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Health Tips ... from UPI

Aug. 25, 2003 at 9:00 AM   |   Comments

FREQUENT EXERCISE NEEDED TO CONTROL DIABETES

People over age 40 need regular and frequent exercise to control diabetes, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. "As people age, they typically experience a decline in insulin sensitivity, a key underlying factor that makes them more prone to becoming diabetic," researchers said. The study found middle-aged and older people do not sustain the increased insulin sensitivity that aerobic exercise produces, while younger people can maintain higher insulin sensitivity even four days after their last workout. With a decrease in insulin sensitivity, blood glucose levels increase. High blood glucose levels, typical in diabetes, can damage virtually every organ in the body. Increased insulin sensitivity helps regulate blood glucose, and prevent or reduce its potentially harmful effects. Therefore, the best medicine for people over 40 with Type 2 diabetes is exercise on a near-daily basis.


DEALING WITH KIDS' FOOD ALLERGIES AT SCHOOL

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network recommends parents of children with food allergies take a more active role in helping school officials in develop written emergency treatment plans. Approximately 3 million American teens and children under the age of 18 suffer from food allergies, FAAN reports. Each year, food-allergy-induced reactions account for nearly 200 deaths and 30,000 emergency room visits. Childhood allergies to common foods such as peanuts, milk and eggs require parents to involve school communities to keep children safe. The organization advises meeting with school staff to discuss a child's food allergy and bring all medications the child needs, along with completed medical forms and a food allergy action plan. Highlight food allergy information on all forms and demonstrate the use of an epinephrine auto-injector if the child's doctor has prescribed one. Also, work with staff to create emergency response plans should an allergic reaction occur. "Parents must be guides and coaches for teachers, cafeteria staff and others," said Anne Mu├▒oz-Furlong, founder and CEO of FAAN. "Clear communication and a cooperative spirit are the most important tools for working with school staff."


FOCUSED RADIATION BEST FOR BREAST CANCER?

A five-year study on breast cancer treatments suggests a therapy called limited-field radiation might be as effective as whole-breast radiation to prevent the cancer's recurrence in women treated with breast-conserving surgery. WBRT is part of standard treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer who have undergone the surgical procedure. But it had remained undetermined how much tissue surrounding the tumor bed needed to be irradiated. Researchers from the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., compared rates of recurrence in two groups of women who had been treated with limited-field radiation and whole-breast radiation. After five years of follow-up, they found no difference in recurrence or survival rates between the two groups. So researchers now are looking to see whether limited-field therapy could be a better option for patients at low risk for recurrence.


SENSE OF HUMOR CHANGES WITH AGE

A Canadian study of humor in older adults has found although they still enjoy a good laugh, their ability to comprehend more complex forms of humor diminishes in later years. The findings represent a continuation of an earlier study that showed how the brain's right frontal lobe plays a strong role in the ability to appreciate humor. Subjects with right frontal damage -- from stroke, tumor or head trauma -- not only had difficulty "getting" punch lines, but preferred slapstick humor. In the new study, the researchers explored the effects of normal aging on humor comprehension and appreciation. They found the cognitive abilities required for humor comprehension include abstract reasoning, mental flexibility and working memory. All are complex, higher mental functions thought to be associated with the frontal lobes and evidence suggests the brain's frontal functions are the first to deteriorate with aging. Although scientists continue to debate this evidence, it may explain why older adults can have difficulty understanding more complex forms of humor.


(Editors: For more information on DIABETES, contact Sara Lee at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu. For FOOD ALLERGIES, Barry Lawrence at 703-691-3179 or blawrence@foodallergymail.org. For BREAST CANCER, Linda Wang at 301-841-1287 or jncimedia@oupjournals.org. For HUMOR, Kelly Connelly at 416-785-2432 or kconnelly@baycrest.org)

© 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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