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WellConnectTV: Why Subscribe to NCI Well Connect?
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Since 1985,
Bringing the Wellness of Tomorrow, Today.
February 29, 2012
Dear Valued Subscriber, 

MEMO TO PARENTS AND PEDIATRICIANS:
 
Screen All Kids for Vitamin D Deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency, which often develops insidiously in childhood, should be on every parent's and pediatrician's radar, according to physicians from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "Vitamin D deficiency can be a problem year round, but because sun exposure is critical for vitamin D synthesis and production, the winter months further exacerbate what is a perennial problem." 
 
Hopkins experts say pediatricians should screen all children for risk factors and order blood tests for those found to be at high risk. Children at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
  • Those with little or no sun exposure.
  • Those with vitamin D-poor diets.
  • Breast-fed infants because breast milk contains minimal vitamin D.
  • Obese children because they have trouble absorbing vitamin D.
  • Those with darker skin because darker skin synthesizes less vitamin D from sun exposure than lighter skin.
  • Those with medical conditions such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or any gastrointestinal disorder that impedes nutrient absorption.

One Hopkins' doctor said that she sees at least one toddler with rickets-induced bowing of the legs in her clinic every month and at least one patient per year with seizures stemming from low calcium levels. Without sufficient vitamin D, only 15 percent of dietary calcium is absorbed.

 

Once detected, vitamin D deficiency can be usually corrected easily with supplementation.


Have a happy, healthy day. 

Bonnie and Steve Minsky

 

This Week's Alerts

MagnesiumMagnesium Supps Lower Blood Pressure.

Magnesium supplements offer clinically significant reductions in blood pressure, according to a study in this month's European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Data from 22 trials with magnesium supplements revealed that it reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4 and 3mmHg, respectively on average.

Systolic function relates to the contraction of the heart, whereas diastolic relates to the filling of the heart with blood. Magnesium supplementation doses ranged from 120 to 973mg with a duration from three to 24 weeks. The overall data indicated that magnesium supplementation achieved optimum results when doses were approximately 370 milligrams per day.

Bonnie: More wonderful news on magnesium. Great to see that the average dose we usually recommend, 400 mg., was the most effective.

 

Here We Go Again. Another Obesity Drug to Be Approved. 

A panel of medical experts voted to endorse the controversial obesity drug Qnexa, clearing the way for the Food and Drug Administration to approve a new prescription obesity medication for the first time since 1999. The FDA will issue a final ruling later this year, but the agency typically follows the recommendations of its advisory committees.

In 2010, the same advisory committee decided that the drug's risks of heart problems and birth defects outweighed its benefits.

Qnexa, a combination of the anticonvulsant drug topiramate and the appetite suppressant phentermine, led to an average loss of 10% of total body weight in the first year of use. However, t
he trials also found that that the drug caused a slight increase in heart rate, which can boost the odds of a heart attack or stroke. In addition, researchers detected an increased risk of birth defects - typically cleft lip - in women who became pregnant while taking the drug. According to the clinical trial data and previous studies, the risk of having a baby with a cleft lip is two to five times greater in women who took Qnexa.


Steve: The panel's vote sure made the manufacturer happy. Their stock price soared after the announcement
. Will it make patients happy? Revisionist history with regard to obesity drugs says no. 

 

In our opinion, we do not recommend touching this med until at least 3 or 4 years of post-market research on its side effects has been performed. Besides, does the economic cost and potential for adverse effects in exchange for a ten percent reduction of body weight seem like a good trade-off?

  

Take Sleeping Pills? Your Mortality Risk Rises Four-Fold.

According to a study published in this week's BMJ Open, sleeping pills were linked to a more than fourfold risk of premature death. They were also associated at higher doses with a 35 percent increased risk of cancer as compared with non-users.

 

10,500 subjects who took between 18 and 132 doses of sleeping pills per year were 4.6 times likelier to die than 23,600 subjects who did not take them. Even those who took less than 18 annual doses were more than 3.5 times likelier to die. "Rough order-of-magnitude estimates suggest that in 2010, sleeping pills may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone," says the study.

 

Bonnie: Astounding data, but will our government agencies investigate this? If you are considering weaning off sleeping pills, contact your physician and pharmacist for a smart protocol. Non-pharmacological options, such as magnesium, as well as other suggestions found in ourSleep Well Action Plan, may be of assistance.

 

Care's Corner: The Big "S"

  

Featuring Food Consultant Carolyn Martinelli