Category Archives: Diabetes

May 24 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: May 24

Drops Seen in Heart Disease and Stroke for People with Diabetes

Death rates for people with diabetes dropped 23 percent from 1997 to 2006, however deaths related to heart disease and stroke dropped by 40 percent, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, who published their findings in a recent issue of Diabetes Care.

Researchers evaluated 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data from nearly 250,000 adults. Although adults with diabetes still are more likely to die younger than those who do not have the disease, the gap is narrowing according to the study. The researchers say the lowered rates of stroke and heart disease are the result of better management of diabetes, and some healthy lifestyle changes including lower smoking rates and more physical activity among people with diabetes. Obesity rates in this group, increased, however. Read more on diabetes.

Small Weight Loss Can Reduce Hormones that Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that even a five percent weight loss can reduce sex hormones that are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The weight loss can reduce the risk by a quarter to a half for common, estrogen-sensitive breast cancer, according to the study.

The study was based on data from 439 overweight-to-obese, non-active Seattle-area women, ages 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: exercise only (mainly brisk walking), diet only, exercise plus diet and no intervention. At the end of the study, participants in the diet-only and diet-plus-exercise arms lost an average of 10 percent of their starting weight, which was the goal of the intervention.

The study measured the effects of diet- and exercise-related weight loss on blood levels of several types of sex hormones, including three forms of estrogen, and found significant reductions in hormone levels among the women who received the dietary weight loss intervention, with the most significant results among women who dieted and also exercised. Read more on cancer prevention.

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May 17 2012
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WHO World Health Statistics: Growing Burden of Non-communicable Diseases

World Health Statistics 2012, a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows progress in some health problems that have vexed the developing world, such as maternal deaths in childbirth, but also highlights the growing problem of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. This is the first year that the report has tracked cases of diabetes and high blood pressure.

According to the WHO:

  • One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure
  • One in 10 adults has diabetes
  • Half a billion people worldwide (12% of the world population) are obese

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Apr 20 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: April 20

2011 Worst Year for Measles in 15 Years

A new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that there were 222 cases and 17 outbreaks of measles in the United States last year—more than four times the usual annual rate, and the highest number of reported cases of measles in the nation in the last fifteen years. In the ten years between 2001 and 2011, an average of 60 cases and four outbreaks were reported each year.

Most of the Measles cases in 2011 were in people who had traveled abroad, half to Europe where there have been significant measles outbreaks in the last few years. A significant number of those who developed measles last year were between the ages of 16 months and 19 years and eligible to be vaccinated against measles, but had not been vaccinated because of philosophical, religious or personal exemptions. Read the latest infectious disease news.

New Diabetes Guidelines Released

New guidelines for managing elevated blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes have been released by the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The new guidelines call for a more patient-centered approach that allows for individual patient needs, preferences and tolerances, and takes into account differences in age and disease progression. The guidelines also call for providing all patients with diabetes education, in an individual or group setting, focusing on diet, increased physical activity and weight management. The organizations behind the guidelines encourage health care professionals to develop individualized treatment plans based on a patient’s specific symptoms; co-morbidities; age; weight; racial, ethnic, and gender differences; and lifestyles. Read more on diabetes.

VA to Add Mental Health Workers to Aid Returning Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it will add about 1,600 mental health clinicians, including nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, as well as nearly 300 support staff to the existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff, as part of an ongoing review of mental health operations.

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Mar 29 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: March 29

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline

Death rates from all cancers combined for men, women and children continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2008. The overall rate of new cancer diagnoses among men decreased by an average of 0.6 percent per year between 2004 and 2008. Overall cancer incidence rates among women declined 0.5 percent per year from 1998 through 2006, with rates leveling off from 2006 through 2008.

The report was co-authored by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society. Read more cancer news.

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Mar 27 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: March 27

Today is Diabetes Alert Day

Today is Diabetes Alert Day. Sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) , the goal of the day is to encourage Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The test includes questions on weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or diabetes. According to the ADA, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes. About 7 million of those are undiagnosed. Read more on diabetes prevention.

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Mar 23 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: March 23

Tuberculosis Cases Drop in U.S. But Remain High among Minorities

Tuberculosis rates in 2011 fell 6.4 percent from 2010, an all-time low for the U.S., to a rate of 3.4 cases per 100,000 people. Compared to whites, however, TB infection rates were seven times higher for Hispanics, eight times higher for blacks and 25 times higher for Asians. TB rates are also high for people with HIV/AIDS. Read more news related to health disparities.

NIH: Interventions to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Are a Good Investment

Programs that include medication and/or lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults would result in fewer people developing diabetes and lower some health care costs over time, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Diabetes Care. The programs may also improve the quality of life for some people who would otherwise develop diabetes. Read more on prevention.

Some Narcotics for Cancer Pain May Promote Tumor Growth

Opioid drugs used to relieve pain in postoperative and chronic cancer patients may stimulate the growth and spread of tumors, according to two studies in the journal Anesthesiology. A key reason may be that some tumors may have more opioid receptors than non-cancerous cells. Read more cancer news.

Feb 17 2012
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Living Well With Chronic Disease

Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action is a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arthritis Foundation to help identify public health actions to reduce disability and improve the function and quality of life for people living with chronic illness.

Among the major findings of the report:

  • All chronic illnesses hold the potential to worsen the overall health of our nation by limiting an individual’s capacity to live well.
  • Evidence-based interventions aimed at preventing chronic disease (such as stopping smoking, eating better and limiting weight gain) need to be studied in people with one or more chronic illnesses to assess their effectiveness in preventing further illness.
  • Enhanced collaboration among the public health, health care, and community sectors could produce better prevention and treatment outcomes for people living with chronic disease.

NewPublicHealth spoke with Robert Wallace, MD, chair of the IOM committee that developed the report. Dr. Wallace is the director of the Center on Aging at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

NewPublicHealth: What do you think would strengthen public health actions to manage chronic disease?

Dr. Wallace: A complex question. First of all, everyone appreciates that improving the quality of life for people with chronic illness and mitigating progression is a job jointly for the health care system and the public health system. There really needs to be a lot of research. This wasn’t supposed to be a research treatise, and it’s not in the end, but what comes up all the time is–do public health interventions to prevent diseases also reach and have an impact on persons who already have a chronic illness? And that’s not quite so well known.

People with chronic illness need prevention for not only the illnesses they have and follow-on illnesses, but they need primary prevention for everything else because they’re still citizens trying to make their way in the world. And so one of the questions is: irrespective of what disease they have, we should try to get people to stop smoking or to take the fat out of their diet or get some more exercise or whatever it happens to be. So, one of the main points here then is that we need to know more about how public health interventions reach people with chronic illness and does it help them?

NPH: What benefits could be had from enhanced collaboration among public health, health care and community non-health sectors?

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Jan 26 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: January 26

USDA Releases New School Meal Requirements

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released new meal requirements aimed at raising standards for school meals for the first time in more than fifteen years. The goal of the effort is to improve the health of the nearly 32 million kids that get meals at school. The new standards include:

  • Offer both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
  • Substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods;
  • Offer only fat-free or low-fat milk;
  • Ensure proper portion size, adjusted for age of the children served; and
  • Reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.

Read more on school health.

Kellogg Foundation Report Outlines Critical Needs to Advance Oral Health Care in the U.S.

A new report, Oral Health Quality Improvement in the Era of Accountability, released today by the Kellogg Foundation, looks at ways to improve oral health care in the U.S., including better integrated and electronic dental records, an expanded role for allied dental professionals and better measurement of oral health outcomes.

A key finding of the report is that systemic barriers have impeded change, including:

  • There is limited evidence on best practices for most dental procedures, leading to widespread variation in clinical decisions among dentists;
  • The government only pays for about six percent of dental care nationally, and dental practices and their patients are not part of a larger provider organization pushing for improvements; and
  • The system lacks incentives to implement quality improvement programs.

Diets High in Animal Fat Increase the Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Women who consumed a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were at higher risk for gestational diabetes than women whose diets were lower in animal fat and cholesterol, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Read more on maternal and infant health.

Jan 25 2012
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Faces of Public Health: Dr. John Buse

Dr. John Buse, Chair of the National Diabetes Education Program

John Buse, MD, PhD, director of the Diabetes Care Center and chief of the Division of Endocrinology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, was just recently named the new chair of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The role of NDEP, established in 1997, is to foster public and private partnerships to improve diabetes management and outcomes, to promote early diagnosis, and to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. Currently, nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and 79 million have prediabetes, which puts them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Over the next decade, an estimated forty million more U.S. adults could develop the condition.

NewPublicHealth spoke with Dr. Buse recently about his new position at NDEP.

NewPublicHealth: What innovations might you like to try at NDEP?

Dr. Buse: I think the program has been remarkably successful over almost 15 years. NDEP has developed a lot of materials, and the focus now is on working through partnerships to get the materials out there to a greater extent. Our research unit at UNC has done a lot of work with the pharmaceutical industry and clinical trials in diabetes and cardiovascular disease and I do think there’s an opportunity to partner with industry. They provide materials to primary care doctors and health care systems to use in patient education. They generally develop those materials themselves. I think there’s potentially an opportunity to have them use the NDEP materials with the NDEP being sort of an honest broker in developing educational programs free of undue influence from the pharmaceutical industry. So I think that’s a potential opportunity. The resources of NDEP are pretty modest compared to the scope of the diabetes problem, so leveraging our little tiny budget through partnerships is really the way to have an impact.

And as universal health care coverage is slated to come into existence in 2014, the improved access to care will create lots of opportunities to improve diabetes care and the education is really critical in that process. Health care systems and insurance plans and legislatures are looking more and more carefully at diabetes and obesity as major areas of cost and expenditures.

NPH: Can you tell us the key mandates of NDEP?

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Jan 25 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: January 25

ACOG Recommends Gynecologists and Obstetricians Screen All Patients for Intimate Partner Abuse

Obstetricians and gynecologists should screen all patients for intimate partner violence, including during prenatal visits, according to new recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Read more on violence and health.

Lower-limb Amputations Decline Among U.S. Diabetes Patients

The rate of leg and foot amputations among U.S. adults aged 40 and older with diagnosed diabetes declined by 65 percent between 1996 and 2008, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal Diabetes Care. The study also found that among people with diagnosed diabetes in 2008, men, blacks and adults aged 75 years and older had the highest rates of leg and foot amputations. The study authors say that that improvements in blood sugar control, foot care and diabetes management, along with declines in cardiovascular disease likely contributed to the decline in amputations. Get more diabetes news.

Lower Income Adults May Have a Harder Time Quitting Smoking than More Affluent Smokers

A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health found that smokers with lower socioeconomic status had less success quitting smoking than more affluent counterparts in the same cessation program.

The researchers examined socioeconomic disparities in a community-based tobacco dependence treatment program. Both behavioral therapy and nicotine patches were provided to 2,739 smokers. The researchers found that the probability of not smoking three months after treatment among study participants was 55 percent greater for the highest socioeconomic status than for the lowest socioeconomic status smokers at three months, and 2.5 times greater at six months. Researchers also found that the less affluent participants had fewer resources and less environmental support to help them keep from smoking. Get the latest tobacco news updates.