Author Archives | Faith Villanueva

Guidelines on Safe Weight Loss for all Athletes Issued

Experts warned Monday that the athletes’ regular practice of intentional dehydration and strict limitation of daily caloric intake is dangerous; this is especially true for wrestlers, gymnasts, and boxers who often feel the pressure to maintain a certain weight to boost their performance.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association has recently issued a set of guidelines for safe weight loss among athletes. The guidelines include using body composition assessment which is a way to measure gat against lean body mass, losing a maximum of 1.5 percent of body weight per week, eating a balanced diet, and shedding pounds with a nutritionist’s supervision.

Paula Sammarone Turcoy, chairperson of the athletic training department of Duquesne University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the guidelines, said that many athletes are pressured by the society to not only perform well during a competition, but to also look good while doing it. She added that there is an unspoken rule that some athletes have to maintain a certain body type in order to “succeed” in their field.

Turcoy, however, said that weight loss and getting to an ideal body weight is actually not a problem; the issue arises when these athletes go to extremes just to achieve or maintain a certain weight. She added that when weight loss is not done properly, it can actually lead to poor performance and eveb health problems.

The guidelines were published on the Journal of Athletic Training June issue and were presented last Monday at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s annual meeting.



Posted in Health

Safe Weight Loss Guidelines Issued for Athletes

Experts warned that drastic methods to lose weight such as strict calorie restrictions and intentional dehydration may cause harm to an athlete’s health. Thus, they have issued new safe weight loss guidelines specifically designed for sports-minded person.

The new guidelines include use of body composition assessments to determine lean body mass against fat, slowly losing no further than 1.5 percent of the body weight per week, consuming a healthy and balanced diet that consists of all food groups, as well as reducing weight under the guidance of experts on nutrition, health and weight management.

Paula Sammarone Turocy, chair of the athletic training department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and lead author of the guidelines, said that athletes have a rule to have a certain weight, most especially those involved in performance sports such as ballet, dance and gymnastics and traditional sports such as boxers, jockeys and wrestlers.

Athletes do not only have a huge responsibility to play a good performance, but to look good as well, she said.

Turocy said that getting the ideal weight to enhance one’s performance is not a problem. But, it is when athletes push themselves to the extremes, which can backfire to their body and performance. She explained that when it is done inappropriately it can interfere with the athlete’s performance.

The new guidelines on weight loss for athletes will be presented on Monday during the National Athletic Trainer’s Association annual meeting in New Orleans. It is now published in the June issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

Posted in Health

Deaths from Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Disease on the Rise

An initial result of a recent study showed that deaths from non-communicable diseases account for almost two-thirds of the total deaths in the world. It is rapidly increasing to a point where it has become a financial burden to the global economy.

The four main non-communicable diseases, which include cancer, diabetes, as well as heart and lung disease, have come out fairly unnoticed as the international community has kept its attention on communicable diseases. Communicable diseases include HIV/AIDS, malaria, as well as tuberculosis.

Non-communicable diseases have become a global epidemic, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report released on Monday.

In 2008, about 36 million people have died from non-communicable diseases. That is equivalent to 63 percent of the total global deaths that same year. Also, the report says about 80 percent of deaths from non-communicable diseases have come from developing countries, and 9 million deaths have come from men and women below 60 years-old.

It also foresees that deaths from non-communicable disease will rise up to 75 percent by 2030. Ban said that the increasing scale of non-communicable diseases is stimulated by the increasing risk factors such as use of tobacco, poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, and alcohol consumption.

The potential costs of non-communicable diseases in the developing world are astounding. The World Health Organization estimates that non-communicable diseases, also called lifestyle diseases, will cost $558 billion in China, $237 billion in India and $303 billion in Russia- total of more than $1 trillion from 2005 to 2015.

Posted in Health

Doctors Give More Test than Necessary for Cervical Cancer

A study confirmed on Monday that there are a lot of doctors who are testing the wrong women or who are using the wrong tests for a virus that can cause cervical cancer.

We are now living in the day and age where there is not a single screening method for cervical cancer that fits all patients. How often one gets Pap smear now depend on one’s age and many other circumstances. However, a study found that a lot of doctors and clinics are not necessarily following guidelines from major medical groups in the performance of HPV check-ups.

Dr. Mona Saraiya, research head, said that those unnecessary tests that doctors perform waste money and can push women to get extra medical care that they don’t really need. Dr. Saraiya is also one of those women who are victims of this confusion. She said that her own doctor ordered test for HPV strains that are not related to cervical cancer.

For years, Pap smear is used to spot and remove precancerous cells or treat cancer cells among cervical cancer patients. Just recently, or after we found out that an HPV causes cervical cancer, doctors started using HPV tests to guide a patient’s ongoing care.

The study, however, found that 60% of doctors give Pap smear and HPV tests even to those women who are not yet old enough for the combined test. Our current guidelines say that those tests should only be given together to women above 30; otherwise, Pap smear is more than enough.

Pap smear only costs half of an HPV test and that is why Dr. Saraiya insists that doctors and clinics review their practices and follow the guidelines closely.


Posted in Health

1 out of 4 High School Students Drink Soda Every Day

A recent study shows that only one out of four high school students drink soda every day. The study suggests that this ratio shows fewer teenagers are drinking that much sugary drink anymore. Also, the researchers discovered that many high school students actually drink milk, water, and fruit juices very often.

Nance Bener, the study’s lead author, said that they were extremely pleased with what they discovered. Bener is also a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brener, however, said that they still acknowledge the fact that a quarter of American teenagers are still drinking sweetened drinks every day.

The consumption of soda is considered as one of our biggest public health problems and has been directly linked to the increase in childhood obesity rate in the United States. A study including schoolchildren in Massachusetts show that for every additional soda one takes per day, the chances of becoming obese increases by 60%. To help ease the problem, many schools voluntarily stopped selling sweetened drinks in school cafeterias.

Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity of Yale University, Kelly Brownell, said that it really looks like the rate of high school students drinking sweetened drinks on a regular basis is going down. In 2010, the rate dropped from 29% from the previous year to 24%.

Brownell, however, said that the results of the current study are still a bit depressing. He pointed out that even though the rates have gone down; a quarter of all high school students is still a huge number.


Posted in Health

Formaldehyde Listed as a Carcinogenic Agent

The National Institute of Health announced that the strong-smelling chemical formaldehyde may cause cancer. Styrene, the second widely used chemical in the manufacture of food containers and fibreglass, is also listed under carcinogenic agents.

NIH said that people whose works force them to be in constant exposure to formaldehyde are at higher risks for rare kinds of cancer. The rare forms of cancer include those that involve the upper respiratory tract.

Formaldehyde is used to manufacture industrial products such as paper coating and textile and plastic materials. Also, they are openly used as laboratory preservatives to stop corpse from decaying. Lastly, they may also be used in commercial products such as hair straitening solutions.

The government already announced that Styrene is one of the components of tobacco or cigarette smoke. NIH backed that statement up by saying that cigarette smoke is the main source of Styrene.

The two chemicals, among eight other chemicals, were added to the government’s list of chemical and/or biological products that may cause cancer.

Included in the list is the aristolochic acid which is already proven to increase the risk for bladder and urinary tract cancers. The United States Food and Drug Administration already banned the sale of products with aristolochic acid components but it is still illegally sold online.

The American Cancer Society already said that not all carcinogens automatically cause cancer; it still depends on the rate of exposure. They further said that only 8% of cancers are caused by environmental exposure and the majority are caused by occupation-exposure.



Posted in Health

Efficient Bowel Preparation Key to Successful Colon Cancer Screening

A recent study concluded that inefficient bowel preparation before a colonoscopy procedure may result in high false negative rates for adenomas or precancerous polyps and a need for repeat tests.

Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl of the Columbia University Medical Center said that a subpar cleansing of the bowel before colonoscopy has high impact on the effectiveness of the procedure. Dr. Lebwhol said that their findings of a miss rate of 27% for advanced adenomas and 42% for all types of adenomas suggests that inadequate bowel prep leads to false positive results and that follow-up test should be considered within a year.

Because colon cancer is a slow progressing cancer, effective screening procedures are early detection are very important to ensure patient’s survival. Colonoscopy is one of the best ways to allow physicians to spot and remove precancerous polyps before they become cancerous. However, for a colonoscopy to become effective the patient’s bowel must be properly and thoroughly cleansed. Colonoscopy is carried out by inserting a fiberoptic camera within a flexible tube in to the anus in order to visualize the inner lining of the entire colon (measuring to up to five feet in length).

According to the Harvard Medical School guide, bowel prep for colonoscopy takes about 16 hours. Bowel prep may involve avoiding taking insoluble fiber three days before the procedure, drinking a gallon of oral solution with medications a day before, and six hours of fasting prior to colonoscopy.


Posted in Health

New Rules on Sunscreens Issued by FDA

The United States Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that they will require new sunscreen labelling in order to identify the products that are best for decreasing the risk of skin cancer.

Based on the new rules, sunscreens that protect its users from UVA and UVB rays will be classified under “Broad Spectrum” sunscreens. FDA officials explained that both UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage; however, UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn.

Manufacturers of sunscreens will also be required to indicate sun protection factor (SPF). Those with less than SPF 15 could not claim that they help thwart sunburn, cancer, and premature skin aging.

The director of the Center for Drug Evaluation of the U.S. FDA, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said that sunscreens that meet their standards can now advertise their product as a tool that can help reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used with other sun protection methods. The new labels, however, may not be seen until next summer, she added.

On the other hand, sunscreens with SPF of less than 14 and are not Broad Spectrum must indicate in their labelling that their product is not proven to decrease risks of skin cancer and sunburn. Woodcock also said that the said labels will be added on the drug fact box. She also said that sunscreens can no longer be referred to as “sunblocks” to avoid the impression that they offer complete protection from the harmful rays of the sun.


Posted in Health

Weight Loss Surgery May Not Decrease Morbidity Rate

A recent study suggests that weight loss surgery does not necessarily decrease the morbidity rate among morbidly obese middle-aged adults.

The United States researchers studied 850 male morbidly obese patients who went through weight loss surgeries or more commonly called as bariatric surgery between the years 2000 and 2006. The average age of these people is 49.5 and their average BMI is 54.7. A BMI or Body Mass Index more than 40 is already considered morbidly or severely obese.

The death rate of these people are compared to a group of males with an average age of 54.7 and an average BMI of 42 who did not undergo weight loss surgery. Eleven or 1.29 percent of those who underwent weight loss surgery died just within a month after their surgeries.

Matthew Maciejewski said that upon initial analysis they found out that the group who underwent weight loss surgeries has a lower death rate compared to the group that did not have surgery. After further analysis, however, the researchers realized that weight loss surgery does not have a direct effect on the death rate of morbidly obese patients.

The study was published online and will be published in print in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researcher, however, emphasized that many morbidly obese patients still opt to go through weight loss surgeries even though it does not affect their survival rate because it can significantly decrease their weight.


Posted in Featured News, Health

Woman Mutilated by Chimpanzee Underwent Face Transplant in Boston

A woman who was brutally attacked by a chimpanzee back in 2009 has undergone a full face transplant in Boston, the hospital where the procedure was made announced on Friday.

Charla Nash’s body was mutilated when a friend’s pet chimpanzee went wild. The chimpanzee named Travis then weighed 200 pounds was afterwards killed by the police through several gun shots.

According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Nash underwent a surgery last month to receive a face transplant. Nash’s surgery was the third of its kind that was actually performed in the country.

The medical team that attended Nash’s case was composed of more than 30 doctors, as well as residents, nurses, and anesthesiologists. The surgery, which lasted for almost 24-hours, replaced Nash’s facial skin, lips, nose, nerves and muscles of facial animation.

Hands transplantations were attempted as well, the hospital said. However, the surgery was not a success and the hands were eventually removed.

Reports say Charla is doing well a month after the surgery. Charla’s family has been talking with several news outlets nationwide. They say Charla will look very close to her old self once the recuperation period is over.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. It has already performed two successful full face transplants this year.

Dallas Wiens, 26-year-old, is United States’ first recipient of full face transplant. He went home in Texas last month to be with his daughter and resume his normal life. He is continuing rehabilitation on facial muscle as well.

Posted in Health