Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is Calling Obesity a 'Medical Problem' a Scam?

Americans have gotten heavier since 1980 — this we know.
And most doctors would say that the extra weight has made us more prone to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and even cancer.
It's become a source of major national anxiety. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts that every state in the nation will have an obesity rate greater than 44 percent by 2030, and will be sicker for it.
But not everyone is convinced obesity in America warrants so much gloom and doom. Take Abigail Saguy, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of a new book called What's Wrong With Fat? She argues we've gone too far in equating obesity with disease.
 Read more

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Energy Drinks Linked to More ER Visits

Should emergency rooms track the number of people who get hurt or sick after drinking coffee? That's what the maker of Monster Energy drinks suggests in response to a recent report that emergency room visits involving caffeine-laced energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.

The energy drink maker took issue with the report, pointing out that there was no evidence in the federal government's survey that energy drinks caused the patients' health problems — and that energy drinks aren't the only way to slug caffeine.

"The report did not even look at ER visits associated with coffee consumption and could not say whether people who had consumed significant quantities of caffeine from coffee or other sources do not likewise visit the ER," Monster Beverage Corp. said in a statement. As we've reported recently, young people are drinking more coffee for the extra jolt these days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can Autism be 'Outgrown' ?

There is more evidence that a minority of autistic children may eventually overcome their developmental issues, but experts caution that such recovery is rare
It’s long been the hope of parents of autistic children that the right care and support can reduce or even reverse some of the developmental problems associated with the condition. But while a recent study found that behavioral intervention programs are linked with normalization of some brain activity, the question of whether children can outgrow autism remains difficult to answer. Studies to date that have hinted at this possibility were plagued with lingering questions about whether the children who apparently shed their autism were properly diagnosed with the developmental disorder in the first place.
The new research, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and led by Deborah Fein of the University of Connecticut, involved 34 people ages 8 to 21 who had been diagnosed with autism but no longer met criteria for the condition. The initial diagnosis had to be made in writing by a doctor or psychologist specializing in autism before the child turned five. And, to make sure they were studying severe cases, researchers included only children who had not spoken before 18 months or did not use phrases before age 2.