More Expecting Moms Diabetic...

A new study has discovered that the number of pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes has more than doubled in seven years. Alicia Chang of the Associated Press reports:
The researchers focused on health records from more than 175,000 ethnically diverse women who gave birth in a dozen Kaiser hospitals in Southern California from 1999 to 2005. Experts believe the findings likely reflect the overall U.S. population.

The actual number of pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes was small. In 1999, there were 245 such women; by 2005, there were 537. That translates to a rate that rose from 8 per 1,000 pregnancies to 18 per 1,000.

The rate increased the greatest among 13- to 19-year-olds giving birth. It ballooned from about 1 per 1,000 pregnancies to 5.5 per 1,000 during the seven-year period.

Blacks, Asians and Hispanics were more likely to have diabetes before pregnancy than whites.

The rise of diabetes among women of childbearing age mirrors the prevalence of the disease in the general population. The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, which is linked to obesity.

About 15 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes, and 1.5 million new cases were diagnosed in people age 20 and older in 2005, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Inhaled Insulin, Lung Cancer Risk

Pfizer has announced that clinical trials of Exubera resulted in increased cases of lung cancer. Lewis Krauskopf of Reuters is on it:
Pfizer Inc and Nektar Therapeutics said on Wednesday clinical trials of the inhaled insulin Exubera found increased cases of lung cancer, leading Nektar to stop seeking a marketing partner for the troubled product and abandon it.

Nektar shares tumbled 25 percent, while shares of MannKind Corp, which has been developing its own inhaled insulin, plummeted 58 percent. Pfizer was down slightly at $20.90.

The lung-cancer revelation dealt a final setback to Exubera, which held the promise of letting diabetics avoid needle sticks and was once projected by Pfizer to be a $2 billion-a-year blockbuster. Instead, Exubera has been a commercial flop that has sullied the inhaled insulin field.
Scary, but not that surprising, because—good or bad—Dr. Fuhrman insists all drugs futz with the normal functioning of the body:
In the first pharmacology lecture that I head in medical school, the physician impressed on us that all drugs are toxic and we should never forget this. We were taught that medications work because of their pharmacologic properties—properties that enable the substance to interfere with, block, or stimulate an activity of the body. Drugs typically modify the way the body expresses the signs and symptoms of disease, but in chronic disease states, they do no undo the damage or remove the disease.
My suspicion is this concept often more often than not, takes a backseat to the pursuit of profits and convenience.

NYC: Fatter, More Diabetes

Unfortunately the Big Apple is getting bigger and less apple-er. Obesity and diabetes rates are rising in NYC. The Associated Press reports:
New York City's obesity and diabetes rates are rising faster than in the rest of the country, a city health department study said.

New York's obesity and diabetes rates each jumped by 17 percent between 2002 and 2004, according to the city Department of Health and Hygiene study. The national obesity rate rose by 6 percent during the same time period, while the diabetes rate held steady nationally at 7 percent, according to the study, published in this month's issue of the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Some 173,500 adult New Yorkers became obese and more than 73,000 were newly diagnosed with diabetes over the two-year period, the city said. In 2002, 19.5 percent of the city's adults were obese; in 2004, 22.8 percent were, the study said.
Don’t follow the crowd. Next time you’re in NYC try popping into one of these healthy restaurants:
Actually, I got to get my butt to Central Park—stat!

Tai Chi and Diabetes

New research claims practicing Tai Chi may help lower or control type-2 diabetes risk. Amy Norton of Reuters reports:
In one study, Taiwanese researchers found that tai chi helped lower long-term blood sugar levels in 30 middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes. In the second, an Australian team found that a combination of tai chi and qigong benefited 11 adults at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Both tai chi and qigong (pronounced "chee-kung") are ancient Chinese practices designed to promote good health. Qigong combines gentle movements, meditation and breathing techniques; tai chi involves slow, fluid movements combined with mental imagery and deep breathing.

Both are moderate, low-impact activities, and recent studies suggest that older adults could reap a number of health benefits from tai chi, such as lower blood pressure, a reduced fall risk and improved arthritis symptoms.

The new studies, both published online by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggest that tai chi might aid in managing type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome -- a collection of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
I’ve never tried Tai Chi—have you?

Don't Want Diabetes, Get Moving

“An essential component of my prescription for diabetes is daily exercise,” explains Dr. Fuhrman.
And so it seems exercise and bodyweight really do impact diabetes risk. Reuters reports:
Lower cardiorespiratory fitness and higher body weight are independently associated with the development of type 2 diabetes in women, new research suggests.

"These findings underscore the critical importance of promoting regular physical activity and maintaining normal weight for diabetes prevention," Dr. Xuemei Sui, of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, said in an interview with Reuters Health.

Sui and associates followed 6,249 women between the ages of 20 and 79 years for 17 years. The women were free of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes at the outset.

A total of 143 women developed type 2 diabetes during follow up. After adjusting for a number of factors including body weight, women in the middle and upper thirds of cardiorespiratory fitness, as determined by a treadmill exercise test, had significantly lower risks of diabetes compared to the least fit third.
Granted, not exactly NEW information, but, an important reminder nonetheless.

Heart Health: Bad News, Good News, Stupid News...

Quick, panic! A new study claims that people with diabetes have the same heart attack risk as individuals who have already had a heart attack. Reuters reports:
The finding, which appears in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, comes from a study of 3.3 million residents of Denmark who were at least 30 years of age. Overall, 2.2 percent of subjects had diabetes and 2.4 percent had a prior heart attack.

Dr. Tina Ken Schramm and colleagues found that, compared with men without diabetes or a prior heart attack, those with diabetes were 2.32-times more likely to experience a stroke, heart attack or death from cardiovascular causes, and those with a prior heart attack were 2.48-times more likely.

For women, the corresponding risks were raised 2.48- and 2.71-times.
You’ve got to do something! How about exercise? New research suggests that modest exercise can fight heart disease. More from the AFP:
French doctors on Tuesday said that an overview of the latest research into sport and good health proved that moderate, frequent exercise combated the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, respiratory disease and depression.

The report by the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) sets a benchmark, for adults, of at least 30 minutes of modest exercise, such as fast walking, at least five times a week, or 20 minutes of harder exercise, such as jogging, three times a week.

Young people are advised to do twice this regime to maintain fitness.
Good, but if you like bike riding. You might want to stay away from The Stupidest Bike Lane in America. Well passes it along:

Now, just in case you haven’t had enough stupid yet. Check out these Weight Loss Sunglasses. No, I’m not joking. Diet Blog is all over it:

This snazzy creation is designed to give food a blue tinge - theoretically rendering food dull and unpalatable. Kind of the opposite phenomenon of "beer goggles"?

While your first instinct may be to snicker (as it should be), there is actual physiological and psychological rationale to this theory: Certain colours tend to stimulate appetite, while others tend to deter it. Apparently, blue is considered to be the least appetizing color of the spectrum, with red and yellow being at the opposite end as a hunger stimulant.
Well George Carlin said it best, in life, there’re a few winners, and a whole-lot of losers. Short bike lanes and magic sunglasses—LOSERS!