The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 21, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 21, 1998
Page 15
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THE SALINA JOURNAL HEALTH THURSDAY. MAY 21. 1998 03", T DIABETES Silent epidemic As its death toll increases, researchers work to thwart diabetes By Scripps Howard News Service Hear the words "global epidemic" and you probably think of killer flu or other dra- ,-. matic viruses that hit the headlines. In fact, '_- you're more at risk of suffering something .'", much less sensational but with equally serious implications for health — diabetes. Current estimates predict that by 2010 „ some 220 million people will have succumbed to diabetes, which basically is a failure of the body to regulate blood sugar. , . Although it need not be debilitating, poorly controlled diabetes can lead to complica- ^ tions such as blindness, strokes, heart dis- " ease and lower limb amputations. And for every person diagnosed, there's at least another unaware he or she has it. "A lot of diabetes is hidden," says Stephen Bloom, chairman of the British Diabetic Association's research committee. "Many people die of heart disease, while the underlying factor is probably undiagnosed diabetes." In most developed countries, it's the fourth or fifth leading cause of death. "A lot of diabetes is hidden." Stephen Bloom British Diabetic Association Normally, the amount of glucose in the blood stream is controlled by insulin produced by the pancreas. In diabetes, this control mechanism is disrupted. By far the most common type is Type II, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), which usually afflicts the over-40s and causes the majority of diabetes-related deaths. But it almost entirely is preventable, said Bloom. "Type II is caused principally by obesity. The beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin, become exhausted with the effort of overcoming the excess weight and begin to die off. If you eat less and exercise more, you won't get it." The good news is that diabetes research is constantly breaking new ground. The new drug troglitazone, marketed as Rezulin, is helping people with Type II diabetes who do not respond well to conventional diet and drug treatments. It re-sensitizes the body to insulin and so helps supplies go further — in one study, patients taking it for six months were able to reduce their insulin dose by 58 percent. In Britain, however, troglitazone has been withdrawn following concerns about side effects, although so far these have proved minimal, saidBloom, who believes it represents a new line of drugs that will be powerful in 10 years' time. Other research is focusing on oral forms of insulin to replace injections. An initial British study on a preparation called macrulin indicates it may be effective in lowering blood sugar in Type II cult to get precise doses." There is hope on the horizon for those at risk of the other, currently unpreventable, Type I, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Most common in childhood and adolescence, it results from the body mounting an autoimmune attack on its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T ALCOHOLISM Research links gene! %**r . v to risk of alcoholism Study finds inheritance a factor, but 'genes are for risk, not for destiny' By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Researchers mapping the highway of human heredity have found some streets that may lead to alcoholism. Their work could lead to ways of identifying youngsters most at risk of becoming alcoholics and helping them avoid that future. An estimated 14 million Americans suffer from alcoholism, and it long has been known that the problem runs in families. But it had not been clear if it was inherited or a result of environment, Dr. Enoch Gordis, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said Wednesday. Researchers how have concluded that inheritance plays a role, and they have located likely neighborhoods for the genes that can lead to trouble, he said. ^ "These genes are for risk, not for destiny," Gordis said at a Na 1 ' tional Press Club briefing. He said further studies to Iq-i, cate the exact genes could lead ,1:0,, treatments for alcoholism, more focused prevention efforts an.d better understanding of the roj,e~ of environment and the working of the human brain. Genes are portions of the hu-; man chromosome, a pair of long;, molecules in each cell that deter:--* mine the characteristics of thei person. Each parent provides^ one of the two paired chromosomes. Some inherited diseases, have been found to result from 1 faulty genes. , > "Alcoholism is multi-gene, it is not due to a mutation in a single- gene," Gordis said. "In all likeli-; hood, it is a handful of genes." "No single factor, whether it's • genetics or environment, is suffi- \ cient to cause" alcoholism, said-; Dr. Jeffrey Long of the National Institutes of Health. ! V BREAST CANCER STUDY But what about minority women? If Advocates concerned research doesn't include representative groups A close look at the 13,388 women who made medical history in the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT) raises a question: Where were the African American, Asian American, Hispanic and other minority women who make-up a large proportion of the ^ U.S. population? MICHAEL Minority women WOODS get breast cancer, Toledo and in some in- Blade stances face a high- f er risk of this second (behind lung cancer) most common cause of cancer death in women. Yet minority women accounted for barely 3 per cent of the study participants. Experts described BCPT as an historic study because of its scientific findings. It also may be a land- T SKIN CANCER Ad campaign aimed at sun's ill side effects Government promotion designed to warn young adults 'sun is not a toy' By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Targeting young adults set for a sun- drenched summer, the government launched a campaign to warn that today's suntan may be tomorrow's skin cancer. The advice is simple: wear a hat, don sunglasses, apply sunscreen — or just avoid the sun during peak midday hours. "The sun is not a toy. Use as directed," warned Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. Skin cancer is on the rise, with more than 1 million new cases expected to be diagnosed this year. Since 1973, the number of melanoma cases, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has doubled. Much of it can be prevented by avoiding exposure to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday as it launched a five-year prevention campaign. The campaign, with an annual budget of $600,000 to $700,000, uses public service advertisements for magazines and television to get out the message. The'theme is "choose your cover" and the ads have a hip feel meant to appeal to people ages 18 to 25. The campaign is counting on donated TV time and ad space. It notes that tanning in sun beds exposes people to the same harmful rays as the real sun produces. It advises use of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF. Experts advise sunscreens also must include protection for UV-A and UV-B rays. GOLI3EN GLOBE AWARD I BEST FORBIGN LANGUAGE FILM { mark for its innovative approach for boosting minority-recruitment problem. BCPT was a $50-million federal study that hi April showed for the first time that a drug, tamoxifen, can prevent breast cancer in women at high risk for the disease. Women who took the drug daily reduced their chance of breast cancer by 45 per cent. The study was conducted at 300 medical centers in the United States and Canada by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). NSABP is a Pittsburgh-based research network, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Health advocates and researchers have been concerned that minorities — and women — are under-represented in clinical trials. They don't appear among the participants in proportions that reflect their presence in the general population. Strict federal 1995 guidelines re- quire that clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) include sufficient numbers of minority participants to assure that the results apply to the entire population. NIH data actually suggests that blacks never were under-represented in some treatment trials. These projects test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs and other treatments. About 10 per cent of patients in NCI breast cancer treatment trials, for instance, have been black. Black women account for 8.5 per cent of breast cancer cases in the general population. But cancer prevention trials like BCPT are another matter. African Americans and other minorities have been under-represented in major research projects involving prevention of breast and prostate cancer, and screening for prostate, lung, colon and ovarian cancer. Including minorities is important to assure that new treatments work the same in sub-groups as in the general population. Speakers at a 1996 NIH conference noted that clinical trial recruiters are missing not just low- income blacks but also poor whites, poor Hispanics and poverty-stricken people from other ethnic groups. The minority recruitment problem became obvious in the breast cancer prevention study by 1996, about four years after the first study participants were recruited. Traditional methods were failing. They included placing recruitment information in minority churches and businesses, a special media campaign, and public service announcements. NSABP launched a minority recruitment program that reached out to African Americans and other groups with a personalized approach never before used. Presentations were made at African- American churches, public housing sites, minority medical societies, businesses and other sites. Wed.-Thurs. (*5:00-*5:45)-7:50-8:35 'NOT TO BE MISSED!, -David Amen. NEWSWEEK MaVieEniks /if* i« Show Dates: 5/21-E/24.1 Tlmrs. 5:00 7:00 Fri 5:00 7:00 U:00 Sat. 2:00 5:00 7:00 0:00 Sun. '.Mill 5:00 7:00 iHiiiim.imrimiiiTOiiiri«i«wi» OLH In our support of Project Salina, Inc. The Very Jolly Greeri^ Giant was spotted at V First Bank & ',* Advantage Trust . | v « ' >',£ Employees are , ? collecting canned / vegetables and earn; points to vote for Weir "Jolly Green^Giani"-^ Last week's winner: KassGray >• t .,?..*<* -4 1v for caring! SAUNA 2346-A Planet Avenue 823-9561 Available now! 1 998 SALINE COUNTY PROPERTY VALUES $3.50 tax included A guide to residential property values set by the Saline County appraiser's office Available at: The Salina Journal, 333 S. Fourth

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