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Posted - May 24, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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May 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HOSPITALS UNDERUSE BLOOD CLOT TREATMENT

Researchers say many hospitals fail to follow national guidelines for treating patients at risk for blood clots with aspirin or warfarin. The report, presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, says academic hospitals are more likely than community or Veterans Administration hospitals to follow these recommendations. The study shows of patients diagnosed with heart attack, 84.3 percent received aspirin upon arrival at academic hospitals, but only 65.8 percent did at community hospitals and 60.2 percent at VA hospitals. "This is really important because early administration of aspirin improves both the survival and reperfusion (returning blood flow to the blood vessels) rates of the patients," said Dr. Joseph Caprini, director of surgical research at Evanston Northwestern healthcare and Feinberg School of Medicine in Illinois.

LISTEN UP, DOCTORS!

A study shows doctors rarely let a patient finish what he/she is saying, and most interrupt in a matter of seconds of the patient's starting to speak. Jonathan Amsbary, a University of Alabama, Birmingham, researcher specializing in communication studies, says his survey of doctor-patient exchanges found about a third of those polled were reluctant to ever question their doctor's opinions. "We're ultimately responsible for our health," Amsbary said. "We can find another doctor, we can get second opinions, but psychologically that reality doesn't exist for many people." He says it's the patient who speaks up who lives longer and gets the treatment he/she needs. His advice: "Before your doctor's appointment, write down all of your questions so you'll remember what to ask, and don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions."

SIDE AIR BAGS WORK

Scientists say side air bags can spare lives by reducing head and thoracic injuries during side collisions. The University of Alabama, Birmingham, investigators report in the Journal of Trauma side air bags offered protection at least as great as that afforded by seat belts and greater than that offered by frontal bags. "Although less frequent than frontal collisions, side impacts tend to be much more lethal, as there is very little protection in the sides of a vehicle," said researcher Gerald McGwin Jr. He said as more cars become equipped with side bags, he expects the injury and death rates from such collisions to go down.

EXERCISE DIABETES RISK AWAY

Doctors say exercise may be even more important than diet in helping prevent diabetes. Endocrinologist Dr. Richard Rosenthal of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, notes diabetes has increased tenfold in the United States in the past 30 years, as has a pre-diabetes condition called borderline diabetes. "Exercise improves your insulin sensitivity, helps the body better metabolize glucose and keeps people at risk of diabetes out of the danger zone," Rosenthal said. He says exercise that builds lean body mass -- such as weight training, yoga or Pilates -- is a good supplement to aerobic exercise, such as walking or running, as a means of improving insulin sensitivity, a measure of one's heart disease risk. The greater the sensitivity, the lower the risk of heart problems. The Pilates Exercise program, developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, focuses on improving strength and flexibility by emphasizing body alignment and correct breathing during exercise.

(Editors: For more information about CLOTS, contact Carole Bullock at (214) 706-1279. For DOCTORS, Gail Short at (206) 934-8931 or gshort@uab.edu. For BAGS, Bob Shepard at (205) 834-8934 or bshep@uab.edu. For EXERCISE, Hank Black at (205) 934-8938 or hblack@uab.edu)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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