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Health Updates 25 January 2012

  • Nutrition: No obesity link to junk food in schools: “In the fight against childhood obesity, communities all over the country are banning the sale of sweets and salty snacks in public schools.  But a new study suggests that the strategy may be ineffective.  Researchers at Pennsylvania State University tracked the body mass indexes of 19,45 students from fifth through eighth grade….The researchers compared children’s weight in schools where junk food was sold and in schools where it was banned….No matter how the researchers looked at the data, they could find no correlation at all between obesity and attending a school where sweets and salty snacks were available.  ‘Food preferences are established early in life’, said Jennifer Van Hook, the lead author and a professor of sociology and demography at Penn State.  ‘This problem of childhood obesity cannot be placed solely in the hands of schools.'” (NY Times)
  • Treating diabetes, depression together may make sense: “Patients with depression and type 2 diabetes showed more improvement when they received simultaneous treatment for both conditions, researchers report.  Their 12-week study of 180 patients found that nearly 61 percent of those who received integrated care combined with a brief program to help them adhere to their medication regimens achieved improved blood sugar test results, and almost 59 percent had a reduction in depression symptoms….There is a link between depression and diabetes….Depression is a risk factor for diabetes, and diabetes also increases the risk of depression.  Depression is common in diabetes patients and contributes to poor adherence to diabetes medication regimens, which can lead to poorer diabetes management.” (HealthDay)
  • Severe allergic reactions after vaccinations rare: “Sudden, severe allergic reactions are ‘extremely rare’ after childhood vaccinations, according to a new study.  British researchers reviewed 15 suspected cases of children younger than 16 who experienced anaphylaxis after receiving vaccinations to protect against measles, HPV, meningitis, hepatitis or typhoid…only seven of the cases were confirmed as anaphylaxis….All seven children recovered fully.  Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that the incidence of anaphylaxis is 12 cases for every 100,000 vaccines doses, CBS News reported. (Archives of Disease in Childhood/HealthDay)
  • FDA okay for marijuana-based cancer pain drug sought: “A  British company hopes to gain US Food and Drug Administration approval for a marijuana-based mouth spray to treat cancer pain.  The product – called Sativex – contains two components of marijuana, delta9-THC and cannabidiol.  The product has been approved in Canada, New Zealand and a number of European countries to relieve the muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis….Sativex is currently in advanced clinical trials and maker GW Pharma hopes to get FDA approval for use of the medicine in cancer patients by the end of 2013.” (Associated Press/womenshealth.gov)
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