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Health Updates 6 September 2011

  • CDC forecasts about half of Americans will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives: “There are ‘unacceptably high levels of mental illness in the United States’, said Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC.  ‘Essentially, about 25 percent of adult Americans reported having a mental illness in the previous year.  In addition to the high level, we were surprised by the cost associated with that – we estimated about $300 billion in 2002.’  The high cost includes care for the illness and lost productivity, Arias said.” (USA Today/HealthDay)
  • To reduce heartburn, don’t eat four hours before bedtime? “Most people who get nighttime heartburn have heard the rule about eating before going to sleep: Avoid it.  The kitchen cutoff time, doctors say, should be three to four hours before bed.  But does it really make a difference?  While the advice is ages old, only recently has it been the focus of studies.  And the verdict, according to researchers, is that it’s good rule to follow.”  All sorts of studies now support the advice.  And researchers say that the three to four hours guideline is about the amount of time it takes for food to clear the stomach.  “In chronic heartburn, stomach acid slips into the esophagus, and that’s more likely when lying in bed shortly after a meal, when gravity is not helping to keep digestive juices in the stomach.” So, the bottom line: eating more than three or four hours before going to bed really does reduce the chance of nighttime heartburn.  (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)
  • Five key health attributes could reduce the risk of developing diabetes, says study: “Those who were least likely to receive a diabetes diagnosis shared five key health attributes: normal weight, nonsmoking, physically active, a healthy diet, little or no drinking.” (CNN)
  • The sudden death of football Hall of Fame’s Lee Roy Selmon triggers discussion about strokes and treatment: “Selmon was stricken Friday afternoon at his home.  It wasn’t known if he was alone at the time, and if so, how long it took for someone to summon help.  He reportedly was not breathing when paramedics arrived…The damage a stroke does depends on a number of factors, including the patient’s medical condition at the time of the stroke.  Uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease all are among the chronic diseases that can mean more extensive stroke damage.” (St Petersburg Times)
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