HEALTH

Study suggests link between diabetes and low birth weight, premature birth

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A new study suggests that individuals who grew poorly during fetal development, or were born prematurely, develop diabetes later in life.

“Low birth weight is consistently associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in adulthood,” Dr. Magnus Kaijser of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues wrote.

As reported in the journal Diabetes, researchers identified a group of subjects born prematurely or with low birth weight at four delivery units in Sweden from 1925 through 1949. The development of diabetes in these groups was compared with that seen in a similar group of subjects that had normal birth weights and were born at full term, Reuters reported.

A total of 6,425 subjects were included in the study. Of these, 2,931 were born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy), and 2,176 had a low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs.) but were born at full term.

An analysis of hospital databases indicated that 508 of the subjects were treated for diabetes during follow-up from 1987 to 2006.

The authors found that subjects who were born very prematurely (before the 32nd week of pregnancy) were 67% more likely to develop diabetes than those born at term.Similarly, birth weights that were much lower than the average weight for a given point in pregnancy increased the odds of diabetes by 76%.

“We have found that the association between low birth weight and risk for diabetes seems to be (the result of) both poor fetal growth and preterm birth,” Kaijser and colleagues said.

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HEALTH

Connectyx Technologies launches MedFlash

BY Michael Johnsen

PALM CITY, Fla. Connectyx Technologies Holdings Group on Monday launched MedFlash, an interoperable personal health record storage device with drugstore.com, where it is retailing for $29.95.

“We are very pleased to offer MedFlash through drugstore.com, a leading online drugstore that recognizes the importance of personally managing one’s own healthcare records,” stated Ronn Schuman, Connectyx CEO. “MedFlash is a significant step forward in healthcare that can protect individuals from serious drug interactions, and it’s absolutely invaluable in an emergency.”

MedFlash is designed to simplify and provide peace-of-mind solutions for healthcare with individual access to an Internet portal and a 24/7 emergency hot line.

Consumers recognize the need to be their own advocates, and MedFlash was designed with that in mind, Schuman noted. MedFlash is an easy-to-use, portable personal health and lifestyle record that allows consumers to choose what they wish to store. MedFlash can manage all areas of their lifestyles, focusing on wellness and prevention. It allows members to easily keep their history, medication records, treatments and lifestyle routines up to date on a device that they can carry with them. The device is seamlessly connected to any computer for routine or emergency access to important information. Serious drug interactions can be avoided, allergic reactions prevented and historical records accessed including X-rays, MRIs and CAT scans.

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Dextromethorphan bill passes in House, now awaits Senate consideration

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Just four weeks after being introduced, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act of 2009, which restricts the sale of bulk, unfinished DXM to those distributors registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

“The deadly reality is that our teens think that it’s safe to get high off of DXM because it is a common ingredient in cough syrup – the passage of the DXM bill in the House is an important step in shattering that myth,” stated Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who introduced the bill March 3. “This is too important an issue not to get done – kids’ lives literally hang in the balance and I urge the Senate to swiftly follow suit. This commonsense piece of legislation will put an end to the bulk sale of DXM over the Internet, and keep our kids safe from the dangers of this type of drug abuse.”

The bill would make it illegal to distribute unfinished DXM to a person or company not previously registered with the FDA, or registered or licensed clinics, compounding pharmacists, pharmacies and researchers. The measure, which passed the House by a vote of 407 to 8, now awaits consideration in the Senate.

“[Today] the House of Representatives took an important step toward controlling the bulk supply of DXM and we urge the Senate to do the same,” stated Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “This legislation will help reduce the abuse of DXM, a dangerous behavior that 2.4 million teens report engaging in during their lifetime. The work of policymakers, combined with the efforts of concerned parents communicating the risks of DXM abuse to their kids, will have a significant positive impact on this issue.”

Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association explained that there is no reason for anyone but “but manufacturers, pharmacists, and researchers to have the raw form of this ingredient.”

“The companies that sell this potent ingredient to kids are unscrupulous online pushers, knowingly providing teens the raw form of DXM as a means to get high,” Suydam said.

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