Top stories in health and medicine, December 18, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. OmniCarb Study: Cutting Carbs No Silver Bullet. Overweight and obese people who followed a low glycemic index diet in the context of an overall DASH-type diet had no greater improvements in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels or systolic blood pressure compared to study subjects who ate high glycemic index foods.

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McKinsey & Company recently issued a report on effective means of fighting hyper-endemic obesity in the modern world. Among other things, they concluded that "implementing an obesity-abatement program on the required scale will not be easy." I presume that is intended to be somber, but the magnitude of understatement makes it almost funny. And sad. No, it will not be easy -- not in the world as it is. In the ...

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The food stamp program helps over 40 million Americans pay for groceries. Unlike other forms of economic assistance, this program, called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), only pays for food, thereby constraining how recipients make use of the aid. But are food stamps constrained enough? SNAP recipients experience higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the general  population.  Experts estimate that SNAP recipients consume almost twice as many calories ...

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Why do hospitals feed their staff so poorly? Why do hospitals feed their staff so poorly? I recently visited a friend who works at Google and was pleasantly surprised by the Bay-area tech giant's health-promotion efforts. Its crowded cafeteria offered mostly healthy food, with low-fat, low-carb, and high-fiber delicacies. Any dietitian would have appreciated the plethora of organic dairy products, the salad servers filled ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, November 18, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Weight Loss Relieves Symptoms in Knee OA. Obese patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who maintain an initial weight loss report fewer symptoms compared with their baseline level of symptoms.
  2. Age and Sex May Distort Biomarkers in Early RA. Age and sex are independently associated with levels of erythrocyte sedimentation ...

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One of the most frequent questions gastroenterologists are asked about is diet, health and disease; and some of the questions gastroenterologists are least comfortable answering are about diet, health and disease. This disconnect occurs for several reasons. Although the subject of nutrition is taught in medical school, it usually covers malabsorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that have limited relevance to the concerns of most patients. The modern physician does not see ...

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A few years ago, I was doing a summer internship in which I looked at health outcomes for hospitalized patients. I sat in an office and read about patients with issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol. At a certain point, I realized that the reports on their outcomes were interesting, but the real solution to the problems I was studying was happening outside my window. My window overlooked a ...

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I direct a nutrition clinic in a large center for children with special needs. My kids can have everything from mild learning disabilities to genetic disorders that affect growth and development to profound intellectual and physical impairments that cause them to be unable to walk, speak or even scratch their heads. My most seriously involved kids are completely dependent for all their care. Children who are somewhere in between -- for example, children who ...

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To the inevitable backdrop of John Philip Souza marches and presidential photo-ops, big soda has announced that it will do some vague kind of something about the excesses they contribute to our intake of calories and sugars over something like ten years. (Unless, of course, they don't.) Cue the 21-gun salute! Release the confetti! Folks, that this is heralded as "huge" news -- and by our former head of state, no ...

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The joys of September! Parents gleefully shove their reluctant children onto school buses, the palm trees in Los Angeles don’t change color, and everyone realizes that they gained 20 pounds during their summer vacation. It’s time to get serious again about losing weight. But how should you eat to best help you shed the extra pounds? Many people are passionate about their favorite diet, but there is very little data comparing ...

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