What's Ahead for Health in 2008
Experts predict medical trends in the new year.
Diabetes: Is the Epidemic Finally Over? continued...
"We are starting to see early hints that the extremely rapid increase in
the numbers of people with diabetes may have turned the corner," he says.
"I do think that things are improving relatively rapidly."
As for "diabesity," the converging epidemic of obesity and diabetes,
"people are individually and personally trying to make efforts, at least in
segments of the population, so there is reason to hope things will be better in
2008 than in 2007."
There probably won't be any new diabetes drugs in 2008, Buse says, and fewer
patients will be using a class of drugs known as glitazones. In 2007, one such
drug, Avandia, was linked to an
increased risk for heart
attack in people with diabetes.
Inhaled insulin hit a snafu in 2007 when Pfizer announced that it would stop
selling Exubera for financial reasons. But "inhaled insulin is not
dead as a concept," Buse says. "Perhaps a smaller device that is easier
for patients to use and is associated with reasonable expectations will have a
place in the future."
Plastic Surgery: Less Is More
Less will be more in 2008, predicts Foad Nahai, MD, the president of the
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and a plastic surgeon in private
practice in Atlanta.
"I think what we are going to see more of in 2008 is a continuing
interest in injectables, fillers, toxins, and other noninvasive procedures [to
reduce some of the visible signs of aging]," he predicts. "What we are
going to see less of are the very complicated and sophisticated face-lift
procedures that provide probably the best results, but also require the longest
Overall, "men and women will be opting for less in terms of the result
and going with injectables because there is no downtime and no recovery
time," he says.
"The other thing that we will see is growth in products to use at
home," he says. "Eventually there may be an effective cream or
treatment that would match the injectables and fillers."
Still, plastic surgeons won't be going out of business anytime soon.
"There are still lots of things that the knife can do that needles and
creams can't," he says. For example, plastic surgeons will use 2008 as time
to work on refining the proper sequencing for body-contouring following weight loss surgery. When
people experience such dramatic weight loss, they are often left with loose,
and opt to undergo multiple body-contouring surgeries such as tummy tucks, arm
lifts, and/or breast lifts to tighten and tone. Plastic surgeons are now trying
to determine the best order to perform such surgeries.
And one more thing, he adds. Just because pop star Britney Spears reportedly
underwent lipodissolve, don't expect this fat-dissolving technology to become
all the rage in 2008.
"We just don't have large studies looking at how effective it is and how
safe it is," Nahai says. "We should wait until we have studies that
prove its safety and then it will rapidly become very popular." There may
be some short-term results on lipodissolve published in 2008.