HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

May 2015

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UPDATE

 

Wearable Tech Counts

Steps Accurately

In our March story on digital health we learned how the fast-growing world of health technology, wearable and otherwise, allows people to monitor everything from heart rate to ultraviolet exposure—and how this flood of data will lead to far-reaching changes in how we interact with the healthcare system.

Among the most popular pieces of wearable tech are pedometers, which measure the number of steps taken in a day. It’s an important health indicator: Studies have shown that the more steps you take the less likely you are to suffer from obesity, weak bones and disorders such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. What’s more, many people find that carrying a pedometer motivates them to walk more often.

Most Americans aren’t wearing pedometers. However, almost two-thirds of all adults in the US carry a smartphone, for which step-count apps are available. Others are starting to sport more advanced fitness tech featuring a pedometer function. But are these devices accurate?

For the most part yes, according to a University of Pennsylvania study. Researchers there recruited 14 volunteers to walk on treadmills while observers counted their steps. The participants used a variety of popular devices such as the Fitbit Flex, the Nike Fuelband and a Galaxy S4 running an Android app called Moves.

In a JAMA report, the study team said that pedometers and accelerometers were the most accurate, followed by smartphone apps and then by other types of wearable devices.

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Vitamin D May Slow Prostate Cancer

Men with low-grade prostate cancer who took vitamin D showed signs of slowed disease progression in a recent study.

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina assigned 37 men who underwent complete prostate removal to take either 4,000 IU of vitamin D or a placebo for 60 days before their operations. While many patients with low-grade cancers opt for a watch-and-wait approach, some men prefer early surgery.

The study team found that prostates from men in the supplement group showed improvements; those from men in the control group stayed the same or got worse. The researchers noted that this was a small study and that larger trials are needed.

Results were reported in March at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one man in every seven will develop prostate cancer.

 

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NUMBERS

 

Young Arms At Risk

 

53%

Parents unaware of safe pitching guidelines for young baseball players

38%

Young pitchers who miss at least one game because of arm pain

49%

Pitchers who threw in more than one league at a time (which leads to overuse; other
factors include high pitch counts, throwing breaking pitches before developmentally ready)

Source: University of Florida

 

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Many Moms-To-Be Don’t

Get Enough Omega-3

Almost three-quarters of pregnant women don’t get enough of omega-3 fatty acids crucial for fetal health.

More than 2,000 Canadian women have participated in the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition study, designed to examine the relationship between a pregnant woman’s diet and the health of both herself and her child.

The most recent APrON research, led by the University of Alberta, looked at maternal intakes of three key omega-3 fats: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All three are required for fetal development, especially brain growth, and for a child’s continued healthy development while breastfeeding.

“Only 27% of women during pregnancy and 25% at three months postpartum met the current European Union consensus recommendation for DHA,” the study team wrote in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Current EU guidelines call for pregnant and lactating women to consume a mininum of 200 mg of DHA a day. American and Canadian dietary organizations recommend women get at least 500 mg a day.

 

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Word

 

SULFORAPHANE


A compound found in cruciferous

vegetables (especially broccoli sprouts)

with antioxidant and anti-

inflammatory properties; shows

promise in cancer protection.

 

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