Health Updates 21 September 2011

  • Study finds diabetes increases risk of developing Alzheimer’s: “The researchers also found an increased risk for vascular dementia, which is caused by impaired blood flow to the brain.  But the link disappeared when researchers adjusted for lifestyle factors like drinking, smoking and exercise.  It’s not exactly clear why diabetes would make someone more susceptible to dementia, but the researchers offered four physiological explanations, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and microvascular disease, both of which limit blood flow to the brain.  Glucose intolerance could also increase oxidative stress and metabolism problems in the brain, they wrote.” (LA Times)
  • Depression boosts stroke risk: “Being depressed may increase an individual’s risk of stroke and stroke death, a meta-analysis found.  In a review…depression was associated with a 45% increased risk of total stroke and a 55% higher risk of fatal stroke.  ‘Given the high prevalence and incidence of depression and stroke in the general population, the observed association between depression and stroke has clinical and public health importance’ they wrote.” (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
  • Difficulty seen in protecting patients while the government cuts health care programs: “Experience, they say, shows that some cuts in payments to providers hurt beneficiaries, as more doctor refuse to take Medicaid patients or limit the number of new Medicare patients they will accept.  Hospitals curtail services.  Beneficiaries may have more difficulty getting therapy services after a stroke, traumatic brain injury or hip fracture.  By contrast, the experts say, other cuts force health care providers to become more efficient, saving money for beneficiaries, taxpayers and the government. (NY Times)
  • FDA slams Dr. Oz for apple juice report: Mehmet Oz, MD, the Columbia University thoracic surgeon who gained fame first in books and more recently with his syndicated television show, has run afoul of the Food and Drug Administration with his report about levels of arsenic in popular brands of apple juice.  The FDA called the report ‘irresponsible and misleading’ and another TV doc, ABC’s Richard Besser, MD, accused Oz of fear-mongering….The criticism centered primarily on Oz’s testing methods, which provided a level of total arsenic in the juices.  The results do not provide a breakdown of the levels of the two forms of arsenic – organic and inorganic….The organic form o arsenic is ‘essentially harmless’, according to the FDA.  The inorganic form can cause problems at high levels or with a long period of exposure.”  (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)

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