Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
New research suggests that women with a low risk of fragile bones don't need frequent bone density tests. The study was released this week. The Obama administration released a summary of a new program to improve treatment and care of Alzheimer's disease. Chef Paula Deen announced on the "Today" show that she has diabetes. Her announcement drew criticism from health activists because her TV shows promote fatty foods. In Los Angeles, the city council gave final approval this week to a law requiring condoms on porn movie sets.
This Issue: Women May Need Fewer Bone Tests U.S. Seeks Better Alzheimer's Treatments Deen Takes Heat after Diabetes Diagnosis L.A. to Require Condoms in Porn Industry
In the News:
Women May Need Fewer Bone Tests
Older women at low risk of osteoporosis may need to get bone density tests only every 15 years, research released this week suggests. The study included 5,000 women. They were part of a large, long-term health study. When the study began, they were at least 67 years old. A bone mineral density test at that time showed that none had osteoporosis. Some did have osteopenia. They had below-normal bone density, but not as low as in osteoporosis. During the next 15 years, only 1% of those with normal bone density developed osteoporosis. But the number was 62% for those with advanced osteopenia. Women who had normal bone density or mild osteopenia were found to be low-risk. Researchers concluded that most could wait 15 years for another test. Some might need the tests more often if other factors increased their risk. Women with moderate osteopenia should repeat the test in 5 years, researchers said. Those with advanced osteopenia should get the test every year. The New England Journal of Medicine published the study. The Associated Press wrote about it.
U.S. Seeks Better Alzheimer's Treatments
The U.S. government is developing a national strategy on Alzheimer's disease. The Obama administration announced the effort this week. Its target is to find effective treatments by 2025. Congress approved the campaign last year. Now an advisory group is writing the final plan. It will include more funding for research on prevention and treatment. Today's treatments can relieve symptoms for only a short time. Experts believe that as many as half of those with the disease have not been diagnosed. Therefore, the new strategy will include a public awareness campaign. Officials hope this will encourage earlier diagnosis. Doctors will be given tools to assess Medicare patients for the disease during their annual checkups. The government also wants to support caregivers. It plans to spread the word about resources and programs that can help to improve care. The Associated Press wrote about the planned campaign.
Deen Takes Heat after Diabetes Diagnosis
Paula Deen, the Food Network chef who became famous for her high-fat Southern comfort food, said this week that she has diabetes. Deen revealed on NBC's "Today" show that she was diagnosed three years ago. She also said she is the new spokeswoman for the diabetes drug Victoza. Deen said she kept her diagnosis secret at first while she and her family tried to figure out what to do. Now, she said, she is trying to help the public with the diabetes-friendly recipes she created for the online program Diabetes in a New Light. The site is sponsored by Novo Nordisk, maker of Victoza. But health activists criticized Deen for promoting unhealthy food while knowing she had diabetes. Deen made no apologies. She plans no changes in the food she cooks for her three TV shows. She said people should "practice moderation" with high-calorie food. She said she has given up her habit of drinking sweet tea all day and now walks on a treadmill. The Associated Press wrote about the controversy.
L.A. to Require Condoms in Porn Industry
The Los Angeles City Council this week approved a law requiring condoms on porn movie sets. The law would deny film permits to producers who don't comply. The council has created a committee of law enforcement and health officials to figure out how to enforce it. But people in the porn industry told the Associated Press (AP) that if the law is enforced filming will go elsewhere. The porn trade requires testing of actors for sexually transmitted diseases every 30 days, and that's enough, they said. Customers don't want to see films with condoms, observers of the industry said. State law already requires use of condoms, a health activist told AP. But the new law should improve enforcement, he said.
Used with the permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved. The above summaries are not intended to provide advice on personal medical matters, nor are they intended to be a substitute for consultation with a physician.