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Posted - Apr. 21, 2004 at 7:40 a.m.



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Apr 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LOW-CAL DIET LOWERS RISK OF CLOGGED ARTERIES, DIABETES

People who commit to a long-term, low-calorie diet drastically reduce their risk of developing diabetes or clogged arteries, researchers say. A study at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is the first to examine individuals who have been on long-term calorie restriction diets. The 18 individuals who ate small amounts of nutrient-dense foods tried to consume between 10 percent and 25 percent fewer calories than the average American while still maintaining proper nutrition. The group voluntarily followed the diet for three to 15 years and had total and low density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol levels comparable to the lowest 10 percent of the population in their respective age groups. Blood pressure scores were equivalent to those found among much younger individuals, and glucose and insulin -- markers of developing diabetes -- were at significantly lower levels. Body mass index, body fat mass, and artery thickness also were better than average for their age groups.

ANTI-SMOKING TALK GOOD BEFORE DOCTOR VISIT

Nurses and other healthcare providers can help steer patients toward help to quit smoking before the doctor walks into the room, a study finds. Clinicians who take patient vital signs can help those patients kick the habit if they are trained to offer free nicotine patches or telephone counseling services. The randomized, controlled trial among 2,163 adult smokers compared four primary care clinics where intake clinicians offered assistance to patients who wanted to quit and four control sites where staff only were trained in general information about smoking cessation. Based on self-reports, test site patients were 10 percent more likely to abstain from smoking after two months, and 5 percent more likely after six months. Exposure to this type of intervention can help 2 million patients quit smoking each year, writes lead author Dr. David Katz, formerly of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

MEASLES DISRUPT ADOPTIONS FROM CHINA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a temporary suspension of adoption proceedings for children from China. The CDC says the Child Welfare Institute in the Hunan Province of China is experiencing an outbreak of measles. On April 6, public health officials in Seattle and King County, Wash., reported a lab-confirmed case of measles in a recently adopted child from China. Six cases now have been confirmed in children adopted by families who traveled to China in March. Prospective parents traveling internationally to adopt children should ensure their family members' immunizations are current. Children should receive two doses of measles vaccine at 12 to 15 months and at 4 to 6 years, the CDC said. Adoptees and their families who returned from China more than 21 days ago and have not had contact with recent cases should not be at risk.

CHOLESTEROL TOP PRIORITY FOR MANY DIABETICS

New guidelines say more people with type 2 diabetes should take cholesterol-lowering statin medications. The American College of Physicians recommends the drugs for diabetics with coronary artery disease, as well as those who are at risk for cardiovascular disease. This group includes premenopausal women with diabetes and another risk factor. Physicians should not wait until cholesterol reaches a certain level before prescribing statins and should not limit treatment to a specific target level of cholesterol, the ACP says. An estimated 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes will develop or die of complications from heart disease, and about 65 percent of deaths among people with diabetes are due to heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association. About 18 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, and an additional 1.3 million people age 20 or older are diagnosed with the disease each year.

(EDITORS: For more information about LOW-CAL, contact Gila Z. Reckess at (314) 286-0109 or reckessg@wustl.edu. For SMOKING, Sarah L. Zielinski at (301) 841-1287 or jncimedia@oupjournals.org. For MEASLES, CDC Media Relations at (404) 639-3286. For CHOLESTEROL, Susan Anderson at (215) 351-2653 or sanderson@acponline.org)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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