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Posted - Feb. 23, 2004 at 8:20 a.m.



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Feb 23, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- SUPPLEMENT MAY PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS

An extract from white kidney beans may help keep off the pounds, researchers say. Their study shows the supplement, Phase 2, when taken before meals, binds with an enzyme that digests starch to reduce the absorption of starch calories by as much as 66 percent. Carbohydrates provide nearly half of the total calories in the typical western diet, so the supplement could cut the total starch calories absorbed on a daily basis, its developers say. A study of 27 volunteers showed those taking Phase 2 on average lost 3.8 pounds over eight weeks, compared to 1.65 pounds shaved off by those taking a placebo. The Phase 2 group shed an average 1.47 inches off the waist, compared to 1.07 inches for the control group. "When used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise, Phase 2 could be a valuable complement to a healthy weight loss program," said chief researcher Dr. Jay Udani of Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles. The starch neutralizer is used in a variety of weight loss products sold in health food stores and pharmacies, said its supplier, Pharmachem Laboratories of Kearny, N.J.

TOOL MAY HELP IDENTIFY LEARNING DISORDER

A screening tool may help doctors identify children with an often misdiagnosed learning challenge called auditory processing disorder. These youngsters can hear, but have a problem with the brain process that translates sound into understandable speech. The exact number of children affected is not known. Often, they are identified by teachers, parents and healthcare professionals based on such behavioral characteristics as inattention, inability to follow directions, difficulty with language, reading, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary. Scientists think auditory processing problems may be connected to such learning disorders as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Specific Language Impairment and Specific Reading Disability, or dyslexia. Scientists at the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research in England say preliminary findings show children with the processing disorder could be identified through a detailed questionnaire for youngsters and parents and a battery of audiological tests.

TWO COCHLEAR IMPLANTS BETTER THAN ONE

A study indicates two cochlear implants, rather than the standard one, can do a better job of helping the deaf hear and interpret sounds. Some 13,000 adults and nearly 10,000 children in the United States have a cochlear implant, an electronic device that stimulates the hearing nerve in those with severe to profound hearing loss for whom hearing aids are of little use. A person with a cochlear implant faces the challenge of identifying the location of sounds and making sense of speech in a noisy environment. Typically, cochlear implants are implanted in just one ear. But researchers found having an implant in both ears might improve the ability to localize sound and understand speech.

WARNING: DOWNSIZING MAY BE DANGEROUS TO HEALTH

A Finnish study suggests company downsizing may increase the rate of illness and risk of death from cardiovascular disease among workers who remain. The researchers studied 22,430 municipal employees in four Finnish towns who kept their jobs during a national recession between 1991 and 1993. Rates of sickness-related absences and deaths from heart disease were monitored for seven years. Major downsizing -- a staff reduction of more than 18 percent -- was associated with increased sick days among permanent, though not part-time, employees. These employees also were twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease, particularly during the first four years after the downsizing, than those in companies that did not cut their workforce.

(EDITORS: For more information about WEIGHT, contact Gail Anderson at (888) 633-4279, ext. 216 or ganderson@mediarelations.com. For LEARNING, Jennifer Felsher at (703) 519-1549 or JFelsher@entnet.org. For COCHLEAR, Jennifer Felsher at (703) 519-1549. For CORPORATE, Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or edickinson@bmj.com)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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