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More Testing for Cholesterol

Even though rising obesity rates are contributing to higher cholesterol levels among young Americans, less than 4 percent of U.S. children had their cholesterol levels checked between 1995 and 2010, new research shows.

According to a team led by Dr. Samuel Vinci of Boston Children’s Hospital, abnormal blood cholesterol reading are thought to occur in roughly a fifth of American children and adolescents.

The concern is that – if left untreated – problematic cholesterol levels among youth could translate into heart disease in adulthood.

Alert to the problem, since 2007 several organizations – including the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and… Continue reading

Sleep Apnea Fact Sheet

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that pauses the breath of a person while they are asleep. The soft tissue at the back of the throat reclines and obstructs a person’s airway while they sleep. It affects people of all ages, however, sleep apnea occurs most often in adults over the age of 60. In fact, over 20% of all older adults in the United States are affected by this disorder.

Not only does sleep apnea affect the quality of a person’s sleep, but also impacts other areas of their health and quality of life, causing headaches, memory problems, and… Continue reading

Diabetes Affects 9.3% of Americans

Shocking data published by Annals of Internal Medicine. About 21 million American adults are obese and diabetic.

“Diabetes has increased dramatically. The rates have almost doubled since the late ’80s and early ’90s,” said Elizabeth Selvin, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.

“This study also highlights that the increase in diabetes really tracks closely with the epidemic of obesity. The diabetes epidemic is really a direct consequence of the rise in obesity,” Selvin said.

There are two main types of diabetes — type 1… Continue reading

Google Helps Sequence Whole Human Genomes of Healthy 100-Year-Olds

A new initiative by Google may provide new tools and medical laboratory tests that can be used in the management of geriatric patients.

Google’s founders believe that analysis of the genomes of people who live to be 100 years old and are relatively healthy will allow them to solve the puzzle of human aging. They have funded a new company, Calico — short for California Life Company, to pursue this goal. The research should develop a better understanding of the dynamics of human aging and the diseases associated with it.

Calico is backed by Google Ventures.… Continue reading

The Low T [testosterone] Syndrome Gimmick

The rate of testosterone supplementation has nearly quadrupled in the United States since 2000, according to new research published online January 1 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

While testosterone levels naturally decrease gradually with age and in the presence of factors including chronic disease, obesity, or smoking, most guidelines recommend supplementation only when patients have symptoms and have low testosterone levels that are confirmed by repeated laboratory tests.

Test the levels before you act, i.e. buying into a marketing hype or getting a prescription – Presentation by Henry R. Black, MD.

 

Blood Test to Predict Alzheimer’s

A blood test has been developed that can predict with 90 percent certainty whether a senior will suffer from dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease within the next few years.

The test relies on levels of 10 lipids, or fats, in the bloodstream to estimate the chances of either mild cognitive impairment – which involves memory loss and a decline in thinking ability – or the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease.

Low levels of these 10 blood fats can predict impending dementia symptoms with remarkable accuracy, said the study author Dr. Howard Federoff, executive dean of the Georgetown University School of Medicine.… Continue reading

Testing for C difficile Infection

Laboratory testing for C difficile remains controversial because many different types of diagnostic tests are available, with detection of different targets and different performance characteristics. Factors that enter into the choice of test include rapid turnaround, specificity, sensitivity, and cost.

On the basis of correlation with mortality, the best reference method for the diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the cytotoxin assay and a multistep algorithm combining a highly sensitive first test (such as glutamate dehydrogenase or nucleic acid amplification) followed by a more specific test (such as enzyme immunoassay) to confirm positive results. This appears to be the… Continue reading

Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten

While the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure shows 9 percent of seniors nationally live in poverty, the share climbs to about one in seven seniors (15 percent) under the Bureau’s alternative Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account out-of-pocket health expenses and geographic differences in the cost of living. Produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten provides a portrait of seniors who are living in poverty, in both urban and rural areas across the United States.

This video shows the difficult challenges that low-income seniors face in making ends meet; every day, they juggle… Continue reading