Archive for August, 2009

Fat Burning Enhanced After Low Glycemic-Index Breakfast

Whole grains are carbohydrates with a low glycemic-indexFat burning appears to be enhanced when a 60-minute walk follows a breakfast of low glycemic-index carbohydrates, according to a small study from the University of Nottingham in the UK.   

High Glycemic-Index carbohydrates, such as white bread and pure sugar, are known to have a more pronounced effect on the body’s blood sugar levels whereas low glycemic index foods (LGI) will increase the body’s sugar levels more slowly.  LGI foods include cereals made from oats, barley, and bran, along with whole grain breads and most vegetables other than white potatoes.  In fact, white is usually a color to avoid when it comes to carbohydrates:  white bread, white sugar, white potatoes, white pasta and white rice.

Not only do the white carbs interfere with fat burning, according to this study, but they also tend to stimulate hunger. In another study of 12 obese adolescent males, the researchers found that after eating high-GI meals, the subjects were hungrier and ate again sooner: voluntary food intake was 53 percent greater than after a medium-GI meal, and 81 percent greater than after a low-GI meal.  So eating sugary foods not only interferes with fat burning, but it creates a viscious cycle of hunger and overeating.

The bottom line, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet — but stick to the good ones.

Source: Stevenson EJ, et al “Fat oxidation during exercise and satiety during recovery are increased following a low-glycemic index breakfast in sedentary women” J Nutr 2009; 139: 890-97.

Source: “Fat Burns Faster After Low-Glycemic Breakfast”, MedPage Today, April 15, 2009

Source: “High Glycemic Index Foods and Overeating in Obese Individuals”, NIDDK,


Swine Flu Rapid Test Not Always Accurate

Rapid tests for swine flu deliver results in 15 minutes but are not always accurate if negativeThree major, commercially available, rapid test kits for the swine flu accurately identified only 40% to 69% of 45 clinical specimens known to contain the H1N1 flu strain, according to the CDC. However, there was an 89% accuracy if a tested specimen had a high level of the virus. But as the level of virus in the specimens fell, the accuracy of the tests declined, the CDC reported in the Aug. 7 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Viral titers are highest in the first 3 days of illness.

These rapid tests are widely used and only require 15 minutes to deliver a result, but a negative result is not always accurate.  A positive result, on the other hand, is more reliable and can be very helpful.

Source: CDC, “Evaluation of rapid influenza diagnostic tests for detection of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus — United States, 2009″ MMWR 2009; 58: 826-29.
Source:  “Rapid Tests Miss Mark for Pandemic H1N1 Flu”, MedPage Today, August 6, 2009

Elder Abuse on the Rise, Accordingly Death more Imminent

Seniors are at risk of abuseSelf-neglect by seniors increases their risk of death by nearly sixfold.  And those who are abused physically, emotionally, financially or through withdrawal of care don’t live much longer. Their risk for dying more than doubles, the researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago report.

Self-neglect includes inadequate food, water, clothing, shelter or necessary medications. Also simply not following basic hygiene practices falls under the experts’ definition of self-neglect which could increase the chances of an imminent fatal decline.

“Whether it was some decline in medical function that led to self-neglecting behavior, or the other way around, these people are in crisis, and social services and medical services need to have more communication and interaction,” the researcher said.

Signs of self-neglect include a sudden change in weight, hygiene, or worsening medical conditions. More difficult to detect are signs of abuse, but unexplained bruises or sudden change in doctors could be clues.  An older person who starts running out of money, when they never did before, frequently signals impending trouble. Items suddenly missing from their home is a familiar red flag social workers see in abuse cases. 

Financial abuse and exploitation are probably getting worse in the recession experts say.

The incidence of elder abuse, in general, is on the rise.  The 500,000 to 1,000,000 reports of elder abuse recorded by authorities every year are only the tip of the iceberg, according to 

The Administration on Aging, broadly defines abuse as: 

  • Emotional Abuse - Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts. Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses or caregivers are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Exploitation - Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect - Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Physical Abuse - Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Sexual Abuse - Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
  • Abandonment - The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.

“In every state, physical, sexual, and financial abuses targeting elders that violate laws against assault, rape, theft, and other offenses are punishable as crimes. With some variation among states, certain types of emotional elder abuse and elder neglect are subject to criminal prosecution, depending on the perpetrators’ conduct and intent and the consequences for the victim,” according to

If you suspect abuse, neglect or explotation:

Sources: XinQi Dong, M.D., associate professor, medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Karin Ouchida, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, and medical director, Montefiore Medical Center Home Health Agency, New York City; Aug. 5, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Sources: “Elder Abuse, Neglect Make Early Death Far More Likely”, HealthDay, August 4, 2009  


Delay Memory Loss with Brain Exercise

Playing cards with others is mentally stimulatingThe brain is very similar to a muscle in your body–use it or lose it.  Staying active mentally is just as important as staying active physically say leading researchers. 

A number of studies on older people, in particular, who participate in mentally stimulating activities remain cognitively active longer and delay the onset of memory decline.  And other studies have found that younger people with at least a high school education will spend more of their older years without cognitive loss.

Reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, having group discussions, or playing music have been found to be mentally stimulating according to Charles Hall, PhD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. 

Source: Hall C, et al “Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia? Neurology 2009; 73: 356-361.

Source: “Brain Exercise Might Delay Dementia-Related Memory Decline”, MedPage Today, August 3, 2009