Enlightenment Luncheon: a discussion regarding the rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children – March 14, 2012

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children continues to increase due to a number of factors ranging from genetics, a lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition.  This Enlightenment Luncheon, the sixth in a series hosted by the Emory School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and local philanthropists Stephanie Blank, Lisa Rayner and Laura Turner Seydel, serves to promote dialogue between the academic, health care, and local community to improve health outcomes.

The Luncheon features Griffin Platt Rodgers, MD, MBA, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as the keynote speaker for the event on March 14th from noon to 2 pm at the InterContinental Hotel Buckhead’s Venetian Ballroom.  The event is open to the public, with registration beginning at 11 am.  For more information about the event, visit this website.  To purchase tickets for the event, please call 404-727-4878 or visit the online registration website.

Supportive environments a key factor in successful smoking cessation

According to Carla Berg, professor in the Rollins School of Public Health and a member of Winship’s Cancer Prevention and Control program smoking cessation is more likely to succeed when an individual is provided social support. Critical to maintaining a tobacco-free lifestyle is a positive outlook on success reinforced by family and friends, rather than negative complaints about smoking behaviors and nagging about the problem.

An interview with Dr. Berg and additional information about behaviors that promote smoking cessation is available through the Emory News Center.

American Heart Month: The Importance of Exercise

Emory cardiologist Nanette Wenger explains the benefits of exercising for your health, and the consequences that can ensue when exercise is not prioritized in this video published by CNN in honor of American Heart Month: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/21/small-strides-you-should-take-for-your-heart/.

How does your county compare in health?

The state of health in America is not identical from region to region or state to state, with even significant differences evident at a county by county level. 

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, has used data visualization methods to integrate global health data with maps to demonstrate regional differences in health status. 

For example, they provide the following comparisons:

Additional visualizations are available on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s website.

Added fiber: Does it improve health?

Much health-related advice that circulates through public (and particularly media) sources emphasizes the need to attain a certain quantity of specific nutrients each day.  For example, Vitamin C, iron, sodium, and calcium all have dietary reference intakes (RDIs) that set a minimum daily threshold according to RDA guidelines.

But does consuming a specific quantity per day matter, and how does the source of that nutrient come into play?  NPR’s Amy Standen investigated whether added fiber, particularly that added into foods traditionally not providing a significant source of fiber such as children’s cereal, truly has substantial health benefits.

The story can be accessed on NPR’s website in print or audio format.


Mindful eating as food for thought

Mindfulness meditation practices have been shown effective for improving outcomes for cancer patients undergoing other aggressive medication-based treatments, and has recently been promoted as a method for controlling diet.

The concept is being researched at universities across the US, with Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist, promoting mindfulness eating as a way to provide relief from hectic schedules and a way to reconnect with food.

A description of mindfulness eating and current research is available through the New York Times.

Cancer patients cope better with mindfulness meditation

A recent clinical trial led by Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, from the Emory University School of Nursing, found that mindfulness mediation improved the well being of many cancer patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplants.

Cancer patients who participated in the study were visited by health care professionals (primarily nurses) trained in mindfulness meditation twice per week, in addition to receiving a CD on guided meditation to use both at the hospital and after returning home.

More information about the study and mindfulness meditation is available here.


Emory mosaic tells the history of medicine

Emory students should visit the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building during business hours to get a glimpse at our campus’ massive mosaic depicting the history of medicine.  Stretching 66 feet long and three stories tall, the mosaic uses approximately 2.5 million small tiles to document more than 30 historical events and key medical figures.  The mosaic was commissioned in part by John Skandalakis (1920-2009), directer of the Centers for Surgical Anatomy and Technique, and brought to life by Sirio Tonelli in 1996.

For more information about the mural, watch the following video available through the Emory University YouTube Channel:

US adopts new school lunch program policies to target obesity

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Michelle Obama announced changes to government-subsidized school meals that are part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce obesity among youth by promoting improved nutrition and exercise habits.

Key aspects of the new requirements include: doubling daily servings of fruits and vegetables, serving only whole grains, milk must be low fat, and salt and trans fat maximums.

For more information, you can read the new rules or the New York Times article which includes a more detailed summary and interviews with key government and food industry leaders.

Improving treatment decisions to improve brain tumor outcomes

A National Cancer Institute-funded research team that includes senior investigator Dr. Walter J. Curran, Jr., executive director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, announced January 19th that a genetic marker in brain tumors should be evaluated to determine the best treatment plan for patients with a rare type of brain tumor.

In their phase III trial, the team found that anaplastic oligodendroglioma patients that also have a genetic abnormality – the 1p19q co-deletion – survived about twice as long as average (14.7 compared with 7.3 years) when treated initially with both chemotherapy and radiation.  Additionally, tumor patients with the genetic abnormality survived significantly longer (more than 7 years) than those without the co-deletion (2.8 years).

Details of the findings and study design are available here.