HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

September 2015

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Biomarker Helps Monitor

COPD Patients

Practitioners will be better able to help people with the lung disorder COPD after scientists discovered the first FDA-approved biomarker for the disease.

The biomarker, plasma fibrinogen, will allow more effective treatments to be developed, according to the COPD Foundation, which created a consortium to conduct the needed research.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a term that covers a number of lung disorders such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and irreversible asthma. COPD is marked by increased breathlessness, frequent coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Smoking is the primary cause; others include exposure to secondhand smoke, chemical fumes and air pollution.

The plasma fibrinogen biomarker was developed after six years of effort by the COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC), which consists of representatives from both the private and public sectors.

“This is a major triumph and, on behalf of the entire COPD community, I extend a heartfelt thank-you to the FDA and congratulate the CBQC on its commitment and tireless leadership that allowed us to reach this significant milestone,” said John W. Walsh, cofounder and president of the COPD Foundation.

As many as 24 million Americans have COPD, according to the foundation, but about half of them are undiagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control says COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US, claiming more than 134,500 lives each year.

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Teen Girls Who Exercise

May Live Longer

Encourage your adolescent daughter to get moving—it may lengthen her lifespan.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined data from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, which involves 74,941 Chinese women between 40 and 70. Each participant was asked when she first joined the study about her exercise habits during youth and adulthood, and was re-interviewed every two or three years.

According to lead author Sarah Nechuta, PhD, of Vanderbilt, exercise during one’s teen years “was associated with reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality.” Risk of death from any cause dropped by 20%.

Results were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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N U M B E R S

 

More Artificial Hips at Midlife


200%+

Rate by which hip replacement

surgeries, once only seen

among the elderly, rose among

people between 45 and 54

from 2000 to 2010

 

42%

Percentage of such surgeries

done on middle-aged

patients in 2011

 

34%

Same percentage in 2002;

doctors think improved durability,

early sports participation may

help explain trend

 

Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons meeting

 

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Supplementation May

Contain Health Costs

No matter how it’s paid for, healthcare is an expensive commodity in most developed countries. But a European study team believes that the wider use of nutritional supplements may lead to reduced public health outlays.

Researchers at four institutions—the UK’s University of Southampton, Ireland’s Trinity College, Italy’s Sapienza University and Germany’s Charité Medical University—reviewed 19 papers on monitored supplement use that compared the costs versus the clinical outcomes achieved. The number of patients involved in each investigation ranged from 40 to 1.16 million.

Writing in the journal Clinical Nutrition, the study team concluded, “This review suggests that standard ONS (oral nutritional supplements) in the hospital setting produce a cost saving and are cost effective.”

In one example of supplement usage after abdominal surgery, “the mean net cost saving was £746 per patient,” or about $1,163.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than half of all Americans take at least one dietary supplement a day.

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Q U O T E

 

Wine, like food, is so emotional.…

There’s a built-in romance to wine.


—Padma Lakshmi

(Enhance your (and your sweetie’s) enjoyment of the vine’s favorite fruit by

cooking with organic vintages; see story here)

 

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Vitamin E May Aid People

with Fatty Liver

Excessive fat accumulation can harm the liver, but vitamin E has been found to improve the organ’s function in people with this condition.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an umbrella term for a number of conditions under which fat is deposited in the liver for reasons other than excessive alcohol consumption. If unchecked, it can progress to liver cirrhosis (scarring) and either failure or cancer of the organ.

A study team at Japan’s Aichi Medical University reviewed the results of five clinical trials. According to results published in the journal Nutrition, vitamin E was able to significantly improve liver function among NAFLD patients while helping to reduce liver inflammation and swelling.

Because NAFLD often causes no symptoms or such vague complaints as fatigue and malaise, most cases are diagnosed after routine blood tests.

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