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Beat it

Diabetes drug won't help obese kids keep off weight

By Rachael Rettner
Few children who become obese are able to lose and keep off weight with diet and exercise alone, leading some doctors to prescribe drugs, such as the diabetes drug metformin, to treat childhood obesity. However, a new study suggests that metformin may not help kids and teens without diabetes lose weight over the long term.
The study, which reviewed information from previous research, found no evidence that children and teens who took the drug lost more weight after one year than those who did not take the drug.
While some adolescents who took the drug did experience short-term weight loss  (six months or less), the effect was modest, and it's not clear whether such limited weight loss would actually improve their health, the researchers said. [Lose Weight Smartly: 7 Little-Known Tricks That Shave Pounds ]
Given the current evidence, metformin has not been shown to be superior to other weight-loss treatments for kids, such as diet and exercise, the researchers said.
"Unfortunately, this drug is not going to be the answer," said study researcher Marian McDonagh, of Oregon Health & Science University. Overall, the drug does not appear to provide enough weight reduction for children to experience meaningful health benefits in the long term, McDonagh said.
Still, it's possible that certain groups of children, such as those who are very obese, may benefit from taking the drug. A large study is needed to identify these groups, the researchers said.
The study analyzed information from 14 previous studies (eight in the United States and others in Canada, Australia, Mexico, Europe, Iran and Turkey), which included a total of 946 children ages 10 to 16 who did not have diabetes. The children's body mass indices (BMIs) ranged from 26 to 41. In most studies, children who took metformin also engaged in lifestyle changes aimed at helping them lose weight.
On average, children who took metformin  for six months achieved a 3.6 percent greater reduction in their BMI compared with those who practiced lifestyle changes alone.
However, studies in adults suggest that, in order for a weight-loss treatment to lead to meaningful improvements in health down the road, it needs to reduce BMI by 5 to 10 percent, McDonagh said.
Children in the studies who took metformin for a year saw about the same decrease in BMI as those who practiced lifestyle changes alone. And after one year, both groups started to slip back to their original weight.
The researchers would like to see more studies on weight-loss treatments that involve a child's entire family. It's possible that family-based interventions may help children lose more weight  whether they are taking a drug or not than interventions that don't consider the child's family, McDonagh said.
Metformin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat children and adults with Type 2 diabetes .
The new study was published Dec. 16 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Gene Deficiency Linked With Diabetes And Liver Cancer In Males

A gene deficiency could be the culprit for both liver cancer and diabetes for some men, according to a new study from researchers at Michigan State University.
Researchers broke down the genomes of a pool of mice, discovering that one particular gene, NCOA5, was linked to massive spikes in both conditions for males.
Though both males and females carry this gene, it was only linked with a spike in males for whom the gene if deficient. Males in that category were at a 94 percent increased risk of developing liver cancer compared with all other mice. They also found a glucose intolerance in 100 percent of the males with the deficient gene.

"Because estrogen may function through the NCOA5 gene and previously has been found to play somewhat of a protective role against both diseases, the result is a decreased risk in females," the researchers said. "Since males produce lower amounts of estrogen, this can contribute to their susceptibility." 

Vitamin D May Reduce Pain, Depression For Women With Type 2 Diabetes

Increased levels of Vitamin D may provide various benefits to women suffering from Type 2 diabetes, according to researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Researchers enlisted a group of women with type 2 diabetes to take a 50,000-IU vitamin D2 supplement every week for a period of six months. They found that those women suffering from depression along with diabetes saw a significant dip in their depression symptoms. They also found an overall drop in reported pain levels.
"Pain is a common and often serious problem for women with type 2 diabetes and depression. While further research is needed, D2 supplementation is a promising treatment for both pain and depression in type 2 diabetes," the researchers said. "Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. This NIH grant will allow us to shed greater light on understanding the role that this nutrient plays in managing the health of women with diabetes." 

Diabetes link with dementia to be examined

December 11th, 2013
It is well known that type 2 diabetes raises the risk of dementia. The reasons for this are less clear, but one explanation could be insulin resistance in the brain, according to Malin Wennström, a researcher at Lund University's Molecular Memory Research Unit. She has received EUR 700,000 from the Swedish Research Council to investigate her theory.
"The goal is to find measureable biomarkers early in the development of dementia in diabetes patients and, in the long term, to develop drugs that can halt the process", says Malin Wennström.
Type 2 diabetes often goes hand in hand with insulin resistance, a condition that weakens the effect of insulin on body tissue, for example in muscle and fat cells. In recent years, researchers have come to understand that cells in the brain also develop insulin resistance.
The focus of Malin Wennström's research is on pericytes, a type of cell that enwraps small blood vessels in the brain. Pericytes are found throughout the body and have an important supporting function for blood vessels.
"We know that loss of pericytes is the first abnormality of the diabetic eye which can be observed clinically. Without pericytes, blood vessels become fragile and start to leak, which in time leads to poorer blood supply", says Malin Fex, a researcher at Lund University Diabetes Centre, who is also participating in the project.
One explanation as to why patients with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia later in life compared with non-diabetics could thus hypothetically be a loss of pericytes in the brain caused by insulin resistance.
"In one of the most common forms of dementia – vascular dementia – blood circulation in the brain is weakened, and a high proportion of Alzheimer's patients also show vascular pathology", says Malin Wennström.
The research will be carried out in three phases:
In Phase A, pericytes isolated from deceased dementia patients will be cultured and studied.
"We will stimulate the pericytes with factors that we know lead to insulin resistance, for example high levels of inflammatory signal molecules, high levels of sugar and fat, and stress hormones. We will then study the response of the pericytes by measuring changes in gene expression, protein release and levels of insulin resistance. In this way, we hope to find new biomarkers that can signal insulin resistance and other changes in the pericytes", says Malin Wennström.
In Phase B, the experiments will be transferred to laboratory animals. Insulin-resistant rodents with diabetes and rodents that have been exposed to chronic mild stress and systemic inflammation will be studied. The levels of biomarkers discovered in Phase A will be measured in the rodents's blood and cerebrospinal fluid. By simultaneously studying the brains of the rodent, the researchers can investigate whether the biomarkers reflect the biological processes induced by insulin resistance in the brain.
"The studies on cells give us insights into specific mechanisms, but to get a picture of what they look like in a complex biological system, we have to complement the studies with animal experiments."
In the final phase, Phase C, the discoveries that have been made will be tested in clinical studies. Working with Katarina Nägga, a doctor at the Memory Clinic in Malmö, samples of blood and spinal fluid from dementia patients and blood from individuals who have undergone a glucose tolerance test (a test that measures changes in the sugar metabolism that can be a sign of insulin resistance) will be analysed.
"Analysing cerebrospinal fluid is one of the few methods of studying changes in the human brain associated with disease", says Malin Wennström, adding:
"The best outcome would be if we found markers for this in the blood. We could then easily identify at an early stage, which individuals with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing dementia in the future. We would then also have a concrete target for the development of treatments to halt the process."
Provided by Lund University

Mental Disorders Linked To Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Men suffering from mental disorders such as schizophrenia are more likely to develop heart disease, according to research at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Southampton and the Karolinska Institute.
The study, published in the journal Circulation, surveyed more than a million Swedish men over a 22-year period beginning at the average age of 18.
Those at the highest risk were men who had been hospitalized with a mental condition, the study found.
"Our findings suggest that mental disorders pose a huge public health burden in terms of premature illness and death due to coronary heart disease," study researcher Catharine Gale said. "The physical health care of people with mental disorders needs to be a priority for clinicians if this burden is to be reduced."
The team found increased risk for a range of mental disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, neurotic disorders, personality disorders and substance-use disorders. 

Diabetes can have no-symptom 'honeymoon period'

By Dr. Keith Roach , Herald-Tribune

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 13-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on March 7, 2012, at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and his A1C was 12. Of course, I prayed for a miracle, and about one week after he was diagnosed, I started him on a nutraceutical called Protandim. After 17 days of being on Protandim, he came off of insulin and has been off ever since. His doctor says it's a "honeymoon period" and that it will not last. I asked him how long a honeymoon typically lasts and he said, "Days, weeks, months, but not years." I've told his doctor about the product, but he does not believe there is any correlation between taking it and my son not needing insulin. His A1C went from 12 down to 6.5 within three months, and then it was 7.0 and then 7.5, and we still check his sugar and monitor his diet not allowing him to have too many carbohydrates, nor do we allow him to have real sugar, but he takes one Protandim per day. All of the information I have researched this drug shows that it does help with diabetes that would be Type 2 and also Type 1, especially if caught early. A different doctor explained that Protandim helps repair the islet cells over time. -- M.A.

ANSWER: I have heard of Protandim, but was unable to find any research showing that it improves diabetes care. It is supposed to prevent aging, but the evidence that it works is sparse.
I think that your son probably is in a prolonged honeymoon period, which occasionally can last for years. The careful diet he is on certainly is helping as well. However, with the A1C (a measurement of average blood sugar over a few months) rising, and now in the frankly diabetic range (normal is less than 6.5 percent), I think he will very shortly need to be back on insulin.
It is almost impossible to say in any given person whether a medication or supplement is effective. I can't recommend this supplement based on your son's experience, even though it sounds very promising. I will be watching carefully for any peer-reviewed articles on this subject.

Diabetes has become epidemic in North America. The booklet on it provides insight on its diagnosis and treatment. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach -- No. 402, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient's printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Health newsletters may be ordered from

New Study Proves That Healthier Diets Are More Expensive

It may be far more expensive to maintain a healthy diet than an unhealthy diet, according to researchers from the Harvard School for Public Health. For the study the researchers reviewed data collected from 10 wealthy nations between 2000 and 2011.
They found that on average, those who maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are spending about $550 a year more on their diet. Though the cost associated with healthy food has often been suggested by researchers, this is the first study to scientifically analyze the phenomenon:

"People often say that healthier foods are more expensive, and that such costs strongly limit better diet habits. But, until now, the scientific evidence for this idea has not been systematically evaluated, nor have the actual differences in cost been characterized," the researchers explained. 

New Study Proves That Healthier Diets Are More Expensive

It may be far more expensive to maintain a healthy diet than an unhealthy diet, according to researchers from the Harvard School for Public Health. For the study the researchers reviewed data collected from 10 wealthy nations between 2000 and 2011.
They found that on average, those who maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are spending about $550 a year more on their diet. Though the cost associated with healthy food has often been suggested by researchers, this is the first study to scientifically analyze the phenomenon:

"People often say that healthier foods are more expensive, and that such costs strongly limit better diet habits. But, until now, the scientific evidence for this idea has not been systematically evaluated, nor have the actual differences in cost been characterized," the researchers explained. 

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Hot Tub Spa Dealer Shares Health Tips for Diabetes Month

Hot Tub Sale Malibu, CA, Supports American Diabetes Month by Sharing Suggestion on how to Control Diabetes. Offers Free Hot Tub Test Soaks to Thousand Oaks, CA Residents.

Thousand Oaks, CA, December 02, 2013 --( Spa-Warehouse, a premier hot tub and spa dealer in Ventura and Thousand Oaks and Malibu area selling MAAX portable spas, publishes 3 tips for American Diabetes Month.

“Diabetes is a disease on the rise,” said Jim Vishnefske, president of Spa-Warehouse. “With November being American Diabetes Month, there’s no better time to try and find the best ways to battle this disease,” continued Vishnefske. Here are the three ways to control diabetes.

Drink It Away - The average American consumes roughly 152 pounds (yes, pounds) of sugar every year according to studies by the DHHS, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Of that massive amount of sugar, over 33% of it is consumed in the form of sugary drinks like soda. A study by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition from the Imperial College of London showed that just a single serving of any type of sugar sweetened sodas per day increases the overall risk of Type II Diabetes by as much as 22%.

While fresh, plain water is always the best alternative for providing hydration to the body, it is still possible to enjoy a relaxing beverage without boosting sugar levels. Substitute a warm glass of green tea for sugary sodas and even caffeine filled coffee or black teas. Plain green tea provides lots of taste and many extra health bonuses as well, such as a high level of antioxidants.

Work It Off - Controlling diabetes means learning how to get rid of the couch potato mentality. Exercise plays as much of a role in blood sugar regulation as a good diet does. According to the American Diabetes Association, regular activity boosts metabolism to help the body absorb and use nutrients more efficiently and it increases the cellular sensitivity to insulin so the body uses it better.

The first step is just getting started. For many Americans not used to daily exercise that can be the biggest hurdle. Finding exercise solutions that are enjoyable can make a big difference in how likely a person is to continue with the program, so don’t pick an exercise based solely on how effective it will be in battling diabetes at first. Even something as simple as walking around the block everyday is a good start.

However, for the best exercises to beat diabetes, high intensity workouts are the goal. The ADA recommends 30 minutes of intense aerobic work 5 times per week.

Soak It Away - Dr. Philip L. Hooper, MD from the McKee Medical Center studied the effects of hot water therapy from hot tubs on blood sugar levels, and found it especially helpful for those patients who could not exercise. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that soaking 30 minutes per day in a hot tub, at least six days per week for three weeks effectively lowered blood sugar averages in the patients and also helped decrease weight levels by 3 to 4 pounds.

The study also showed that soaking in a hot tub had more beneficial effects than swimming, and was superior to simply soaking in a warm bath tub due to the fact that hot tub waters are regulated to maintain the level of heat. Diane Pearson, RN suggests that hot tubs also add a level of socialization that makes them a great way for individuals to get the benefits in a way they are most likely to maintain and continue.

Because of the relaxing effects of a hot tub, it is best to pursue this type of therapy in the evening. Soaking for 30 minutes before bed also provides a good foundation for a great night’s sleep.

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“To help local residents understand how portable spas, hot tubs and swim spas can help improve overall health and well-being, Spa-Warehouse will provide free hot tub test soaks during the entire month,” commented Vishnefske. “We want to encourage local residents to check out the benefits of a relaxing soak in the soothing waters of a hot tub for themselves,” said Vishnefske.

About Spa-Warehouse
Spa-Warehouse, we take great pride in offering on spas that are “Made in America.” As an A+ rated member of the BBB we offer our customers a comfortable, inviting buying experience and we offer no-cost on-site home inspection prior to placing the order for your spa.

With a proven reputation of over 40 years of expertise in luxury hot water relaxation products, we represent the MAAX family of products including Elite Spas, and VITA Spas, California Cooperage Hot Tubs as well as the PowerPool Swim Spas. Our variety of spas, give you a wider selection of features, design and style of spas all from the same manufacturing facility in Chandler, AZ.

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Turning Up The Heat Could Help Fight Weight Gain

Those who live in well-heated homes are less likely to be obese and have lower BMIs than those with cooler houses, according to research conducted at the University of Stirling in Scotland. The study, published in the journal Obesity, surveyed data on 100,000 adults culled during the Health Survey for England.
The subjects who lived in warmer homes - i.e. with temps consistently above 73.4 degrees - had lower BMI levels than those with cooler homes.
"We set out to investigate the scientific claims that cooler indoor temperatures help us maintain a healthy weight by pushing our bodies to expend more energy through shivering and generating heat through tissues. In fact, the research suggests people may eat less and burn more energy when residing in a warmer indoor environment," wrote Michael Daly, the study's author.

He added that the temperature range of 68.5 to 73.4 degrees provides an atmosphere in which most people are neither warm nor cold. 

Health Tip: Keep Diabetes in Check

-- It can be difficult to eat healthy during the holidays, especially for diabetics.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers  these suggestions for people with diabetes:

•           Eat a healthy snack before you attend a holiday gathering, or pack a healthy snack to eat there. You can also ask ahead of time which foods will be served, so you can better plan.
•           If there's a buffet, take small portions, then head to another room so you're not tempted to reload your plate.
•           Choose low-calorie or calorie-free drinks, from unsweetened tea to sparkling water. If you drink alcohol, drink a small amount with food.
•           Avoid foods such as glazed ham, turkey with gravy and side dishes laden with butter, cream or mayonnaise. Instead, opt for lighter dishes with a vegetable base and fewer fatty, sugary and salty ingredients.
•           For dessert, choose a food with a fruit base instead of desserts high in sugar, fat and cholesterol.
•           Focus on friends and family, not food.

Diabetes rise increases amputation danger

An expert has warned Australians are risking blindness by not taking type 2 diabetes seriously. Source: AAP

AUSTRALIANS are risking amputations, kidney failure and blindness by not taking type 2 diabetes seriously, says a leading specialist on the disease.
Diabetes is one of the greatest health epidemics in modern times, says Associate Professor Neale Cohen, General Manager of Diabetes Services at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
"People need to take a lot more responsibility for their health.
"It's a worldwide problem largely driven by sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating, said Prof Cohen, who is making several presentations at a world diabetes congress in Melbourne from Tuesday.
Australia has parallel epidemics. For most, type 2 diabetes is caused by too much food and too little exercise, with an added genetic risk for some.
Indigenous people, however, are at serious risk regardless of their lifestyle.
"It's a national tragedy," said Prof Cohen.
"Really these communities do not eat a lot worse than other Australians.
"But they get an extremely aggressive form of type 2 diabetes that can occur at a young age.
"The kidney failure rate is so extreme that Alice Springs has one of the largest kidney dialysis units in the southern hemisphere."
Prof Cohen said people liked to blame carbohydrates for diabetes, but the real danger food was fat.
"People are generally surprised that olive oil or avocados are not particularly good for diabetes or weight."
It would be a great start if high-risk and diabetic people reduced the fat in their diet and limited the number of times they ate out, he said.
"Most takeaway foods are high in fat. Most restaurant food is much higher in fat than we should be eating."
A big problem is that many people do not know their diabetes status and those who do often do not take it seriously.
"You can't see it or feel it. But it is a serious condition.
"If people are told they have cancer they get really upset and worried.
"Often when people are told they have diabetes they are fairly relaxed. They don't realise how serious it is."
High-risk people should have a fasting glucose test every year, he said.
"People may have had it for five or 10 years before they get tested. They could have kidney damage or bleeding at the back of the eyes.
"They could have had a heart attack."

Childhood Exercise May Lower Effects Of Maternal Obesity

Exercise during adolescence may help mitigate the negative health effects shown in children whose mothers had high-fat diets during pregnancy, according to an animal study conducted at Johns Hopkins.
The team compared a group of rat offspring whose mothers were given high-fat diets during pregnancy. The group that was exercised often weighed the same as its counterparts - but it had fewer fat deposits and the brains were better able to respond to a hormone known to suppress the appetite.
"Just three weeks of exercise early in life had a persistent effect on the satiety centers of the brains of these rat pups. If we can find a way to take advantage of that phenomenon in humans that would be great, because preventing obesity is probably going to be much easier to do than reversing it," said lead author Kellie L.K. Tamashiro.

She added that early exercise may hold the key to maintaining a strict exercise regiment throughout adulthood. 

Breast Cancer Linked To High-Fat Diets During Puberty

Adolescent women who consume diets high in fat may be putting themselves at a higher risk for breast cancer later in life, according to research conducted at Michigan State University. The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, was conducted on mice who were given high fat diets.
Just three weeks after the dietary change, the mice began to show changes in the breast, such as increased cell growth and alterations in the immune cells.
In addition, the diet produces a gene signature in the tumors consistent with a subset of breast cancers known as basal-like, which often carry a worse prognosis.
"This is very significant because even though the cancers arise from random mutations, the gene signature indicating a basal-like breast cancer shows the overarching and potent influence this type of diet has in the breast," said Sandra Haslam, physiology professor at MSU's College of Human Medicine.