, the glucose level in the blood starts to rise and the person gets diagnosed with diabetes. In most cases, these individuals are still secreting an excessive amount of insulin (compared with a person of normal weight), just not enough for them. When they eat a less taxing diet and lose weight, they don’t need the extra insulin to control the sugars.

What this means is that typical Type II diabetes is caused by overweight in individuals who have a smaller reserve of insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. In the susceptible individual, even ten to twenty pounds of excess weight could make the difference. Losing the extra weight enables these individuals to live within the capabilities of their body. Most Type II diabetics still produce enough insulin to maintain normalcy as long as they maintain a thinner, normal weight.

Following a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the most important thing a diabetic individual can do to extend his or her life span. It has been known for years that intentional weight loss improves diabetics’ blood sugars, lipids, and blood pressure. A recent study documented a significant increase in life expectancy, with an average of 25 percent reduced premature mortality when diabetic individuals dropped their body weight.2 Imagine the results when a program of nutritional excellence achieves the weight loss.

Insulin is a dangerous drug for Type II diabetics. These are people who are overweight to begin with. Insulin therapy will result in further weight gain, accelerating their diabetes. A vicious cycle begins that usually causes patients to require more and more insulin as they put on the pounds. When they come to see me for the first time, they report their sugars are impossible to control in spite of massive doses of insulin, which they are now combining with oral medication. It is like walking around with a live hand grenade in your pocket ready to explode at any minute.
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Wednesday: Health Points

China will clamp down on foods tainted with illegal and excessive chemicals as it seeks to quell domestic and foreign alarm about toxins in meat, seafood and vegetables, the country's top agriculture official said…

…Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai said consumers had no reason to fear eating most of the nation's farm produce, while the nation's quality inspection agency announced comprehensive food export tagging in a bid to reassure customers.
A study of nearly 1,700 children in rural Missouri found that those who usually ate homegrown fruits and veggies had one full serving more a day than those who didn't and were more likely to prefer the types of produce that they grew at home.


You don't need to live in the country to garden with kids. If you'd like to test out your green thumb with your youngsters, you can try container gardening (here's a tip: hollowed out oranges or grapefruit make excellent bio-degradable containers), planting in a window box, or even digging a small plot like we did. The joy is in the digging, the planting, the getting dirty, and the time spent together, as well as fresh veggies all summer long.
One child in five will be obese in the Netherlands by 2015, according to a study carried out by the Nicis research institute in the country's major cities, the Dutch news agency ANP reported Tuesday.


Fewer than 10 percent of children in primary school manage to average half an hour exercise a day. Among teenagers, it is fewer than 30 percent.


As a result, by 2015 one Dutch child in five will be too heavy, Nicis found.
The study tracked the eating habits of more than two thousand people over a ten year period. Wow. The researchers also reported that those whose diets contained fiber from mainly cereal or fruit sources did not fare so well - they had a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than those getting lots of fiber from veggie sources. The reason could be that foods high in vegetable fiber produce smaller fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels than would cereal or fruits. Lead researcher, Alan Barclay, says legumes are the best fiber source of all.
One study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated this in 2003. The study, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that eating protein-rich foods — like milk — decreased the ability of tryptophan to enter the brain.


The trick, the study showed, is to eat foods high in carbohydrates, which stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin, in turn, makes it easier for tryptophan to enter the brain.

But surveys have found that many people swear by milk as a sleep aid, and that may have something to do with psychology.
The interaction of vitamins and minerals in the body (synergy) can have a strong impact on the effectiveness of many of them, but this seems like an odd one to me. Nevertheless, lipid and ascorbic acid interaction was studied in terms of possible cancer contributions to the upper stomach area (which is sensitive to cancerous issues and tumor development).
A Consumer Reports magazine poll released July 25 of 3,048 parents who have children ages 5 to 17 found that 91% say childhood obesity is a problem in the USA. But of the parents of children whose body mass index (BMI) categorizes them as overweight, half say their kids weigh what they should.


Only 36% of the parents with heavy children say their physician has suggested their child lose weight; the other 64% say the doctor didn't mention it.

Many parents simply don't realize their children are overweight, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in private practice in Chicago and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The doctor never told them. Other kids in the class look like their child, and their kid seems pretty healthy," she says.
What can you do to lower your salt intake? You can eat fewer processed foods and become a savvy label reader. You can make more of your foods at home and use spices instead of salts to flavor food. When eating out, ask for unsalted foods and empty your salt shaker at home. You can even consider making your own bread, since bread and cereal products account for a large portion of our daily intake. Shoot for 1,500 to 2,400 mg of salt a day, which seems like a lot but is much lower than the 4,000 to 6,000 mg the average American eats today.