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Health Tips ... from UPI

By CHRISTINE SUH, UPI Science News   |   July 22, 2003 at 9:00 AM
OSTEOPOROSIS IN ... MEN?

Men over 50 have a greater chance of having an osteoporosis-related fracture than developing prostate cancer, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports. The bone disease, which makes bones brittle and more prone to breaking, is associated most commonly with women, but it is under-diagnosed in men. Some of the risk factors include alcohol, smoking and nutrition. Also, Dr. Clifford Rosen, director of the Maine Center for Osteoporosis Research and Education, said men are more likely to develop the disease if they have had a family history of osteoporosis, kidney stones, pituitary problems or treatment with glucocorticoids -- cortisone or prednisone. Speaking at a meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, Rosen recommended men over 55 who have lost two or more inches in height be tested immediately for bone density. Treatment can include diet changes and other therapies.


STOPPING THE SHOPPING

Researchers have found that a drug commonly prescribed as an antidepressant could curb compulsive shopping disorder as well. From 2 to 8 percent of Americans have uncontrollable shopping urges, often causing financial problems as a result of binge spending sprees. In a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, however, researchers found compulsive shoppers who took citalopram, a drug approved as an antidepressant, said they had lost an interest in shopping. Though it might seem a harmless activity to some, researchers said compulsive shopping can damage relationships and cause serious psychological and family problems, not to mention financial woes. One study participant had bought more than 2,000 wrenches. "Patients improved within one or two weeks," said Dr. Lorrin Koran, lead author of the study. Further research is needed, however, on the effectiveness of the drug and other drugs in the same class, he noted.


HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS ADD IMAGINARY WEIGHT

High school girls tend to see themselves as 11 pounds heavier than they really are, a new study found. Their male counterparts, meanwhile, showed no discrepancy between their current and ideal body weights. In the study of 215 high schoolers, researchers asked students to pick out body silhouettes that resembled their own. On average, the girl's saw themselves as heavier than they really were, and they wanted to be thinner. Lead author Michael Peterson of the University of Delaware in Newark said understanding how adolescents perceive how they look can help health professionals re-steer poor health behavior and reduce the risk of associated illnesses. Infatuation with thinness can lead to extreme dieting, low self-esteem, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and general physical and mental ill health. The research appears in the American Journal of Health Behavior.


LIFE PROLONGING CREATES NEW CONCERNS FOR ELDERLY

New research shows the latest technologies that prolong the lives of older patients who are dying put them and their families in major dilemmas. The study, led by Jane Seymour of Sheffield University in England, showed many patients and families do not understand well the decisions they face about patient care. "Although death these days occurs most commonly at the end of a long life, until now we have known very little about what older people consider is important in achieving a dignified death -- a basic human right for all," Seymour said. In the study of 77 people between 60 and 85, the researchers found the subjects had a poor understanding of the clinical, ethical and legal framework involved in using life-prolonging technologies. The study concluded care for the elderly should be a result of discussion between clinicians, patients and families rather than a result of a statement written in advance of a health event.


(Editors: For more information on MALE OSTEO, contact Donna Krupa at 703-527-7357 or djkrupa1@aol.com. For SHOPPING, contact Michelle Brandt at 650-723-0272. For WEIGHT IMAGE, Michael Peterson at 302-831-3672 or pmpeter@udel.edu. For PROLONGING, Anna Hinds in the U.K. at +44-179-341-3122 or anna.hinds@esrc.ac.uk)

Topics: Jane Seymour
© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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