C2 TUESDAY. APRIL 17. 2001 HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL T ORGAN DONATIONS Sharp increase In oigans from living donors The number of organ donations from those who have died has grown slowly in recent years, while donations from the living have skyrocketed. • Living donors H Dead donors ' 6,000 • Living donate organs more '88 '89 '90 '91 '92 '93 '94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 2000 For many, the waiting continues The nation's transplant waiting list has grown much faster than the number of transplants performed. _ Transplants performed 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 g Waiting list at year's end There are more than 75,000 patients nationwide waiting for an organ transplant. Here are the types of transplants most patients are waiting for. Kidney Liver 48,639 17,413 NOTE: All figures are as of April 7, 2001. SOURCE: United Network for Organ Sharing AP Number of living donors may surpass dead in year or two By LAURA MECKLER Tlw Associated Press WASHINGTON — Organ donations from the living jumped by 16 percent last year, the largest increase on record, as the waiting list for transplants grew much faster than donations from people who had died. More than 5,500 people gave a kidney or, less commonly, a piece of the liver, accoimting for nearly half the nation's donors in 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday The number of living donors has been growing more quickly than the number of cadaveric donors for a decade, but the gap was particularly striking in 2000. While the number of living donors jumped 16.5 percent, donations from the dead edged up by just 2.7 percent. At this rate, living donors will outnumber cadaveric "When I see patients, their families are there, having already decided who's going to he a donor" Arthur Matas University of Minnesota kidney transplant surgeon donors within a year or two. Today, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson is to unveil a major donation initiative, including a new campaign with businesses and unions to promote donations among their workers. The long wait — close to 76,000 people are in line — has helped produce the spike in living donations, experts said. "When you have to tell patients the wait is going to be three or four years, you say, 'I'd look around and see who might donate a kidney — your family, your friends or someone,' " said Dr. Patricia Adams, president of the United Network for Organ Sharing, who works with kidney patients at Wake Forest Univer- T FITNESS Obese kids may be ill adults Cliildren face liealtli problems normally seen in middle age By DEBORAH MENDENHALL Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Confiscate the video games, turn off the television, shut down the computer. Feed your children a good, wholesome meal, and then shoo them outside to play That's the best advice from medical experts who are see- •'ing more children become obese every year from lounging around and filling up on lousy food low in nutrients and high in fats and sugars. And, they warn, if today's overweight children don't slim down and start moving around, they're destined to become tomorrow's critically ill adults. What worries doctors the most is obesity and inactivity are linked to several serious medical conditions traditionally seen in adults, including type 2 diabetes, which they are seeing in record numbers and was previously unheard of in the young. Early onset of diabetes may mean earlier complications. "Grown-ups start having problems at age 50," said Dr Silva Arslanian, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "We expect kids will begin as early as age 20, and this will place a tremendous financial burden on the nation. Right now, the annual cost of treating diabetes is $96 billion, and that is mostly due to complications." Lifestyle changes are the biggest culprit. Health professionals are seeing children who skip breakfast, eat high- fat foods for lunch and snack until bedtime because a hectic lifestyle prevents their working parents from making regular dinners. "Obesity is on the rise for kids, without a doubt," said Dr. Kumaravel Rajakumar, a primary care pediatrician and teacher at Children's Hospital. "The number has gone up dramatically in the last two decades, and there are several serious health consequences." Problems of obesity More obese children also are being treated by Prapti Kanani, pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital, for high cholesterol and high Scripps Howard News Service Allle Langlois, 12, Pittsburgh, participates in a new Families Involved Together exercies program at Deimont Ice Fitness Center with her mom, Mary Jane, and brother Max. Doctors are concerned the children are not getting enough exercise and obesity at a young age will lead to major medical problems when they grow older. blood pressure. In his pediatric practice, Rajakumar has seen myriad other childhood health woes that he attributes to obesity Extra folds of flesh in the throat can obstruct airways, causing sleep apnea, or periodic cessation of breathing, he said. Obesity can cause fatty deposits in the liver, leading to inflammation. Excess weight can cause joint problems in growing bones, he said. One example is slipping of the femoral head, which occurs when the head of the thigh bone pops out of the hip socket. The condition, which most often affects overweight boys between the ages of 11 and 15, requires surgery. Hypertension and high cholesterol are two conditions Kanani, pediatric cardiologist at Children's, is seeing more of in obese children. She warns these conditions could lead to heart disease and strokes when the children are in their 30s. "I see a lot of teen-agers who have obesity-associated high cholesterol; and they are really asking for trouble," she said. "The trend seems to be that they are getting young and younger." What bothers the medical community is behavioral changes would prevent most of these problems because the major causes of obesity are a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition. Make sweets a treat "Kids are eating calorie- dense foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and low in fiber," Arslanian said. "They drink soda pop like it's water and don't dispense all those calories because they sit two to three hours a day in front of the television or playing computer games instead of running, biking and playing." Today's parents tend to believe they aren't being good to their children unless they allow them to drink soda pop and eat sugary desserts, Arslanian said. These sugary drinks are replacing milk. The average child needs ,1,300 of milligrams of calcium, but is getting 800 milligrams or less. "And nobody cooks anymore," she said. "To parents, I suggest, learn how to feed your children healthy foods. You are being a very good parent by explaining that they can have those things, but in moderation, once a week, not every day," she said. Schools should supplement the nutrition information children are given in health classes and include bad diets and lack of exercise as behav iors to be avoided. School menus also need to include more healthful selections. Many school lunch rooms routinely offer deep- 'fried foods or selections high in saturated fat such as pizza, hamburgers and fried chicken nuggets, Kanani said. "We need to change the mind set, and we should start teaching children very early what is healthy and what is not," Arslanian said. Get out and go Before prescribing medication to treat conditions, Kanani recommends her patients begin exercising and meet with a nutritionist. Children's success depends largely on the whole family getting involved, she said. "Parents really need to take an interest and try to offer healthier meals at home," she said. "And go swimming or take walks with the children. Decrease television and computer time. Let your chUd watch his favorite television show, but while on the treadmill." A chaotic lifestyle and erratic eating habits are often at the center of a child's weight problems, and parents are key to his successful weight loss, agrees Cindy Miller, a registered dietitian at Children's Hospital. Fit / Boomers look to feel better FROM PAGE CI "I needed to be able to work out when it is convenient for me," Dunn said. Getting fit doesn't require a lot of money or time, fitness experts say. Small, everyday changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving that mile to the grocery store can add up in terms of calories burned and fitness gained. "We have this urge to be efficient, and walking to the store seems to be a waste of time. We overlook opportunities to build in exercise opportunities into our everyday lifestyle," said Shawn Caudill, chief of internal medicine at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center Caudill, 43, follows his own advice, hustling rather than strolling when going from one appointment to another. While getting fit can be a small sacrifice of time and cash, the payoffs are huge, said Caudill, who specializes in adult medicine. Getting out from behind the desk or off the couch will make you feel better You'll work harder or better, even take fewer sick days. And, he said, when it comes time to take that retirement you've been saving for, you'll enjoy it more. "We're all going to live longer. You can either live longer and feel crummy or live longer and feel better," Caudill said. Keeping fit is an even bigger must-do for many small business owners such as Patricia Jennerjohn. "Since I am my business, I need to be very well maintained," said Jennerjohn, who owns a financial planning business in Oakland, Calif. Although always fitness minded, Jennerjohn, 50, bumped up her activities in recent years to include yoga classes and working out with a personal trainer, which together cost her about $5,000 a year For folks who want more attention but don't want to spend $60 for an hour of one-on-one training, Jennerjohn suggests grab bing a friend and checking into special buddy rates offered by some fitness centers. "It's not cheap, but I think the money I spend on a personal trainer is money I'd save on a doctor," Jennerjohn said. "I was tired of getting sick and tired of getting tired and tired of seeing what middle age was doing to my body" Likewise, Burke, the woman from Winchester, Mass., has reveled in feeling better, and, of course, getting into a size 6 again. "When I got to my checkups and I have great blood pressure and pulse," Burke said, "I feel that it has to be from taking time out and making it exercise a part of my life." sity in Winston-Salem, N.C. In 2000, a total of 22,827 organ transplants were performed, an increase of 5.4 percent over 1999, according to data compiled by the transplant network. The increases were much more dramatic among living donors, who now comprise nearly half of all organ donors. Still, cadaveric — or dead — donors account for the bulk of transplants because each cadaver can donate several organs. Last year, there were 5,532 living donors and 5,984 dead donors. A huge majority of donations from the living are kidneys, since most people have two healthy kidneys but must • ANTIBIOTICS have only one. Last year, there also were 344 living liver donations, where surgeons remove a part of a liver for transplant and each piece grows into a whole organ. Research over the past few years has proven that living donations, even from people who are not close relatives, are just as successful — if not more so — than kidneys from people who have died. That's because the donor is typically quite healthy, and the transplant can be planned more carefully The donated kidney is usually outside the body for a half hour or less, allowing it to begin functioning in its new body more quickly said Arthur Matas, a kidney transplant surgeon at the University of Minnesota. "When I talk to them, I try to just lay it on the line and say 'This is an operation that has risks without any physical benefits (to the donor),' " he said, but few are dissuaded. "When I see patients, their families are there, having already decided who's going to be a donor" Space may be drug frontier Experiment will allow antibiotics to grow for three months By Scripps Howard News Service Space may be the ideal place to grow antibiotics. To find out, scientists at the University of Colorado, in collaboration with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, are launching an experiment Thursday A desk drawer-sized box filled with microbial ceU cultures will fly on NASA's space shuttle to the International Space Station, where the cultures will be producing an antibiotic compound in space for three months. Researchers hope the knowledge gained will improve antibiotic production on Earth — reducing costs and speeding up research and development. Previous experiments, flown on shuttle flights between six and 16 days long, have shown that production of the antibiotic actinomycin D increased by 75 percent in space. Actinomycin D is a special class of antibiotic that also has applications in treating certain types of cancer This week's space flight allows the cell cultures to continue antibiotic production for a much longer duration. "It's safe to say any kind of research always takes inore than one experiment," said Louis Stodieck, director of the university's BioServe Space Technologies Center "This experiment is meant to confirm what we've seen before — we are looking at how these microorganisms might respond in microgravity It's possible that some new compound will be produced and then there's potential for a whole new drug." To compare production activity, the same experiment will be conducted on Earth. Scientists want to be able to attribute any differences in antibiotic production to gravity "The key here is to be careful to isolate gravity as the variable," Stodieck said. "We want to compare apples to apples." Disease / Hard for doctors to diagnose FROM PAGE C1 Thousands of cattle have been slaughtered to prevent it from spreading. The classic form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob can be transmitted between people by brain grafts, corneal transplants and growth hormones made from human pituitary glands, doctors say. But often, as in Naoma Blossom's case, the cause is not known. Her doctors have ruled out meat tainted with mad cow as a cause. Her family says she's never been to Europe, nor has she had any surgeries involving the brain, cornea or pituitary glands. Rapid decline Naoma started acting strange about a week before Thanksgiving. After returning home from grocery shopping, she got so dizzy she fell and cut her scalp. A few days later, her vision was blurry When Harold climbed into bed after working his late shift at the Tyson chicken plant in Stilwell, she didn't recognize him. "What do you think you're doing?" she asked, jerking the covers away from him. "Not in this bed, mister." The next morning, she rummaged through the house, opening the washer and dryer and the cupboards. She didn't know what she was trying to find. "I'm confused," she told Harold, starting to sob. "I need help." The last time she spoke to Harold was Dec. 1. "I love you" was the last thing she said. Perplexes even doctors Naoma, who was in the Navy in her early 20s, spent the next several weeks in a veterans' hospital in FayetteviUe, Ark., 30 miles from her eastern Okla homa hometown. She later moved to the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System in Little Rock. Doctors first told Harold it was stress and offered drug and alcohol treatment. They didn't diagnose Creutzfeldt-Jakob for a month — when they did a spinal tap and tested the fluid. Creutzfeldt-Jakob is such a rare disease that most doctors will see only one case in a lifetime, said Dr Ted Beals, chief consultant of diagnostic services for the Veterans Health Administration in Washington. The disease has been recognized in the United States at least since the 1950s. Symptoms of the classic and variant forms are basically the same, except the new variant has a shorter latency period and kills younger people, Beals said. A person can have the classic form for decades before symptoms manifest themselves. Victims become forgetful and aggressive as their brains waste away The degeneration progresses much faster than with Alzheimer's disease, doctors said. "The family has a very hard time adjusting to this," Beals says. "It's emotionally very devastating." Gazing at his wife's face, Harold Blossom says she used to wear her long, dark hair loose. The staff at the nursing home keep it in a tight bun so it doesn't get in the way Harold reads the Bible to her and shows her cards from her Baptist church Sunday School class. Harold, a Cherokee Indian, met Naoma in Little Rock where he taught Cherokee language classes. Naoma, who is one-quarter Cherokee, wanted to learn to say "I love you." Harold repeated it to her over and over "I tell people that's why we fell in love," Harold says with a smile.
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