15 March 2018
THURSDAY, March 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Your need for calcium gets a lot of attention, but your body can’t use it without its partner, vitamin D, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Most adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. Recommendations for vitamin D range from the current recommended daily allowance of 600 International Units (IUs), all the way up to 4,000 IUs to best support bone health. Adding key foods to your diet will help you get both these nutrients, which can take extra effort if you’re limiting calories to lose weight. Start with salmon, sardines and tuna, fatty types of fish that have both calcium and vitamin D. For other foods high in calcium, opt for more low-fat milk and yogurt, broccoli, kale, bok choy and other green leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is added to milk, but it isn’t found naturally in many foods other than egg yolks and shiitake mushrooms — a great vegetable for making low-cal dishes. Your body can make vitamin D from sun exposure, but that requires a careful approach to avoid increasing skin cancer risk. It’s also hard to get enough rays during winter months and in some parts of the country. Talk to your health care provider to find out what’s right for you. Many foods are now fortified with vitamin D, calcium or both. A great option is unsweetened almond milk. Some brands deliver half your daily calcium and a quarter of your vitamin D needs in a 30-calorie, 8-ounce glass. Always read nutrition labels because the amounts of these nutrients vary by product and by brand. The calcium content of a food must always be listed in the nutrient panel, but you’re likely to see the vitamin D content only on foods that are fortified with it. More information The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on daily requirements of calcium and vitamin D for different age groups and life stages.
13 March 2018
TUESDAY, March 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A wearable heart defibrillator reduces the overall risk of early death for heart attack survivors, but not the risk of sudden cardiac death, a new study finds. The defibrillator — housed in a lightweight vest worn directly against the skin — continuously monitors the wearer’s heart. It sounds an alarm and/or verbally announces the need for medical care if needed. If a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the defibrillator delivers a shock to restore normal rhythm. The study of 2,300 adult heart attack survivors was partly funded by vest maker Zoll Medical Corp. Patients all had impaired heart function after their heart attack. Those who used the LifeVest wearable defibrillator and took recommended medications were 35 percent less likely to die from any cause within the 90 days of their heart attack than a control group of patients who used medication alone, the study found. But the risk of sudden cardiac death was the same in both groups, according to the study presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Orlando, Fla. Research presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Generally, the three-month death rate for patients recovering from a heart attack who also have reduced heart function is about 5 percent. In this study, 4.9 percent of patients in the medication-only control group and 3.2 percent of those who wore the vest died within three months of their heart attack. “There is a very high risk of death immediately after a heart attack that tails off after about three months. The challenge is that we don’t currently have a good way of preventing deaths during this very vulnerable period,” study author Dr. Jeffrey Olgin said in an ACC news release. Olgin is chief of cardiology at University of California, San Francisco. Implantable defibrillators are not recommended for patients in the 40 to 90 days after a heart attack. The wearable defibrillator may help reduce patients’ overall risk of death until they get an implantable device, Olgin explained. More information The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on life after a heart attack.
12 March 2018
MONDAY, March 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A hip replacement may help seniors live longer — for at least a decade anyway, a new study from Sweden suggests. “Our study suggests that hip replacement can add years to life as well as adding ‘life to years’ — increasing the chances of longer survival as well as improving the quality of life,” said study author Dr. Peter Cnudde. He’s an orthopedic surgeon with the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register in Gothenburg. Cnudde’s team analyzed data on nearly 132,000 residents of Sweden, 68 years old on average, who’d had a total hip replacement between 1999 and 2012. The patients’ progress was assessed for about six years after their operation. In that time, about 16 percent of the study participants died. However, those who’d had the surgery had a longer life expectancy for the decade after their procedure than did people of similar age who had not had a hip replacement. Survival was 1 percent higher among hip replacement patients in the first year after their procedure, 3 percent higher after five years and 2 percent higher after 10 years, the study found. After 12 years, the two groups had similar survival rates. The survival benefit was most significant among people with age-related hip wear and tear — called primary osteoarthritis. They accounted for 91 percent of those who’d had hip replacements. People with a higher number of other health conditions had lower survival odds after hip replacement, as did those who were single and had lower levels of education. The study was published online recently in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Only an association, rather than a cause-and-effect link, was seen in the study. And the reasons why people who’ve had hip replacement surgery seem to live longer remain unclear, according to the researchers, but likely involve many factors. “No surgeon would recommend [total hip replacement] to patients just to live longer,” Cnudde said in a journal news release. “But it is likely that the chances of surviving longer are associated with undergoing the successful operation, for patients in need of a hip replacement.” More information The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on hip replacement.
12 March 2018
MONDAY, March 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Poorer Americans with anal cancer — a highly treatable disease — are more likely to die than wealthier patients, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed 2004-2013 data from 9,550 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the anus. Each year, 8,200 cases are diagnosed in the United States, and more than 1,000 people die of the disease. Patients in areas with lower household incomes had worse rates of overall survival and cancer-specific survival than those in the highest income areas, according to the study published online March 12 in the journal Cancer. Overall, patients with the lowest median household incomes had a 32 percent higher risk of early death compared to the wealthiest patients, the study found. “Our findings reveal that U.S. residents who have anal cancer and live in areas of poverty have worse survival than those who live in more affluent areas, even after accounting for differences in age, stage and race,” study leader Dr. Daniel Becker said in a journal news release. He is an oncologist at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City. The risk of cancer death was also higher among older patients, as well as those who were black, male or unmarried, and whose cancer was more advanced at diagnosis. Income was not linked to the likelihood that a patient would receive radiation therapy. Anal cancer is becoming increasingly common, the researchers noted. They suspect it relates to changing trends in sexual behavior and exposure to known risk factors such as human papilloma virus and tobacco use. “Anal cancer is often a curable disease, and, in light of the tremendous resources available in U.S. health care, we do not believe that poverty should determine cancer outcomes. The ultimate goal is to make sure that all patients receive high quality care, regardless of their wealth or zip code,” Becker concluded. More information The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on anal cancer.
07 March 2018
WEDNESDAY, March 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Living in sunnier climes when young might help shield you from multiple sclerosis decades later, new research suggests. The main factor may be the sun’s ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays, which help the body produce vitamin D, according to a Canadian team. They noted that lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with a rise in risk for multiple sclerosis (MS). The finding isn’t entirely new — other studies have shown lower MS rates in sunnier regions. But, “our study went further, looking at exposure over a person’s life span,” explained lead study author Helen Tremlett, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Tremlett’s team tracked the histories of 151 women with MS who were diagnosed at an average age of 40, and 235 women of similar age without MS. The women lived across the United States and nearly all were white. Women who lived in sunnier regions and had the highest exposure to UV-B rays were 45 percent less likely to develop MS than those who lived in regions with the lowest UV-B exposure, the study found. Sun exposure in youth was key: Women who lived in regions with the highest levels of UV-B exposure between the ages of 5 and 15 were 51 percent less likely to develop MS than those with the lowest UV-B exposure between ages 5 and 15, Tremlett’s group found. More time spent outdoors in summer in youth was similarly tied to lower MS rates decades later, the researchers reported March 7 in Neurology. “Our research showed that those who did develop MS also had reduced sun or outdoor exposure later in life, in both summer and winter, which may have health consequences,” Tremlett said in a journal news release. Still, exposure to the sun’s UV rays has a big down side, too: skin cancer. The American Cancer Society has long warned that tanning and burning, especially, are a prime cause of potentially deadly forms of the disease, such as melanoma. Regarding the MS study, one expert said its findings are in tune with prior research. “While geographic location during adolescence was previously known to be associated with MS risk, the current study demonstrates that sun exposure even later in life affects MS risk,” said Dr. Asaff Harel, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Harel noted, however, that almost all of the study group was white, so, “it will be interesting to determine whether the same relationship applies in a more multi-ethnic study.” More information The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on multiple sclerosis.
02 March 2018
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01 March 2018
THURSDAY, March 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you think that selfie you just took makes your nose look big, you’re not alone. In fact, new research suggests that selfies might be giving Americans a distorted image of their own schnozzes — potentially leading to more requests for nose jobs. That could add up to a lot of nose jobs: In 2014 alone, over 93 billion selfies were taken on Android phones per day, the researchers noted. Because selfies are taken at close range, they can distort the appearance of a person’s nose, explained facial plastic and reconstructive surgery expert Dr. Boris Paskhover. He’s an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “Young adults are constantly taking selfies to post to social media and think those images are representative of how they really look, which can have an impact on their emotional state,” he explained in a Rutgers news release. “I want them to realize that when they take a selfie, they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror,” Paskhover said. To help patients understand this, Paskhover and another researcher created a mathematical model that explains nose distortion in close-up photos. The model shows that an average selfie, taken about 12 inches from the face, makes the base of the nose appear about 30 percent wider and the tip of the nose about 7 percent wider than a photograph taken at the standard 5-foot portrait distance, which provides a more accurate image of the face. A research letter describing the mathematical model was published online March 1 in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 55 percent of its members said people came to them last year to ask about cosmetic surgery because they wanted to look better in selfies. More information The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about cosmetic surgery.
01 March 2018
THURSDAY, March 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Fat can be easy to put on, but much tougher to remove. Now, the latest data shows Americans are increasingly turning to non-surgical means of fat reduction. The annual report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) finds big jumps in the popularity of noninvasive “body shaping” techniques — everything from ultrasound to radio waves, infrared light, injected medications and vacuum-massage treatments. Use of “freeze” technologies — techniques that purport to use cold temperatures to non-surgically reduce fat — jumped by 7 percent in 2017, the new report found. Uptake of the fastest-growing procedure, laser cellulite treatments, also rose by 19 percent in 2017. “Unwanted fat is something that affects so many Americans,” ASPS President Dr. Jeffrey Janis said in a society news release. “Patients appreciate having options, especially if they can act as maintenance steps while they decide if getting something more extensive down the line will be right for them.” And more Americans are availing themselves of cosmetic procedures than ever before, the new report finds. Overall, there were 17.5 million cosmetic surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed last year, a 2 percent rise from 2016. Of course, surgical fat-removal techniques are still being used, and one — the “tummy tuck” — has seen a resurgence in popularity. The ASPS notes that tummy tucks had dropped from the Top 5 most popular plastic surgeries in 2016. But the procedure jumped back into the Top 5 last year, with 2,000 more tummy tucks done in 2017 than in 2016. “An improved abdominal contour is something that many of us strive for, but for some patients, that may not be attainable through diet and exercise alone,” said Janis. “Age, pregnancy and significant weight changes can impact both the skin and underlying muscle. Tummy tucks performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon remove excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restore weakened or separated muscles to create an improved abdominal profile.” In the meantime, the old cosmetic surgery standbys maintained their popularity, the ASPS report said. Of the nearly 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed last year, the top five were: Breast augmentation (300,378 procedures, up 3 percent from 2016) Liposuction (246,354 procedures, up 5 percent from 2016) Nose reshaping (218,924 procedures, down 2 percent from 2016) Eyelid surgery (209,571 procedures, approximately the same as 2016) Tummy tucks (129,753 procedures, up 2 percent from 2016). And since 2000, there has been a near tripling in what’s known as “minimally-invasive” cosmetic procedures, the ASPS said. There were 15.7 million such procedures last year. The top five were: Botulinum toxin type A or “botox” (7.2 million procedures, up 2 percent from 2016) Soft tissue “fillers” (2.7 million procedures, up 3 percent from 2016) Chemical peel (1.4 million procedures, up 1 percent since 2016) Laser hair removal (1 million procedures, down 2 percent from 2016) Microdermabrasion (740,287 procedures, down 4 percent from 2016). Another big change: Breast reduction surgeries are on the rebound. According to the ASPS, after declining by about 4 percent in 2016, there was an 11 percent increase in such procedures last year. “Breast reductions are consistently reported as one of the highest patient satisfaction procedures because it positively affects a woman’s quality of life. It addresses both functional and aesthetic concerns,” Janis said. More information The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about cosmetic surgery.