HEALTH

Calif. health officials address ‘whooping cough’ outbreak

BY Antoinette Alexander

SACRAMENTO, Calif. California health officials and healthcare professionals are urging Californians to get vaccinated, as the state is on pace for the worst epidemic of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, in more than 50 years. The disease already has claimed the lives of nine infants in the state.

"Whooping cough is now an epidemic in California. Children should be vaccinated against the disease, and parents, family members and caregivers of infants need a booster shot," stated Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health.

As of Sept. 14, there were 4,017 cases of the illness reported for a state rate of 10.3 cases for every 100,000 people. Of that number, 3,985 of the reported cases experienced disease onset in 2010, according to the California Department of Public Health.

This marked the most cases reported in 55 years, when 4,949 cases were reported in 1955, and the highest incidence in 48 years, when a rate of 10.9 cases per 100,000 people was reported in 1962. Previously, the peak was in 2005, when there were 3,182 cases reported, according to the CDPH.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease. Unimmunized or incompletely immunized young infants are particularly vulnerable. Since 1998, more than 80% of the infants in California who have died from pertussis have been Hispanic.

The vaccine begins at 2 months of age, but young infants are not adequately protected until the initial series of three shots is complete at 6 months of age. The series of shots that most children receive wears off by the time they finish middle school, according to the CDPH.

In response to the epidemic, Walgreens announced that its pharmacists in California were offering pertussis immunizations (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis-Tdap vaccine) at more than 150 select stores throughout the state. Walgreens pharmacists in the state can administer immunizations to anyone age 9 years and older. With more than 575 stores throughout California, Walgreens will continue to add locations that can administer the whooping cough vaccine.

"We share in the recommendations of state and federal health officials that the best thing people can do to keep themselves and their families healthy during this epidemic is to get vaccinated," stated Bill Hose, California market VP for Walgreens. "In addition to children, who are the most vulnerable, those who care for or are in contact with children should also be immunized, and we’re continuing to stress these important statewide recommendations to our patients, customers and the general public."

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Abbott expands Ensure shakes line

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott on Thursday introduced two new nutrition shakes — Ensure Muscle Health and Ensure Clinical Strength — both formulated to help rebuild muscle mass naturally lost with age.

Ensure Muscle Health shakes contain Abbott’s proprietary ingredient, Revigor, a source of HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, an amino-acid metabolite), and 13 g of protein.

 

“Abbott scientists have been studying muscle loss for more than a decade,” stated Rob Miller, divisional VP global research and development and scientific affairs. “We’ve taken our expertise with HMB, the ingredient that has been clinically shown to support muscle mass and functionality in healthy, exercising adults, and have added it to one of our therapeutic nutrition products for people over 40 who are naturally losing muscle with age.”

 

Ensure Clinical Strength shakes offer focused clinical nutrition, coupling the benefits of Revigor and protein with Immune Balance, a unique blend of prebiotic fiber to support digestive tract health and antioxidants to support the immune system.

Clinical research has shown that beginning around 40 years of age, people can start to lose 8% of muscle mass per decade, which can lead to loss of strength and mobility. Weakness, fatigue, low energy and weight loss are signals of muscle loss.

 

In addition to two new innovative nutrition shakes, Abbott recently relaunched its product line and introduced a new, streamlined look for the Ensure brand. With an updated logo and packaging, it is easier for consumers to find the Ensure shake to fit their nutritional needs, whether it’s Ensure Muscle Health, Ensure Clinical Strength, Ensure Immune Health, Ensure Bone Health, Ensure or Ensure Plus.

 

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Milk drinkers maintain healthy weight, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON Milk drinkers are more likely to lose weight than those who skip drinking milk when on a diet, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested.

In a two-year study, researchers observed 300 overweight or at-risk men and women ages 40 to 65 years. The participants were put on low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for two years, but regardless of diet, those that consumed 580 mg of milk per day (about two glasses), lost about 12 lbs., compared with those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150 mg, or about half of a glass), in which participants lost just 7 lbs.

Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success, and, in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.

The study, "Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D and successful weight loss," was published in the Sept. 1 edition of the journal.

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