Thursday: Health Points
- This’ll scare the pants off you. The New York Times takes a look at the poisonous cocktail you could be creating when you take multiple medications. More from Jane E. Brody:
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.
- More good news for exercise! A new study has determined that any kind of exercise is good for diabetics. Maggie Fox of Reuters is on it:
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.
- Well, it’s a lofty goal, but according to the Associated Press the FDA wants kids to start reading food labels. Check it out:
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.
- In general some websites can be pretty confusing to weed through, but, a new study has determined that hospital info on the web can be misleading. From HealthDay News:
"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.
- E. coli, in the news again! Apparently Dole has recalled bagged salad mix due an E. coli scare. The reports:
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.
- Running is fun! The wind rushing by you, heart pounding—what a rush! But if you’re not a runner, MSN Health & Fitness has a nice little article to help get you interested. Take a look:
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."
- Aetiology is blogging about a British hospital’s edict banning doctors from wearing neckties because they spread disease. Here’s more:
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.
- Wait. Drugs have side-effects? Duh! According to Reuters the FDA has issued a warning that the schizophrenia drug Haldol can cause heart problems. Read on:
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.
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