By Brenda Goodman
SATURDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) — A new device that gives doctors a better view during colonoscopies may help them miss fewer suspicious growths during those exams, a new study shows.
Colonoscopies are the recommended screening tests for colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States.
To perform a colonoscopy, doctors use a long, flexible tube with a camera mounted on the end called a colonoscope to view the lining of the large intestine.
The basic design of those devices hasn’t changed in about 30 years, said study author Dr. Ian Gralnek, a senior physician at the department of gastroenterology at Rambam Health Care Campus and Elisha Hospital in Haifa, Israel.
And the design isn’t perfect. A February 2006 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that traditional colonoscopies missed 22 percent of polyps. Polyps are fleshy growths on the walls of the colon that can turn into cancers if they aren’t removed.
Part of the problem, Gralnek explained, is that scopes only have one forward-facing camera, which gives doctors a 170-degree view. That makes it easy to miss polyps, which often grow behind fleshy folds on the colon walls.
To improve detection, an Israeli company has designed a new colonoscope, called the Full Spectrum Endoscopy, or FUSE. The FUSE colonoscope uses three cameras mounted on the front and sides of a flexible arm to give doctors a 330-degree view as they work. EndoChoice of Alpharetta, Ga., the company that’s acquired the rights to the device, funded the study.
Gralnek tested the new technology by asking 183 stalwart patients to undergo back-to-back colonoscopies.
About half of the patients were randomly assigned to have a colonoscopy with a traditional colonoscope, followed by the same test using the new FUSE scope. In the other half, the order of the tests was reversed.
During the first test, doctors found and removed as many polyps as they could see. They used the second test to count the number of polyps that were missed on the first go-round.
The FUSE scope missed about 8 percent of adenomas — small, flat polyps that are especially concerning to doctors because they can turn into full-blow cancers. The standard colonoscopes missed about 43 percent of those growths.
“You really see a lot better [with the FUSE scope],” Gralnek said. “The natural anatomy of the colon has these folds. You can miss polyps on the back sides of these folds and at some of the twists and turns within the colon itself. Because of the extra cameras we’re seeing a lot more of the colon itself.”
An expert who was not involved in the research says the technology is worth further study.
“These are important data,” said Dr. Frank Sinicrope, a professor of medicine and oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
But Sinicrope said it’s still not clear whether the new technology will actually prevent more colon cancers than traditional colonoscopies do.
“Detecting more polyps and adenomas does not necessarily indicate that a reduction in cancer risk or mortality will result, since many small adenomas may never develop into cancers,” he pointed out.
It’s logical that finding more adenomas would make the test more effective, but he points out that hasn’t been proven yet.
The study was to be presented Saturday at the Digestive Diseases Week annual meeting in Orlando.
Research findings presented at medical conferences are considered preliminary because they haven’t yet had the scrutiny that’s required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Until the new technology is ready for widespread use, the most important thing to do is to go for a colonoscopy.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women of average risk get colonoscopies every 10 years, starting at age 50.
For more on colonoscopies, head to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
By Kathleen Doheny
SATURDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) — Vitamin D supplements may help those with Crohn’s disease overcome the fatigue and decreased muscle strength associated with the inflammatory bowel disease, according to new research.
Extra vitamin D “was associated with significantly less physical, emotional and general fatigue, greater quality of life and the ability to perform activities of daily living,” said Tara Raftery, a research dietitian and doctoral candidate at Trinity College Dublin. She is scheduled to present the findings Saturday at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Raftery and her colleagues evaluated 27 patients who had Crohn’s in remission. (Even in remission, fatigue and quality of life can be problematic.) The patients were assigned to take either 2,000 IUs (international units) of vitamin D a day or a dummy vitamin for three months.
Before and after the study, the researchers measured hand-grip strength, fatigue, quality of life and blood levels of vitamin D.
“Hand-grip strength is a proxy measure of muscle function,” Raftery said. “Muscle function has been known to be reduced in Crohn’s disease.”
Besides boosting bone growth and remodeling, vitamin D is thought to improve neuromuscular and immune function, reduce inflammation and help with other bodily tasks. Children and adults aged 1 year to 70 are advised to get 600 IUs a day; older adults, 800, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Vitamin D is found in fatty fish such as salmon, in smaller amounts in cheese, egg yolks and beef liver, and in fortified foods such as milk.
Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is also produced when the sun’s rays strike the skin.
Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon. Symptoms vary, but may include persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and pain and constipation. About 700,000 Americans are affected, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Its cause is not well understood, but Crohn’s is thought to involve heredity and environmental factors. Experts believe that in those with Crohn’s, the immune system attacks harmless intestinal bacteria, triggering chronic inflammation and, eventually, the disease symptoms.
The daily vitamin D supplement benefitted participants in many ways, Raftery found. “When levels of vitamin D peaked at 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) or more [a level considered healthy], muscle function in both the dominant and non-dominant hands were significantly higher than in those who had levels less than 30 ng/mL,” she said.
Quality of life improved more for the D-supplement group, too. Using a standard measure to evaluate quality of life, the researchers found those who achieved a healthy blood level of the vitamin scored 24 points higher than those not on supplements. A 20-point difference is considered meaningful from a “real-world” perspective, Raftery said.
Raftery now is testing vitamin D in a larger, year-long study of 130 Crohn’s patients.
The study results echo those of other researchers, including John White, professor of physiology at McGill University, Montreal. He said the research findings “show collectively that vitamin D acts in the intestine to stimulate the innate immune system to defend against pathogenic bacteria, and to enhance the barrier function of the intestinal epithelium [the lining of the intestine].”
Other researchers, including Raftery, have also shown vitamin D can help improve muscle strength, he said.
Vitamin D is getting a lot of attention in inflammatory bowel disease treatments, said Dr. Neera Gupta, co-chair of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s pediatric affairs committee.
More study is needed to determine the benefits of maintaining vitamin D levels higher than currently recommended, she said.
Gupta cautioned those with Crohn’s not to self-dose with vitamin D. “Discuss your vitamin D status with your primary gastroenterologist to determine whether or not vitamin D supplementation is indicated in your particular situation,” she said.
White said supplements are inexpensive and safer than too much sun exposure. A daily intake of 2,000 IUs is considered safe, he said. The safe upper limit for adults is 4,000 IUs, according to the NIH.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
To learn more about vitamin D, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SATURDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) — Just a few extra cups of coffee each month might help prevent the development of an autoimmune liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a new study suggests.
Investigators from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that drinking coffee was associated with a reduced risk of developing the disease, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and biliary cancer. This association, however, does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
“While rare, PSC has extremely detrimental effects,” Dr. Craig Lammert, an instructor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, said in a news release from the American Gastroenterological Association. “We are always looking for ways to mitigate risk, and our first-time finding points to a novel environmental effect that might also help us determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases.”
The study involved a large group of patients with PSC and an early form of liver cirrhosis, known as biliary cirrhosis. The researchers compared these patients to a healthy “control” group. The findings indicated that drinking coffee was linked to lower risk for PSC. Coffee consumption, however, was not associated with reduced risk for biliary cirrhosis.
The patients with PSC were much less likely to be coffee drinkers than those in the control group. The healthy participants spent roughly 20 percent more of their lives regularly drinking coffee, the investigators found.
A separate study found that enhancements to palliative care, or specialized comfort care for people with terminal illnesses, are needed to improve quality of life for cirrhosis patients who are rejected for a liver transplant. The review, conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, found that only 3 percent of the patients examined died while in hospice care.
“In our study, less than 10 percent of patients had even been referred to palliative care,” said Constantine Karvellas, assistant professor of medicine at the university. “We need to be better about ensuring quality of life for these patients.”
Palliative care focuses on relief from symptoms, pain and stress. The study showed that more than half of the patients involved in the study had pain and nausea in their final days. Other patients examined also experienced depression, anxiety, breathlessness and anorexia. The researchers said 80 percent were repeatedly hospitalized and underwent invasive procedures.
“Palliative care offers a way to avoid some of these costly procedures and at the same time improve the quality of life for these patients,” Karvellas said. “This data helps to start the conversation on how we can make a positive difference in the lives of many patients and families.”
The findings of both studies were scheduled for Monday presentation at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Studies presented at medical meetings should be seen as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about PSC.
SATURDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) — Children who swallow high-powered magnets often need surgery and other invasive procedures to remove the objects, according to a new study.
The researchers, from the Louisiana State University Health Center in New Orleans, found that more than 79 percent of children who swallowed very strong “neodymium magnets” required either surgery or an endoscopic procedure, in which a tube containing a camera is inserted into the digestive tract. Only 21 percent of these cases can be treated through observation or by pumping the stomach, they said.
These magnets may appear harmless, but they are up to 20 times stronger than typical refrigerator magnets and are powerful enough to cause significant — even fatal — damage to the digestive tract.
Although many ingested objects pass through a child’s system without serious problems, children frequently swallow more than one neodymium magnet at a time, the researchers said. As a result, the magnets can pull together and perforate the intestinal wall.
“We seemed to be seeing more and more of these cases, some of which were very serious — even life-threatening,” Dr. Robert Adam Noel, associate professor of pediatrics at Louisiana State University Children’s Hospital, said in a news release from the American Gastroenterological Association. “Our research not only confirms our concern, but also shows that early intervention is particularly important with these magnet ingestions.”
In conducting the study, the researchers questioned pediatric gastroenterologists across the United States and tracked the medical and surgical procedures used to treat patients who swallowed neodymium magnets.
The study found that in 31 percent of cases, surgery alone was needed to remove the ingested magnets. In 43 percent of the surgical cases, however, a second invasive procedure was required.
“The findings send a strong message to clinicians and parents,” Noel said. “Although they look harmless on an X-ray, these magnets are powerful enough to cause serious damage to the digestive tract in a short amount of time.”
Although children between 13 months and 6 years old are at greatest risk for swallowing neodymium magnets, older children’s risk is increasing because the magnets are used for body jewelry and fake piercings.
The study is scheduled for presentation Saturday at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Orlando. Data and conclusions of studies presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about the dangers of magnet ingestion.
By Dennis Thompson
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — As the American Psychiatric Association unveils the latest edition of what is considered the “bible” of modern psychiatry this weekend, the uproar over its many changes continues.
“This is unprecedented, the amount of commentary and debate and criticism,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). “It’s been an interesting phenomenon, but the evidence is what it is. You have to evaluate it and then make your own determination of how compelling it is, and what would be best clinical practice.”
The APA believes that changes made in this fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will allow for more precise diagnoses of mental illnesses in patients, because this edition better characterizes and categorizes disorders.
But it has drawn fire from critics who are concerned that the revised version will lead to the diagnosis of mental illness in people who are simply being challenged by life.
More than 1,500 experts from 39 countries representing a wide variety of medical fields contributed to the new DSM-5, which was more than a decade in the making. Drafts of the manual were made available online as part of three open-comment periods that drew more than 13,000 responses.
One of the most notable naysayers has been Dr. Allen Frances, chairman of the task force that created the DSM-4, the previous version of the guide that has been in use since 1994.
In a commentary released the day of the DSM-5′s release, Frances wrote that this latest revision introduces “several high-prevalence diagnoses at the fuzzy boundary with normality,” and predicted that the changes “will probably lead to substantial false-positive rates and unnecessary treatment.”
“In DSM-5, normal grief becomes a major depressive disorder, temper tantrums become disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, worrying about medical illness becomes somatic symptom disorder, gluttony becomes binge eating disorder and almost everyone will soon qualify for attention-deficit disorder,” Frances said in an interview.
The main points of contention regarding the DSM-5 include:
The combination of a number of autism-related disorders into a single category called autism spectrum disorder. Although some clinicians believe that placing autism on a continuum from mild to severe will allow for more accurate diagnoses, others are concerned that high-functioning people with autism will find themselves unable to receive services or treatment. This is particularly true of people with Asperger’s Syndrome, a diagnosis that has been eliminated from the DSM-5, critics of the new version contend.
“We’re concerned that people who have Asperger’s — who have high-functioning autism — are going to be dismissed as just being different when the majority of adults with Asperger’s will need people to assist them in parts of their lives,” said Karen Rodman, president and founder of Families of Adults Affected With Asperger’s Syndrome.
“We are very concerned that medicine is going to drop the ball again, and the children who need services won’t get them,” Rodman said. “Fortunately, clinicians and physicians and the public around the world are still going to refer to Asperger’s as Asperger’s. It’s like saying people don’t have a right arm anymore.
“Many people with Asperger’s are [also] concerned there will be a stigma — that everyone will be considered autistic — and when people think of that they think of a child sitting in a corner and spinning,” Rodman added.
- Changes made to the diagnostic criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Critics are concerned that changes made to better diagnose ADHD will instead lead to over-diagnosis. In the previous version of the DSM, a person needed to show the onset of symptoms before age 7 to be diagnosed with ADHD. The new version now says 12 is the latest age at which ADHD symptoms can manifest themselves. The DSM-5 also reduces the number of criteria needed to arrive at a diagnoses of adult ADHD from six to five.
- A new diagnostic category for children who are hostile or acting out. The DSM-5 includes a new category called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which would apply to children who have extreme irritability but fall short of the standards for bipolar disorder or depression. The category was created to deal with the upswing in bipolar diagnoses among children, but there is concern that some clinicians will label a simple childhood temper tantrum as a treatable mental illness.
- Breaking out obsessive-compulsive disorders into their own category. Obsessions such as hoarding, hair-pulling and skin-picking had been considered anxiety disorders, but in the DSM-5 they will have their own category. Critics are concerned that this change has more to do with reality television’s recent focus on hoarders than with the need for a new category of mental illness.
Lieberman called the DSM-5 “a reflection of the state of our scientific knowledge,” and strongly disagreed with the notion that over-diagnosis and overmedication will be the end result of the manual’s new standards.
“This doesn’t reflect any expansion of the people who would be diagnosed. It just classifies them in a more concise and accurate way,” he said. “The goal of the DSM is not to expand the number [of people] who receive diagnoses who don’t warrant them. The reality is that there is tremendous under-treatment of people with real needs, and this new revision will help.”
Reflecting on the strong reaction to the changes, Lieberman said it may go hand-in-hand with the public’s uneasiness with mental illness.
“I think there’s a strong stigma factor associated with mental illness,” he said. “There are people who are either fearful of it or want to minimize its existence. That stigma has been historic, but it has been diminishing with greater education and research and better treatment.”
For his part, Frances ascribes nothing but good intentions to those who worked on the new DSM, but is concerned that their efforts will lead to bad outcomes.
“The people who are suggesting these changes are experts in their field who are pure of heart, but they have made terrible decisions because they don’t understand that new diagnoses that may work well for them can be an absolute disaster in everyday care, especially when drug companies get their hands on them,” he said.
Frances has written a new book, Saving Normal, in which he argues that mental illness is over-diagnosed in America. He urged both parents and clinicians to be skeptical when it comes to the DSM-5 and any diagnoses that spring from it.
“My advice to physicians is to use the DSM-5 cautiously, if at all,” Frances concluded in his commentary. “It is not an official manual; no one is compelled to use it unless they work in an institutional setting that requires it.”
Fore more on the DSM-5, go to the American Psychiatric Association.
By Serena Gordon
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — It comes as little surprise that college students sometimes binge drink, but new research shows that college women are more likely to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol on a weekly basis than are college men.
Much of this difference is probably because the amount of alcohol that’s considered safe on a weekly basis is much lower for women than it is for men: seven drinks for women versus 14 for men. But, there’s good reason for that difference. Women don’t metabolize alcohol in the same way as men, and lesser amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer and liver disease in women.
Throughout the study, 15 percent of women exceeded weekly drinking limits compared to 12 percent of men. In addition, men’s weekly drinking appeared to go down throughout the year, but not so for women.
“College women adopt a drinking style that will cause toxicity soon. Overall, women drink less than men do, but they don’t seem to know how much less they should be drinking in a week,” explained Bettina Hoeppner, lead study author and an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Hoeppner said the biggest concern is that women may be setting themselves up for long-term health problems, particularly if they’re not aware of the safe weekly alcohol limits. She noted that women might think they’re fine if they don’t binge drink, but it’s easy to hit the weekly limit by just having a glass of wine with dinner every night.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines low-risk drinking as no more than three drinks a day or seven drinks a week for women. For men, those limits are four drinks a day and 14 drinks a week.
The daily limits were set to avoid the physical and thinking problems that can occur from drinking too much in one day. The weekly limits took into account how much alcohol someone would need to consume to raise their risk of chronic health conditions, such as liver disease, sleep disorders, heart disease and some cancers.
Hoeppner’s study included 992 college students: 575 females and 417 males. The students provided biweekly reports of their daily drinking habits through a Web-based questionnaire.
Two-thirds of both the men and women exceeded the NIAAA weekly or daily guidelines at least once during the year, according to the study. Slightly more than 51 percent of the women and about 45 percent of the men exceeded weekly drinking limits at least once during the year.
Men were slightly more likely to exceed daily limits than women: 28 percent of men versus 25 percent of women, but the researchers said this difference wasn’t statistically significant.
The study findings appear online May 17 and in the upcoming October print issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse at the NYU Langone Medical Center, said he suspects that college women may be trying to drink as much as their male counterparts. “I think these young women are independent souls and are motivated to drink in a manner that’s similar to the way that men are drinking,” he said. “In terms of what’s considered normative, there isn’t much difference between men and women now.”
But, he cautioned, “Comparable levels of drinking for women have a greater impact in terms of intoxication.”
Study author Hoeppner said she didn’t think that women were necessarily trying to drink as much as men, just that they might not be as aware of what’s considered a safe weekly limit.
“Women need to be reminded that there are weekly limits, and women can exceed those limits quickly. It’s important to track the number of drinks you have per week, not just on occasion. And, alcohol prevention information should address the rationale behind weekly limits,” Hoeppner suggested.
Learn more about drinking in college from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
By Brenda Goodman
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — There are apps that turn your smartphone into a metal detector, a musical instrument and a GPS system, and now there’s an app that may help doctors save your life if you’re having a heart attack.
The app, which was designed by engineers and critical care physicians, helps doctors rapidly diagnose certain kinds of severe heart attacks, called STEMIs, before patients get to the hospital.
The app currently is in the experimental stage, but it has undergone field testing.
In a STEMI heart attack, which stands for ST segment elevated myocardial infarction, a clot completely blocks blood flow to the heart. About a quarter of a million people have STEMIs each year in the United States.
These kinds of heart attacks create a unique pattern of pulses when doctors hook up patients to an electrocardiogram, or EKG, machine, which measures the heart’s electrical activity.
The problem is that doctors need to see the EKG reading, which is called a tracing, to properly diagnose the attack and quickly assemble the team of specialists that is needed to clear the clot.
There are proprietary systems that use EKG machines hooked up to modems to send images back to hospital computers, but those systems are expensive and not all hospitals and EMS systems can afford them.
As an alternative, paramedics can use their smartphones in the field to snap a picture of the tracing and send it to a doctor at the hospital via email.
But as anyone who has ever tried to email a picture from their phone knows, it’s far from foolproof. Large, high-quality images — the kind doctors need to see — can take several minutes to send and receive.
To address the issue, Dr. David Burt, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia, challenged a class of systems engineering students to develop an app that could shrink images to make them faster to send, but still maintain the clarity needed for diagnoses.
“It’s very easy to use,” Burt said. “You hold it over the EKG tracing, you snap a picture.” Hitting a button sends the image. When it’s finished, the app shakes and makes noise to alert senders to the successful transmission.
“It’s very simple but we want it to be very rugged, so that it’s kind of like a hammer — it always works,” he said. He also wants to offer the app at no cost to doctors and hospitals.
So far, Burt said, they have tested the app more than 1,500 times using different wireless carriers in a city.
They also have pitted the app against the alternative method of using an iPhone to email a picture. In that study, the app consistently sent images within four to six seconds. Emailed images could take nearly two minutes to go through. The app failed less than 1 percent of the time, while the emailed images flopped between 3 percent and 71 percent of the time, according to the study.
The study is scheduled for presentation Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Baltimore. Studies presented at medical conferences are considered preliminary because they haven’t yet undergone the scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dr. Iltifat Husain, founder of the iMedicalApps website, which keeps up with news about technology in medicine, said he was impressed by the app, but also by how thoroughly the team has been testing it. Husain estimates that less than 1 percent of apps that are developed for doctors are field tested to see if they actually work.
“Something like this would have to be tested before it was put to use because of how critical the information is that you’re relaying,” said Husain, who was not involved in the research.
Husain, who also is an emergency medicine resident at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said the time the app shaves off image transmission could be critical.
“The longer you wait, the more heart muscle dies, so every minute counts,” he said. “Actually, every second counts.”
Surviving a STEMI depends on how quickly doctors can restore blood flow, which often is done by snaking a catheter up to the heart and using a small balloon to clear the clot.
“We’ll get an EKG reading and the ER physician will activate the cath lab. Once you activate it, a huge team has to be assembled,” Husain said. “If it’s overnight, people are sometimes coming in from home. If you can get someone coming in from home five minutes faster, I think it’s a big deal.”
For more about heart attacks, head to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
When it comes to spin, there’s no shortage of variety: you can channel your inner American Idol while you ride at spin karaoke, sneak in some extra toning with resistance bands anchored above your bike in a SoulCycle class and even Zen out at fusion classes that offer yoga after you pedal.
I thought it wasn’t possible to come up with anything else until I heard of aqua spinning, the newest trend that has participants ditch gym shorts for bathing suits with bikes located in a swimming pool. Yes, a pool. Both skeptical and intrigued, I decided to give it a shot at AQUA, NYC’s first aqua spinning studio.
When I entered the studio, I thought I had the wrong building: there weren’t any florescent lights and it lacked that weird gym smell of sweat and plastic mats. Instead I was greeted by exposed brick walls and a dimly candle lit space that reminded me of a spa, which was the look they were going for, says Aqua’s owner and French expat, Esther Gauthier.
“I wanted it to look less like a gym and more like a place that is cozy and warm where you can not only workout but escape the fast pace of NYC life,” she said. Though aqua cycling is a novelty in the States and just gaining traction, it’s been a hit with our European friends since the 1990s, beginning in Italy and spreading to France and Germany. After she tried out a class in Paris, Gauthier decided to bring it back to the Big Apple.
After collecting my towel and clear jelly spinning shoes, I slipped on a sporty suit and squirmed into a rather chilly pool (I would thank this cool temperature later). The seven other aqua spinning virgins and I were looking around like we still couldn’t believe we were on a bike IN A POOL.
The instructor helped adjust our bikes, which instead of the traditional resistance dials, have three pre-set levels you choose from before starting. Of course, the water makes it a little harder too.
Then we rode, or is it swam? The 45-minute class had many similar elements of “dry spin” incorporating interval sprints and in and out of saddle riding to a soundtrack of dance and hip hop music.
Several times during the ride I snuck a glance at my legs thinking they were flying like a Tour de France champion, only to see them ambling along in what seemed like slow motion. This was tougher than I thought! We paused twice during the workout to squeeze in upper body toning exercises like bicep curls and shoulder presses as well as some ab work by hooking our feet around the handle bars to do crunches and oblique twists. By the end of the sesh, I was panting (though oddly relaxed at the same time) and my not-so-in-shape tummy was already a little sore.
While it is unclear if this new workout can promise to slash 800 calories and nix cellulite just yet, water workouts are easy on the joints while providing the same cardio benefits as land and can boost mood, which may explain why I felt so zenned out after.
And though I wasn’t drenched in sweat post-ride, I did feel like I worked my leg muscles deeper probably because water offers 12 times the resistance of air.
The $40 per class price tag may be a deterrent to some but if you’re looking to shake up your gym routine, aqua spinning is worth diving into.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Alcoholics who smoke have more problems with memory, problem solving and quick thinking than those who are nonsmokers, researchers have found.
This “early aging” of the brain gets worse over time, according to the study published online May 17 and in the October print issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The study measured mental or “cognitive” functioning.
“The independent and interactive effects of smoking and other drug use on cognitive functioning among individuals with [alcohol dependence] are largely unknown,” Alecia Dager, an associate research scientist in the department of psychiatry at Yale University, said in a journal news release. “This is problematic because many heavy drinkers also smoke. Furthermore, in treatment programs for alcoholism, the issue of smoking may be largely ignored,” she noted.
For the study, adult participants were divided into four groups. The first included 39 healthy people who never smoked. The other groups included people seeking treatment for alcoholism after not drinking for one month. Of these, 30 people had never smoked, 21 were former smokers and 68 were current smokers.
According to study corresponding author Timothy Durazzo, the investigators “focused on the effects of chronic cigarette smoking and increasing age on cognition because previous research suggested that each has independent, adverse effects on multiple aspects of cognition and brain biology in people with and without alcohol use disorders.”
The researchers analyzed participants’ mental ability in a number of areas.
Durazzo, who is an assistant professor in the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the news release that “at one month of abstinence, actively smoking [alcohol-dependent participants] had greater-than-normal age effects on measures of learning, memory, processing speed, reasoning and problem-solving, and fine motor skills.”
In contrast, among participants with alcohol problems, “never-smokers and former-smokers showed equivalent changes on all measures with increasing age as the never-smoking controls,” he explained.
“These results indicate the combination of alcohol dependence and active chronic smoking was related to an abnormal decline in multiple cognitive functions with increasing age,” Durazzo said, and that “the combined effects of these drugs are especially harmful and become even more apparent in older age.”
He pointed out that other factors, including nutrition and exercise, may also influence brain function during early abstinence. He added that underlying medical issues including high blood pressure and diabetes as well as psychiatric conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder could also play a role.
Based on their findings, the authors suggested that as people get older, chronic smoking and heavy drinking are associated with increased oxidative damage to the brain.
“Oxidative damage results from increased levels of free radicals and other compounds that directly injure neurons and other cells that make up the brain. Cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption expose the brain to a tremendous amount of free radicals,” Durazzo explained.
While the study tied alcohol dependence combined with smoking to early brain aging, it didn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
The researchers advised that people seeking treatment for alcohol abuse should also be routinely offered help to quit smoking.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about effects of alcohol on the brain.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — After age 50, excess body fat hardens the arteries, potentially increasing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
The blood vessels of young people can adapt to the effects of obesity, but this ability is lost after middle age, British researchers found. As body fat accumulates, arteries become stiffer, they cautioned, suggesting years of being overweight could lead to irreversible damage.
“The effects of having more fat seem to be different depending on your age. It looks like young people may be able to adapt to excess body fat, but by middle age the cumulative exposure to years of obesity may start to cause permanent damage to the arteries,” said study leader Dr. Declan O’Regan, of the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Center at Imperial College London.
One implication of the study, published in the June print issue of the journal Hypertension, is that the potential benefits of weight loss may depend on your age and how long you have been overweight, he added.
Because blood travels faster in stiff vessels than healthy vessels, the researchers were able to assess artery hardness by using an MRI scanner to measure the speed of blood flow in the aorta of 200 people. Young adults with more body fat had less stiff arteries, they found. In people older than 50, however, excess weight was associated with hardening of the arteries. This was true for both men and women, the researchers noted.
“We don’t know for sure how body fat makes arteries stiffer, but we do know that certain metabolic products in the blood may progressively damage the elastic fibers in our blood vessels. Understanding these processes might help us to prevent the harmful effects of obesity,” said O’Regan in a college news release.
The study authors pointed out that hardening of the arteries was associated more with body fat percentage, which is estimated by passing a small electric current through the body, than body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement based on height and weight. The investigators added that more research is needed to determine when the harmful effects of obesity result in permanent damage to the heart.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Although being openly gay appears to affect a male actor’s masculinity ratings, it does not affect views on his performance, according to a new study.
Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina found that an actor who is “out” can be convincing when playing a heterosexual role, despite stereotypes about homosexuals.
“Early research showed that people tend to perceive a direct connection between sexual orientation and established gender roles, especially in the entertainment industry,” said the study’s leader, Paul Merritt, a psychology professor, in a Clemson news release. “However, these new findings indicate that knowledge of an actor’s sexual orientation doesn’t necessarily cause their performance to be perceived in light of stereotypes about gays and lesbians.”
The study, published recently in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, was conducted in the wake of news columns that maintained that knowing someone is gay will bias perceptions of his or her performance in a heterosexual role.
The researchers questioned roughly 400 college students about a male actor’s fictional Facebook page, featuring photos and information about his sexual orientation.
The students then watched a video of the actor and rated his performance. The students also stated how likely they would be to cast the actor in their own production. The study revealed that being openly gay didn’t affect perceptions or ratings of the actor’s performance, but it did influence their opinion of his masculinity.
The American Psychological Association has more about sexual orientation and homosexuality.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Teen bullies are more likely to be criminals when they’re adults, a new study finds.
UT Dallas researchers analyzed several decades of data collected from more than 400 men in Britain. All of them had similar working-class backgrounds and most came from two-parent families. They were followed until they were in their mid-50s.
Nearly half of the men who said they were bullies during their teen years engaged in some form of criminal activity — such as theft, burglary and assault — when they were adults, according to the study in a recent issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
“We also found that these men were more likely to be repeat offenders and at a much higher rate,” study co-author Alex Piquero, a professor of criminology, said in a UT Dallas news release.
Risk factors for being a teen bully also predicted criminal activity as an adult. These factors included poor school performance, impulsivity, poor parental supervision, family disruption and poor living conditions.
The findings suggest that early action to help children at risk of becoming bullies may lower rates of criminal behavior among adults, the researchers said.
“From a policy perspective, if we can address some of these risk factors early and identify children who are at risk of bullying, we can ameliorate adverse outcomes that may occur much later in life,” Piquero said.
The Nemours Foundation explains how parents can teach children not to bully.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Too few obstetrics-gynecology residents in the United States receive formal training about menopause, which could lead to care issues for the rapidly growing number of older American women, a new study finds.
Researchers surveyed 510 ob/gyn residents and found that fewer than one in five had received formal training in menopause medicine, even though seven in 10 would like to receive it.
Forty percent to 60 percent of fourth-year residents — those soon to complete their training — said they need to improve their knowledge about menopause.
Some ob/gyn residency programs don’t offer any formal curriculum or clinical experience focused on women’s pre- and post-menopausal health, according to the study, published online recently in the journal Menopause.
“It’s clear from the results that the residents who responded admit that their knowledge and clinical management skills of menopause medicine are inadequate,” lead author Dr. Mindy Christianson, a clinical fellow in the department of gynecology and obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release.
A woman is in menopause when she has not had a period for one year. It occurs because the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Study senior author Dr. Wen Shen, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the school of medicine, said the results suggest that ob/gyn residency programs need to address this training gap.
“Residents who participated in our study have stressed that they want more knowledge and experience in this field, and an improved comfort level in treating menopausal symptoms,” said Shen, who specializes in treating menopausal women.
The 2010 U.S. census estimates there will be 50 million menopausal women in the country by 2020. The average age of menopause is 51, and the life expectancy for an American woman is 85. That means that many women will live one-third of their lives after menopause, Shen noted.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about menopause.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Management of heart disease risk factors — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking — varies significantly among outpatient practices in the United States, according to a new study.
Researchers found that among 18 primary care and cardiology practices studied, the percentage of patients screened for smoking and counseled on how to quit ranged from about 54 percent to 86 percent. The study authors suggested outpatient practices can learn from one another and improve the prevention and management of disease.
“It’s eye-opening for practices to see how much better or worse they’re doing than their peers on nationally derived measures of quality. They can learn to improve in collaboration with others instead of alone,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Zubin Eapen, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in an American Heart Association news release.
In conducting the study, the researchers analyzed and compared the medical records of nearly 116,000 patients. The outpatient practices included in the study were involved in a collaboration of the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association, known as The Guideline Advantage.
The study also revealed that the percentage of people whose high blood pressure was under control ranged from just under 59 percent to 75 percent among the practices. In addition, the percentage of patients with diabetes who had their “bad” (LDL) cholesterol under control ranged from nearly 54 percent to 100 percent.
“Previously, we’ve focused on improving the quality of inpatient hospital care and haven’t explored enough how to improve outpatient care,” Eapen concluded. “This baseline snapshot lets us see just how much progress could be made in preventing or managing diseases.”
The study findings were scheduled for presentation Friday at the American Heart Association meeting in Baltimore. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides more information on heart disease risk factors.
A mozzarella and tomato salad is a classic summer dish, but our recipe has a few more healthy ingredients than your typical Caprese Salad.
Olives, coarse grain mustard, and white wine vinegar add flavor to this dish without too many extra calories. If you’re not a fan of olives, leave them out. A great substitute is roasted red peppers, which you can add in even if you’re keeping the olives as well!
Get your fill of vitamins C and A from the tomatoes and enjoy this dish tonight!
Ingredients: buffalo mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, black olives, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, coarse grain mustard, freshly ground black pepper, basil leaves.
Try this recipe: Mozzarella and Tomato Salad
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By Alan Mozes
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests the dominant side of your brain may make the call on which ear you choose to use while talking on your cellphone.
The dominant side of your brain is where your speech and language center resides. Ninety-five percent of the human population is left-brain dominant, and those people tend to be right-handed. The opposite holds true for people who are right-brain dominant. In this study, scientists found that roughly 70 percent of those surveyed held their cellphone up to the ear that was on the same side as their dominant hand.
This insight into the way people use their cellphones could one day help doctors quickly and safely locate and protect a patient’s language center before beginning a potentially risky brain operation, the researchers said.
“In essence, this could be used as a poor man’s Wada test,” said study author Dr. Michael Seidman, director of the division of otologic/neurotologic surgery at the Henry Ford Health System in West Bloomfield, Mich. “[The Wada test] is the standard test used today to determine exactly where a surgical patient’s language center is located, which is critical information to have if you want to carefully preserve a person’s language abilities.
“The Wada test is, however, invasive and risky,” Seidman said. “But by looking at how a person uses their cellphone, which side they listen in to, you can get shorthand insight into brain dominance. It’s not a foolproof guarantee, but I would say it’s a pretty reliable and safe way of going about it.”
Seidman and his colleagues reported their findings in the May issue of the journal JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.
To explore how brain dominance may relate to cellphone handling, the authors sifted through more than 700 online surveys completed by people who were members of a web-based otology (hearing) discussion group, as well as those already undergoing Wada and MRI testing for various purposes.
Respondents were asked to give information regarding their cellphone habits, favored hand for executing various tasks (such as writing, throwing and cellphone handling) and any hearing-loss issues. Any history of brain, head or neck tumors also was noted.
Ninety percent of those polled were right-handed, and 68 percent used their right ear, 25 percent used their left ear and 7 percent used both ears.
The story was similar among the left-handed people: 72 percent used their left ear, 23 percent used their right ear and 5 percent used both ears.
The team concluded that there is an association between cellphone handling habits and brain dominance, with right-ear cellphone use typically indicating left-brain dominance, and vice versa.
“We’re pretty confident in our results,” Seidman said. “Basically, if your speech and language centers are in the left side of the brain — which for most people they are — a cellphone conversation is going to sound better in your right ear.”
“The next question is if this information may help us figure out whether or not cellphone use is associated with cancer risk,” he said.
On that front, Seidman suggested that, if there was such an association, there would be a much greater incidence of right-sided brain, head and neck cancer than currently is the case, given that nearly 80 percent of all people use their right ear to talk on their phones.
“But the question of cancer risk and cellphone use is very controversial,” he said. “We just don’t know yet. Much more work needs to be done.”
Dr. Joe Verghese, a professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, suggested that it remains possible that other variables could influence the way people choose to handle their cellphones.
“This is certainly a very interesting study,” Verghese said. “But it could also be that right-handed people, for example, simply reach for their cellphone with their dominant hand, and then naturally feel more comfortable continuing to keep it and use it on their right side because it would feel awkward to pick up a phone with your right hand and then switch it over to your left side.
“If that’s the case, this could actually be about motor dominance more than auditory or language dominance,” he said.
For more on left- and right-brain dominance, visit the American Psychological Association.
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) — Liver transplants to treat a common type of liver cancer are a viable option for people infected with HIV, according to new research.
The Italian study, published May 10 in the journal The Oncologist, found that the AIDS-causing virus doesn’t affect survival rates and cancer recurrence after transplants among HIV patients with this particular type of liver cancer, called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The study’s authors noted, however, that HCC is more aggressive in people with HIV and it is becoming a major cause of death among these patients as antiretroviral treatment prolongs their lives.
“The key message of this study is that liver transplantation is a valid option for HCC treatment in HIV-infected patients,” the study’s authors wrote in a journal news release. “We suggest that HIV-infected patients must be offered the same liver transplant options for HCC treatment currently provided to HIV-uninfected subjects.”
The study involved 30 HIV-positive patients and 125 patients not infected with HIV who received a liver transplant to treat HCC at three different hospitals in northern Italy between 2004 and 2009.
During a follow-up period of roughly 32 months, the researchers found a recurrence of HCC in 6.7 percent of the patients with HIV and 14.4 percent of the patients who were not HIV positive.
The study also revealed that survival was similar for all of the patients one year after surgery and three years post-surgery.
The researchers, led by Dr. Fabrizio Di Benedetto, associate professor of surgery at the University of Modena, said the HIV-positive patients were treated with antiretroviral therapy until they underwent the transplant. The therapy was not resumed until their liver function stabilized after surgery.
None of the HIV-positive patients developed AIDS during the post-surgery follow-up period. The study’s authors suggested that this may be due to timely resumption of HIV therapy following the liver transplant.
New options in antiviral therapy for people with HIV could improve control of the HIV virus as well as outcomes following liver transplant for HCC, the researchers said.
Patients with HIV undergoing liver transplant for HCC would benefit most from a multidisciplinary approach to care, the study authors said, which would involve collaboration among oncologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, liver surgeons and infectious disease specialists.
The American Cancer Society provides more information on hepatocellular carcinoma.
By Kathleen Doheny
THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) — Men who are physically fit in middle age have a lower risk of developing and dying from certain cancers, new research indicates.
“Fitness is a huge predictor of [cancer] risk,” said Dr. Susan Lakoski, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Vermont, in Burlington. “You need to be fit to protect yourself against a cancer diagnosis in older age.”
Men who were fit in their 40s, 50s and 60s were less likely decades later to get lung or colorectal cancer, she found. Those who were fit were also less likely to die from prostate, lung or colorectal cancers.
She is scheduled to present her research, supported by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, on June 2 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.
While other studies have found physical activity protects against certain cancers, Lakoski said fewer studies have looked at the importance of fitness to predict whether men would develop or die from cancers.
For the study, Lakoski and her colleagues evaluated more than 17,000 men who had a single cardiovascular fitness assessment as part of a preventive health checkup at the Cooper Clinic, in Dallas, when they were 50, on average.
The men walked on a treadmill under a regimen of changing speed and incline. Their results were categorized into five groups, from lowest fitness level to highest.
Later on, the researchers analyzed Medicare claims data to identify the participants who had developed three common cancers among U.S. men — lung, colorectal or prostate.
The average follow-up period was 20 to 25 years. During that time, 2,332 men developed prostate cancer, 276 developed colorectal cancer and 277 developed lung cancer.
During the follow up, 769 men died — 347 of cancer, 159 of heart disease and 263 of other causes.
The men who were most fit on the treadmill test, when compared to the least, had a 68 percent lower risk of lung cancer and a 38 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer. Their prostate cancer risk didn’t decline with increasing fitness, but the risk of death from it did.
Even a small improvement in fitness helped, the researchers found. For instance, a 50-year-old man who increased fitness so he could last three more minutes on the treadmill, Lakoski said, could reduce cancer death risk by 14 percent and heart disease death risk by 23 percent.
Low fitness levels increased the risk of cancer and heart disease even in men who weren’t obese, the researchers found.
They also took into account other factors that could increase risk, such as age and smoking habits.
The good news, Lakoski said, is that, “You don’t have to be highly fit to get protection.” The most protection against cancer and heart disease was found in moving out of the least fit group.
And how unfit were those men? The men in the least fit group who were 40 to 49 when they took the test could walk on the treadmill less than 13.5 minutes. Those who were 50 to 59 lasted less than 11 minutes. Those 60 and older in the least fit group only lasted less than 7.5 minutes.
The findings make sense, said Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society.
“While you can’t tell just how much activity these guys were doing over time, it makes sense that the most fit would have better cancer-related outcomes — because they are likely the most active.” While the new research did not find a link between fitness levels and a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a recent review of other published studies did show a modest reduction in that risk, Doyle said.
Lakoski can’t explain the protective effects of fitness for sure, but can speculate. “We know that fitness modulates several important pathways also related to cancer risk,” she said. These include, among other pathways, reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in the cells, she said.
Doyle agreed that many mechanisms are probably at work. Activity can improve immune function, for instance, and help control weight, and that in turn can decrease inflammation, she said.
To achieve cardiovascular fitness and reduce cancer risk, be moderately active 150 minutes a week or vigorously active for 75 minutes, or some combination, Doyle advised.
Because this study is being presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Lakoski found a link between fitness and cancer protection, not cause and effect. She also can’t say whether the findings would apply to women. She hopes to study that next.
To learn more about physical activity guidelines and cancer prevention, see the American Cancer Society.
THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) — The adult children of parents who were addicted to alcohol or drugs are at increased risk for depression, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at data from nearly 6,300 Canadian adults and found that 312 of them had suffered major depression in the past year. Also, 877 of the adults said that when they were younger than age 18 and still living at home, at least one parent drank or used drugs “so often that it caused problems for the family.”
After adjusting for age, sex and race, the University of Toronto researchers found that adults with childhood experiences of parental addiction had a more than two-fold increased risk of depression.
Even after compensating for other factors, “ranging from childhood maltreatment and parental unemployment to adult health behaviors including smoking and alcohol consumption, we found that parental addictions were associated with 69 percent higher odds of depression in adulthood,” study lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor of social work, said in a university news release.
The study, published online recently in the journal Psychiatry Research, did not pinpoint any factors that might explain the association between a parent’s addiction and depression in adult children.
“It is possible that the prolonged and inescapable strain of parental addictions may permanently alter the way these children’s bodies react to stress throughout their life,” study co-author Robyn Katz, a graduate student at the university, said in the news release. “One important avenue for future research is to investigate potential dysfunctions in cortisol production — the hormone that prepares us for ‘fight or flight’ — which may influence the later development of depression.”
According to Fuller-Thompson, “these findings underscore the intergenerational consequences of drug and alcohol addiction and reinforce the need to develop interventions that support healthy childhood development.”
“As an important first step, children who experience toxic stress at home can be greatly helped by the stable involvement of caring adults, including grandparents, teachers, coaches, neighbors and social workers,” she suggested. “We do know that these caring relationships promote healthy development and buffer stress.”
The study found an association between parental addiction and depression in children, but it did not prove cause-and-effect.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.
THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) — There are few things more inviting than a cool, clear pool on a hot summer day. But a new federal report will have you thinking twice before dipping a toe in the water.
Fifty-eight percent of pool filter samples taken from Atlanta area pools last summer contained E. coli, a bacteria found in human feces.
The report is a sign that swimmers often contaminate pool water when they have a “fecal incident” in the water, or when human waste washes off their bodies because they don’t shower thoroughly before hitting the water, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And while the study only focused on pools in the Atlanta region, the researchers said it’s likely that fecal contamination from swimmers is a problem in public pools throughout the country. The study did not look at water parks, residential pools or other types of recreational water.
“Swimming is an excellent way to get the physical activity needed to stay healthy,” Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, said in an agency news release. “However, pool users should be aware of how to prevent infections while swimming.
“Remember,” she added, “chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly. That’s why it’s important for swimmers to protect themselves by not swallowing the water they swim in and to protect others by keeping feces and germs out of the pool by taking a pre-swim shower and not swimming when ill with diarrhea.
The CDC says all swimmers should take the following steps to keep feces out of pools and to prevent infections:
- Don’t swim if you have diarrhea.
- Shower with soap before swimming.
- Take a rinse shower before getting back in the water.
- Go to the bathroom every 60 minutes.
- Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers.
- Don’t swallow the water you swim in.
Parents of young children should take the following steps:
- Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30 to 60 minutes.
- Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the new study “highlights the importance of practicing good hygiene anytime we swim in a pool, since the potential for contamination with fecal organisms, which could lead to severe diarrheal illnesses, remains an ever present concern.
“From a public health standpoint,” he added, “it is especially important for people to avoid swimming when they have diarrhea, as other swimmers could swallow germ-laden water and potentially become ill.
The study reveals a “true public health concern, and reinforces the need to practice safe and effective swim hygiene as the summer approaches,” Glattner said.
The study appears in the May 17 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Its release is timed in advance of Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week, May 20-26. The goal of the prevention week is to “raise awareness about healthy swimming, including ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs). Germs that cause RWIs are spread by swallowing, breathing in the mists or aerosols from, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, interactive fountains, water play areas, lakes, rivers, or oceans,” according to the CDC.
For more on healthy swimming visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.