Being Overweight may not be as Harmful to Your Health as Previously Thought

Obesity has long been associated with heart disease and scores of other health maladies. However, a study is beginning to challenge this idea. A researcher has discovered that people of normal weight who develop type 2 diabetes are in fact twice as more likely to die from the disease than diabetics who are overweight.

The study
was done by Mercedes Carnethon who does research for diabetes at Feinberg School of Medicine. Her discovery is being called the obesity paradox. In further twists, multiple studies have shown that those who develop chronic diseases who are also overweight or obese tend to live longer than those who are within their recommended weight range. Separate studies have shown similar results for patients with dialysis and coronary disease; those who were overweight fared better and had an overall lower mortality rate than their normal weight counterparts.

Researchers are scrambling to find an explanation. One theory is that once a disease develops, the body will begin to use more energy and calorie reserves, which overweight people have more of stored in their body. Once those reserves are expended, the person will become malnourished.

Other researchers suspect genetics as the culprit. It is believed that thin people who develop health problems have gene variants that make them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the illness.

Another study in 2005 showed that those who face the biggest risk of premature death were from the extreme ends of the weight spectrum: those who were either extremely obese or underweight. Those in the overweight category, however, had the lowest mortality rate of all, while those in the moderately obese category were no more at risk than those in the normal weight category.

The findings are truly puzzling and may completely change the way we think about weight and its association with disease and early death. Perhaps having those love handles may not be as bad after all.

NDM-1 the SuperBug

A new report showed that a gene which causes bacteria to become impervious to antibiotics has been found in the water supply in New Delhi. The implications for the rest of the world are huge and formidable, already being observed in Europe, where the gene, New Delhi or NDM-1 superbug, has been found among patients. Health experts in Europe are saying the battle with antibiotic-resistant infections has reached a critical point, and even the strongest and newest drugs are no longer able to fight them.

Superbug NDM1 LancastriaAccording to the BBC over 25,000 people die every year in the EU alone from bacterial infections that even the newest antibiotics will not treat.

The Guardian reports more on the findings in India:

“the gene, known as NDM-1, is widespread in the water used for cooking, washing and drinking in Delhi. It will inevitably be brought into hospitals in the gut flora of patients. The potential for movement around the world is high.”

NDM-1 causes myriad variations of bacteria – including E coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae – to become immune to antibiotics known as carbapenems, that are used when other antibiotics fail to work. The team also found the gene had spread to bacteria that cause dysentery and cholera.

However, the widespread panic over germs and the sanitizer craze, disinfectants, etc., at least in the U.S., continues, in light of being a major part of the problem.

The Guardian quotes Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe:

“There are now superbugs that do not respond to any drug. Given the growth of travel and trade in Europe and across the world, people should be aware that until all countries tackle this, no country alone can be safe.”

Sickness Sprouts Up Across America – Alfalfa Is To Blame

“Inside Bay Area” reporter Mary Clare Jalonick reported that an evil supply of Alfalfa sprouts were recalled because of salmonella poisoning. These Caldwell Fresh Foods raw sprouts had been sold to more than 400 Wal-Mart stores in 15 states around America: in Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin.

The recall came too late. The federal Centers for Disease Control told us that the salmonella sprouts sickened at least 22 people in 10 states – eleven persons in Cali and one Oregon baby. The dangerous vegetables were sold in seven stores in California which weren’t Wal-Mart stores, including Trader Joe’s. They were sold to restaurants, delis and other retailers.

Two sprout eaters were sickened in Nevada and two in Wisconsin. Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado each had one sickened sprout eater.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious infections in those with weakened immune systems. It can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting – it can be fatal.

75 Wal-Marts in Illinois, 56 Wal-Marts in Georgia and 47 Wal-Marts in Louisiana purchased the sickening sprouts. The rest of the stores were spread through the other 12 states.

According to Mary Clare Jalonick:

“The alfalfa sprouts were sold in plastic cups and plastic bags under the Caldwell Fresh Foods brand, plastic cups under the Nature’s Choice brand and plastic containers under the California Fresh Exotics brand”

Alfalfa sprouts are grown in a warm, humid environment, which increases the chances of salmonella, listeria or E. coli infection.

For future reference: children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts.

New Virulent Swine Flu Strain Reported by WHO

We’re generally not the ones to fuel media hype about swine flu. I mean, really, what can you seriously do to prepare for the eventuality of infection? Not much, if anything, besides be self-aware and seek immediate medical attention when you have any symptoms. That, and if you smoke and are overweight, quit and lose the weight. Both increase the chances of serious complications or even death from H1N1. So do those things. Otherwise, there’s probably no way to prevent yourself from getting infected besides luck.

Swine Flu VirusWell, I guess if you’re really gung ho about protecting yourself, you could put on a Hazmat suit and live in the woods until flu season is over. But I’m betting that you’re not willing to go that far, so here’s a piece of news that may make you give that option just a split second of deliberation before you completely discount it, which of course you will.

Doctors are now reporting a severe form of swine flu that goes straight to the lungs, causing severe illness in otherwise healthy young people and requiring expensive hospital treatment, says the World Health Organization. A quick infection of the lungs requires immediate attention and aggressive treatment in an ICU. They are also warning countries in the northern hemisphere, which is where most countries these days happen to be, to prepare for a second wave of flu.

Minorities and indigenous populations seem to have an infection rate 4 to 5 times higher than the general population, assumed due to health conditions and lower standards of living. Epidemic levels are being reported in Japan, and the situation is worsening in the tropical zones of the globe.

To get some perspective, about half a million people die from flu every single year. The reason everyone is making such a big deal out of this one is that it doesn’t originate in humans and we don’t have a developed immunity to it. But don’t freak out from reading this post. Just be alert, and make sure you’re breathing alright.

Doctors’ cell phones carry dangerous bacteria strains

Ever wonder why diseases often spread in hospitals, even in supposedly sterile environments like new-born baby wards? A recent study carried in Turkey’s top medical university, Ondokuz Mayis, have concluded that call phones carried by doctors and other health care workers often have as many as three or more strains of bacteria on them, and even though they wash their hands thoroughly, the cell phones they carry are not disinfected. The findings said that the phones “act as a reservoir for transmitting bacteria from patient to patient”.

The study was carried out on 200 health professionals, and found that even though they observed requirements for washing hands and wearing clean uniforms, at least 95% of their cellular phones tested positive for at least one bacteria strain, with
12.5% of the phones testing positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria strains.

The MRSA bacteria is an antibiotic resistant of the common S. aureus bacteria that is responsible for staph infections. If the bacteria gets into the body and reaches sensitive organs, such as the lungs, the result can be serious complications, and even death. MRSA staph infections in hospitals have risen more than 63% between 1974 and 2004, and result in 94,000 MRSA infections and 19,000 deaths per year. Patients in hospitals are especially at risks, as they are often in a more vulnerable state of health.

The mobile phones, being close to the body, and in constant use by both physicians, nurses and other health care professionals are at risks for transmitting diseases, including to the phone owner’s own family. “The mobile phones are carried all day long and not cleaned properly” the study determined.

The study found that only one in ten health care workers cleaned their phones properly.

Although the banning of cell phones might prove to be too impracticable, as they act as paging devices while the workers are on duty, it was recommended that the phones be cleaned frequently with an alcohol or antimicrobial disinfectant.