Week's Top Stories
A Wrap-Up of the Week's Top Medical News
Sept. 15, 2006 -- A pill that could prevent diabetes grabbed headlines -- as
did a report on U.S. life expectancy and the results of a new study affirming
the health benefits of green tea.
Drug Could Prevent Diabetes
A widely prescribed drug used to treat type 2 diabetes also may prevent the
disease, a new study shows. People at high risk for diabetes who took the drug
Avandia reduced their risk of developing the disease by 60%. The findings could
usher in a new era of diabetes management similar to that already seen with
heart disease, where drug therapies prescribed to prevent the disease become as
important as those used to treat it.
FDA Issues Warning on Bagged Spinach
If you've got a bag of spinach in the fridge, you may want to toss it in the
trash. The FDA advised consumers not to eat bagged, fresh spinach while it
probed a multistate outbreak of E. coli that reportedly killed one person and
sickened 50 others. The FDA is investigating the outbreak, which has been seen
in at least 20 states.
Vitamin D May Cut Pancreatic Cancer
Getting the recommended intake of vitamin D from diet, supplements, or even the
sun may cut your risk of pancreatic cancer. The cancer is the fourth leading
cause of cancer death in the U.S. There is, however, no effective screening
process for it, so identifying controllable risk factors could aid in
Report Blasts Child Obesity Inaction
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) criticized the government, the food industry,
and families for not doing enough to reverse rising childhood obesity rates. An
IOM report stated that the nation is "beginning to grasp the severity"
of the problem, but efforts to address it are too small in scale and too
fragmented to have much of an effect. If the trend doesn't slow, experts warn
that one-fifth of U.S. kids are projected to be at risk for obesity by 2010.
Adult Obesity Booming Across U.S.
Children aren't the only ones getting fatter. Six in 10 U.S. adults are now
overweight or obese, including nearly a quarter who are obese, according to a
new report from the CDC. Mississippi has America's highest percentage of obese
adults and Colorado has the lowest percentage.
Brown Seaweed May Burn Fat
As for finding a potential obesity "cure," one set of researchers is
looking to a compound found in wakame, a type of brown kelp used in Asian
cuisine. The compound, an antioxidant called fucoxanthin, isn't ready for prime
time, but preliminary studies show it burns fat in lab tests on rats and obese
mice, prompting the rodents to lose weight. The researchers hope to develop a
pill containing fucoxanthin.