Category Archives: Diabetes
Study: Many Insurers Not Covering Tobacco Treatments Mandated by Affordable Care Act
Many health insurers are not providing coverage for tobacco cessation treatments mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and commissioned by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids with funding from Pfizer, Inc. Researchers found that many of the policies contained “confusing or conflicting language” that made it difficult for consumers to determine whether cessation treatments are covered by their insurance, according to a Tobacco-Free Kids release. They recommend that federal and state regulators clarify for insurers the requirements under the ACA. "Tobacco use is a leading risk factor for cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious chronic conditions,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Tobacco-Free Kids. “Covering effective tobacco cessation treatments is a smart way for insurers to avoid the cost of future illness, and it is the law." Read more on tobacco.
AAP: Pediatricians Should Prescribe Emergency Contraception in Advance
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that pediatricians provide advance prescriptions for emergency contraception for girls under 17, who are banned by federal law from getting the drug over the counter. This will enable them to get treatment more quickly. "It's just common sense that requiring a prescription is a barrier," said Bill Alpert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "If an august and respected medical group like AAP is suggesting providing emergency contraception to minors is OK, that is a big deal." See more on teen pregnancy.
CDC: Number of Kids with Diabetes to Jump Dramatically by 2050
The number of American kids with type 2 diabetes could climb nearly 50 percent by 2050, according to a new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Diabetes Care. Type 1 could increase by about 23 percent. Assuming the rates stay even, in 2050 there could be 203,000 U.S. children with type 1 and 30,000 with type 2. The numbers jump dramatically if the rate current rate increases, demonstrating the need for addressing the causes of diabetes today. "We need to think as a society that diabetes is a public health issue that must be addressed," said Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. "In the last century, we've dealt with things like sanitation and clean water as public health issues. Well, the current epidemic of diabetes and the potential growth is a public health risk that we need to address. Even staying where we are is unsustainable." Read more on diabetes.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Heart Association Announce Joint Effort to Combat Childhood Obesity
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have announced a new collaboration aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. The joint advocacy initiative will focus on changing federal, state and local policies in ways that research shows are likely to have the greatest impact on the epidemic. RWJF will provide AHA with $8 million in initial funding to begin the effort. Read more on obesity.
NAS to Establish $350M, 30-year Program to Improve Health in the Gulf Coast Region
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will establish a $350 million, 30-year program to study and improve human health and environmental protection policy in the Gulf Coast region. The funds come from the $4 billion fine BP has agreed to pay over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The work will include oil spill prevention, education, research and training. NAS, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council will all work on the long-term program. Read more on disasters.
Study: Diabetes Cases Up Dramatically Since 1995
The number of people with diabetes in the United States jumped dramatically between 1995 and 2010, according to a new study in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Total cases climbed by at least 50 percent in 42 states, with 18.8 diagnosed cases in 2010 and an estimated 7 million undiagnosed cases. The numbers were especially high in the South and Appalachian areas. Researchers noted that the increase in cases could be because improved treatments are allowing people to live longer. "These rates will continue to increase until effective interventions and policies are implemented to prevent both diabetes and obesity," said Ann Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, in a statement. Read more on diabetes.
RWJF Pledges $5 Million to Support Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts in New Jersey
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., will provide $5 million to selected non-profit agencies to help New Jersey residents recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. That includes two grants, already distributed, of $250,000 each to the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The additional funding will be given to help with recovery, rebuilding and social service support, including mental health services for individuals and families in the state. Foundation executives will be meeting with state and local government agencies, relief and social service organizations and civic leaders to determine allocation of the funds. Read more on disasters.
House, Senate Holding Hearings on Meningitis Outbreak
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is set to hold a hearing titled "The Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: Could It Have Been Prevented?" to investigate the outbreak that has caused 32 deaths and infected 438 other people. It is believed the source of the outbreak is tainted steroids from the New England Compounding Center, in Framingham, Mass. Many members of Congress have suggested the outbreak demonstrates the need for increased regulation of compounding pharmacies. The Senate is also holding hearings, with U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg scheduled to testify about the outbreak before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Read more on infectious disease.
Worldwide Diabetes Cases at Record High
The number of diabetes cases worldwide is at a record high, according to a new report released today on World Diabetes Day. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that approximately 371 million people have diabetes, with as many as 187 million of those still undiagnosed. Diabetes can lead to serious medical problems such as nerve damage, kidney damage and blindness; about 4.8 million people die due to complications from diabetes each year. The most common type of diabetes is Type 2, which can be managed through changes in diet, weight loss, regular exercise and medication. Read more on diabetes. While traditionally found most often in western countries, it is spreading in poorer areas such as sub-Saharan Africa. Read more on diabetes.
Half of HIV Patients on Meds Skip Treatment When Drinking
A new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine finds that about half of HIV patients taking antiretroviral medications stop taking the drugs when they drink alcohol, in part due to a mistaken fear that mixing the two is toxic. "I think it's pretty well demonstrated that alcohol use is tied to poor adherence, and I think most people think it's because they're impaired in some way or they forget... whereas here it shows they're (often) intentionally missing their medications," said Catherine Grodensky, a researcher at the Center for AIDS Research at the University of North Carolina, according to Reuters. In addition to not actually treating the disease, failure to take HIV drugs continuously can also lead to drug resistance. Read more on HIV/AIDS.
Youth Deaths from Diabetes Down Significantly Over Past Several Decades
Child and teen deaths related to diabetes have dropped by 61 percent in the last 40 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Potential contributing factors to the impressive decline include improved care and treatment, as well as increased awareness of symptoms that helps doctors treat the disease sooner. However, the rate increased for youth ages 10-19 between 1984 and 2009, which researchers say will require further study to explain. "Physicians need to emphasize diabetes awareness, lifestyle modification, psychological issues, and use of insulin pumps in young diabetic patients," said Spyros Mezitis, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved with the study. Read more on diabetes.
Study: Regular Exercise Cuts the Risk of Dementia
The risk of dementia in old age is lower for people who exercise regularly, according to a new study in the journal Stroke. Researchers looked at approximately 600 people in their 60s and 70s, finding exercise cut the risk by about 40 percent and demonstrating the importance of at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. "The health of the body and brain are indelibly linked, and caring well for the one benefits the other,” said David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “One may think that exercise is mostly about conditioning muscles, but this study suggests it is just as important for preserving a well-functioning mind." Read more on older adults.
Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Diabetes
Lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of developing conditions that lead to diabetes, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers found the ability to respond to insulin was down approximately 30 percent in people who did not receive a proper amount of sleep. "It's always been thought that the primary function of sleep was for the brain, but in addition to the brain, your fat cells also need sleep,” said Matthew Brady, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “Too little sleep makes you groggy, and the same thing happens on a metabolic level. Cells don't behave as they normally would, and this can lead to insulin resistance." Read more on diabetes.
Adult Smoking in Cars Puts Kids at Serious Health Risk
Even with ventilation from open windows or a running air conditioner, smoking by adults in cars produces dangerously high levels of pollutants that endanger child passengers, according to a new study in the journal Tobacco Control. Secondhand smoke has been identified as a factor in asthma, wheezing, middle ear disease and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. "Children are likely to be at greater risk from [secondhand smoke] exposure due to their faster breathing rates, less developed immune system and their inability to move away from the source in many home and car settings," said Sean Semple,MD, of the Scottish Centre for Indoor Air at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Read more on tobacco.
Kids with ADHD Less Likely than Peers to Do Well as Adults
Kids with ADHD symptoms are more likely than their non-ADHD peers to have a harder time as adults, including less education, lower income and higher rates of substance abuse, according to a new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry. "A lot of them do fine, but there is a small proportion that is in a great deal of difficulty," said Rachel Klein, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. "They go to jail, they get hospitalized." The study looked at 135 white men who showed signs of hyperactivity in school during the 1970s, though researchers were careful to note that none of them would be diagnosed with ADHD today. Those marked as hyperactive clearly did not fare as well overall—for example, only 4 percent had higher degrees, compared to 29 for the non-hyperactive students. Read more on pediatrics.
Teen Smoking Dramatically Increases Risk of Death From Heart Disease
A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that death from heart disease is more common in people who smoked as teens. The study looked at the health histories of approximately 28,000 men. People who started as teens, then later stopped, were still more likely to die early than were non-smokers. People who started as teens and never quit were twice as likely to die early. "The risks are cumulative," David Batty, of the University College London, told Reuters. "If you smoke across a life course, you're at much higher risk than if you just smoked around the college years." Read more on heart health.
CDC Warns of Possibly Contaminated Steroid Linked to Meningitis
A contaminated steroid may be responsible for a rare form of meningitis that has sickened 30 people and killed 5 across 23 states. Health officials are currently attempting to track down anyone who received the methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. It is believed the steroid was contaminated by a fungus. "The CDC and FDA recommend that all health care personnel cease use and remove from their pharmacy inventory any products produced by the New England Compounding Center," said Benjamin Park, MD, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. "CDC also recommends that clinicians contact all patients who received injections from any of the three recalled lots to determine if they are having symptoms." The CDC expects to see more cases due to the time it can take for meningitis symptoms to appear. Read more on infectious diseases.
Study: Electronic Health Records Improve Care for People with Diabetes
A new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that electronic health records can improve the overall quality of treatment for people with diabetes. Specifically, they were linked to increases in medication, monitoring and the control of risk-factors. The study analyzed electronic health records of approximately 17,000 people with diabetes in California. "What we saw in this study is that the [electronic health records] really helped our alignment with quality measures and clinical guidelines for treatment," said Marc Jaffe, MD, clinical leader at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program. "Increases in information availability, decision support and order-entry functionality help clinicians identify the most appropriate patients for drug-treatment intensification and retesting, which leads to better care of patients with diabetes." Read more on diabetes.
Latinos May Be More Vulnerable to Type 2 Diabetes
A new study in Diabetes Care shows Latinos are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes than other groups due to how they store fat in the pancreas and release insulin into the body. The study was conducted by Cedars-Sinai’s Heart Institute, Biomedical Imaging Research Institute and Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. “Prevention of diabetes is our goal,” said Richard Bergman, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. “Not all people who are overweight or obese and who have insulin resistance go on to develop diabetes. If we can determine who is most likely to develop diabetes and why, then we can make strides toward preventing it in those individuals. Read more on diabetes.
NIH Expands Safe Infant Sleep Campaign
The National Institutes of Health is expanding its “Back to Sleep Campaign” into the “Safe to Sleep Campaign.” Where before the campaign focused on reducing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), it will now cover all sleep-related deaths for infants in the United States. The original campaign, founded in 1994, educated parents, caregivers and health care providers on how to prevent SIDS. “In recent years, we’ve learned that many of the risk factors for SIDS are similar to those for other sleep-related causes of infant death,” said Alan E. Guttmacher, MD, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “Placing infants on their backs to sleep and providing them with a safe sleep environment for every sleep time reduces the risk for SIDS as well as death from other causes, such as suffocation.” Read more on infant health.
HHS Releases Common Application for AIDS Drugs to Help Streamline Access for Many Patients
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has started its program to help uninsured HIV patients apply for multiple assistance programs with a single application. The Common Patient Assistance Program Application (CPAPA) is a product of HHS and seven major pharmaceutical companies and foundations. Patient Assistance Programs help approximately 30,000 people in the United States each year. “The last thing someone living with HIV wants to think about is filling out another form,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This application streamlines and simplifies the process, reduces barriers to medication access, and speeds access to lifesaving drugs.” Read more on HIV.
USC Study Finds Marijuana May Increase the Risk of Testicular Cancer
Recreational marijuana use may increase the risk of certain types of more serious testicular cancer, according to a new study from the University of Southern California published online in CANCER. The study looked at results of recreational drug use in 163 men with the testicular cancer—the most common type of cancer in men ages 15-45—and found they were twice as likely to suffer from non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumors. The findings support previous studies showing a link between marijuana use and testicular cancer. Read more on cancer.
A new study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, examined number of steps walked on average and diabetes risk, and found that people who walked the most were 29 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who walked the least. This study builds on research linking even limited physical activity to lower diabetes risk, and helps to quantify the effect with number of steps taken on average. The association held when accounting for age, smoking status and other diabetes risk factors, but not BMI. Read more on diabetes.
Preventive mammography rates in women in their 40s have dropped nearly 6 percent nationwide since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine mammograms for women in this age group, according a Mayo Clinic analysis. The study was presented at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting this week. Read more NewPublicHealth coverage from the AcademyHealth meeting.
Forty million Americans ages 12 and older have an addiction involving nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, according to a five-year national study released this week by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The study authors say only about 1 in 10 people who need treatment for addiction involving alcohol or other drugs receive it. Read more on substance abuse.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools, aimed at reducing the risk of suicide among high school students. The toolkit provides guidance for school administrators, principals, mental health professionals and others to help identify at risk teens, and also offers resources on how to provide help. The toolkit includes a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). The hotline has answered over 3 million calls since it was launched in 2005. Read more on mental health.
HealthDay is reporting that gastric bypass surgery reverses diabetes in many obese patients but comes back in about 20 percent in three to five years after the operation, according to an unpublished study presented at the Endocrine Society meeting last week. Researchers reviewed the medical records of 72 obese people with diabetes who had a form of bariatric surgery between 2000 and 2007. Read more on diabetes.
Lack of time, knowledge and training in health promotion and lack of success with changing patient behavior were among the top barriers to including effective physical activity counseling among primary care practitioners, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health. The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The researchers say that use of evidence-based counseling methods and strategies as well as following up with patients could help reduce their chance of developing a chronic disease because of a lack of physical activity. Read more on physical activity.
Cereal companies have improved the nutritional quality of most cereals marketed directly to children, but increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products, according to a three-year update on the Yale Rudd Center For Food Policy & Obesity’s Cereal FACTS Report. Read more on nutrition.
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.
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.