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Health Updates 7 July 2011

  • New game plan stops yo-yo dieting: A new study suggests that successful strategies for weight loss and maintenance of that weight loss are different.  “The theoretical underpinnings of most weight-loss programs typically include components of cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as of self-regulation theory to monitor changes.  Weight-maintenance programs have typically used similar concepts, adapted to overcome difficulties in long-term implementation.  But such interventions have had little success, and most dieters regain their lost weight, according to researchers.”  The researchers concluded, “Given the waning motivation to engage in the weight-control process over time, designing interventions that focus on encouraging different practices at different times may enable the creation of more effective weight-loss maintenance interventions”.  (Nancy Walsh, MedPage Today)
  • Study finds Medicaid makes a ‘big difference’ in lives: “Overall, researchers found that compared to people without insurance, those with Medicaid had better access to and used more health care; they were less likely to experience unpaid medical bills; they were more likely to report being in good health; and they were less likely to report feeling depressed.” (NPR)
  • Memory fades faster in the southern ‘stroke belt’ states, study says: “None of the people with cognitive decline in the study had had detectable strokes.  But some experts believe their issues could be related to the same risk factors, including lifestyle patterns that contribute to hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity”. (NY Times)
  • Try massage for chronic back pain: “Even though it’s common knowledge that an old-fashioned muscle-kneading is a great way to relax and reduce pain, the new findings give that notion some clinical teeth.  Having such data in hand is critical for doctors who are discussing options for pain relief for their patients.  ‘We have a huge number of people who get medical tests and treatments for back pain, and we have a huge problem with opioids’, says Dan Cherkin, senior research investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and lead author of the study. ‘In spite of all that, we’re not better off in terms of addressing back pain.  In fact, the problem is getting worse’.”  Study participants had pain associated with wear and tear on muscles, or from being tensed up in front of computer screens for long periods.  Excluded were those whose pain resulted from serious illness or injury.  Study subjects received massage once a week, for at least an hour.  The results indicate that massage is effective, safe and helpful  for those who have not found relief from other treatments. (Huffington Post)

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