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‘The seizures have got more frequent and more violent’

"It's really frightening. You think 'is she going to be ok or do I have to phone for an ambulance again?'. "What's she going to be like when she comes round? It's a daily struggle". Kiley Lay's daughter Katie suffers from epilepsy. The 17-year-old from Essex has had the condition since she was two-years-old. but recently her illness has taken a turn for the worse. "The seizures have got more frequent and more violent. She'll try and scratch herself and pull her hair. She's had 124 seizures since April." 'Not good enough' Katie was having daily seizures in the summer, so her family turned to their GP for help. They were told their daughter could be referred to a neurologist – but there was a waiting list. The earliest she could see a neurologist would be February next year. Kiley says: "We need the appointment brought forward because Katie's seizures were getting more prolonged". Following a recent visit to A&E, a request for an urgent referral was made for Katie and she is due to see a consultant who specialises in epilepsy in early December. But she will still have to wait until February to see a neurologist. Katie said: "It made me angry because I can't really wait that long. I would love to be a free spirit and live my life." A spokesperson for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the programme: "There is a national shortage of neurology consultants and the trust has been proactively working to recruit specialist doctors." It added one consultant was due to start in March 2018 and the trust was advertising for another. 'Failing patients' Earlier this year, a report published by the Neurological Alliance found that that services to diagnose, treat and provide on-going care are failing patients across the spectrum of neurological disorders. It surveyed 7,000 neurology patients in England about their experience of getting access to care and treatment. It found that 23% waited more than 12 months to see a neurological specialist after their first visit to a GP. Suzanne Dobson, chair of the alliance, said: "The impact is huge. For a few, it will mean that they didn't get treatment earlier enough and so bits of their conditions that many have been reversible, manageable, get worse during the period and they can't get that back." Meanwhile, a separate report published in March by the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) found that the likelihood of a patient with a neurological problem being seen by a neurologist varies dramatically depending on where they are admitted. It found one in five UK hospitals have access to neurologists on three days a week or less. Diagnosis Another area of concern highlighted within the Neurological Alliance's research was the length of time it took to patients to get a diagnosis. It found that 42% of patients saw a GP five or more times before seeing a neurological specialist. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recognised this as an issue and in January is due to publish new guidance for the health professionals like GPs to help them to better recognise neurological conditions. The draft guidance says "a lack of support" to help non-specialists identify when a referral is needed, has led to "delays in referral for people with treatable or potentially serious neurological conditions". Two years ago a Public Accounts Committee report criticised the wide variations in neurology care in England. The committee's chair, Meg Hillier, MP said despite their warnings the situation had not improved. "Evidence shows from our committee that in 2012 the system wasn't fit for purpose, that in 2015 it wasn't and from the evidence 5 live Investigates has shown me, and the Neurological Alliance have been reporting, it's not got any better. In fact it looks like its going backwards". An NHS England spokesperson said a national advisory group on neurology was formed last year, bringing together patient groups within the Neurological Alliance, NHS England and other organisations. She said: "Its aim is to direct the development of national work to improve outcomes for people living with neurological conditions". A Department of Health spokesperson added: "We spend over £3 billion every year on neurological services and the number of neurologists in the NHS has increased by 37% since 2010. "However, local services must also ensure patients with neurological disorders receive timely care and support and have access to specialists when they need it." 5 live Investigates is broadcast on Sunday 26th November 2017 at 11am GMT. If you've missed it you can catch up on the iPlayer. Original Article [contf] [contfnew] BBC [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Deer Hunters: Put Safety First

SATURDAY, Nov. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Deer hunting this season? As you head to the woods, make safety your priority, two experts say. Joe Hess, of the pediatric trauma program at Penn State Children's Hospital, reminds hunters to treat every firearm as if it were loaded: Never point it at anyone and never place a finger on the trigger until ready to fire. Hess said it's important to remember that hunting is often a multigenerational activity. The youngest hunters have much less experience and ability, and should go through a hunter safety course. "You need to understand the types and parts of a gun," he said. "You also need to understand what it means to shoot the gun." Falls from a tree stand are another hazard of deer hunting. If you use a tree stand, always use a harness, advised Kimberly Patil. She's with the adult trauma program at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center. "You want to keep it on you and tethered from start to finish so if you miss a step or lose your balance, it will catch you," Patil said in a center news release. Practice using the tree stand in the company of another adult before you use it for hunting, Patil said. Also, have three points of contact at all times while climbing in or out of a tree stand (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand). And don't climb the stand with equipment in your hands. "Use a haul line to raise or lower your equipment," Patil said. Hess and Patil offered some other recommendations: Wear fluorescent orange clothing so other hunters can see you. If you bring a dog, it also should have a vest of hunter's orange. Also, make other hunters aware of your presence by making a bit of noise or whistling. Before you leave, tell someone where you're going, how will you get there, and when you expect to return. Find out beforehand if the area has cellphone reception or if you need to bring hard copies of maps or download them to your phone to access when offline. "Getting lost probably happens more often than people want to believe," Patil said. "If you go out early and spend hours in the woods, it's easy to get fatigued and turned around. Or you may not realize how quickly the sun goes down." Carry a safety kit along that includes first aid supplies, extra doses of any medicine you take, a pocket knife, fire starter, waterproof matches, flashlight and a tourniquet to stop blood flow if you're wounded. More information The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has more on hunter safety. Original Article [contf] [contfnew] Health [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Does Sex Really Trigger Cardiac Arrest?

SUNDAY, Nov. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) — It's a common Hollywood trope — an older guy is having enthusiastic sex with a gal half his age when he suddenly flops over dead. But in real life, sexual activity very rarely causes cardiac arrest, a new study reassuringly reports. Sex was linked to only 34 out of more than 4,500 cardiac arrests that occurred in the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area between 2002 and 2015. That's a rate of just 0.7 percent, the researchers noted. Of those cases, 18 occurred during sex and 15 immediately after sex. Time couldn't be determined for the last case. "I'm a little surprised at the really tiny number," said study senior researcher Dr. Sumeet Chugh, medical director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "But mostly I feel it's reassuring data." The news is most welcome for patients with heart problems who aren't sure if sex could be dangerous, Chugh said. "Previously we would say the risk is probably low, but we don't know how low," Chugh noted. "Now we have data and we can say to them the risk is very low." The new findings are part of a 16-year study of heart risk factors involving about a million people living in and around Portland. "Sexual activity is just one variable in the whole big picture" of cardiac risks, but one that hasn't been studied in depth, Chugh added. Men are more likely than women to have their heart stop as a result of sex. Just two of the 34 cardiac arrest patients were female, the findings showed. But overall, sex was linked to only 1 percent of all cardiac arrests that occurred in men. Other heart experts said they weren't surprised by the results. Sex just isn't as strenuous as people believe. The aerobic activity associated with sex is equivalent to climbing two flights of stairs, explained Dr. Nieca Goldberg. She is director of the NYU Center for Women's Health and an AHA spokeswoman. Dr. Martha Gulati, chief of cardiology for the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said, "Although a lot of us think sex requires an intense level of activity, even in the most extreme situations it's not as intense as people imagine it." The safety of sex comes up from time to time with patients who've suffered a heart attack or have been diagnosed with a heart problem, Goldberg and Gulati said. Sex generally is safe for most heart patients, unless they are unable to maintain even low levels of activity or have symptoms that keep them from doing daily chores like making the bed or cleaning the house, the heart experts noted. Goldberg suggested that "doctors really should be discussing this information with their patients to allay their fears they may have after a cardiac diagnosis, that most people return safely to having sexual activity." There's one silver lining for people who have a cardiac arrest from sex — they're almost twice as likely to survive, Chugh said. About 19 percent of the patients in sex-related cardiac arrest cases survived their ordeal, compared with an average survival rate of around 10 percent nationwide, he said. "By now, there is recognition from a lot of research that if someone is around when you have your cardiac arrest and provides CPR while the ambulance is getting there, it can be potentially lifesaving," Chugh said. "You're pretty much guaranteed to have a witness if sexual activity is involved." Yet only one-third of those witnesses in the study attempted CPR, which suggests a continuing need for public education on the importance of CPR, the study authors noted. The study is scheduled to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. It will also be published simultaneously in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. More information For more about cardiac arrest, visit the American Heart Association. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Binge-Watchers, Beware: All That TV Time Poses Clot Risk

SUNDAY, Nov. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) — If you love to while away a weekend watching a season's worth of episodes from a favorite TV series, you may inadvertently put yourself at risk for developing a dangerous blood clot. When researchers compared people who reported watching TV more often to those who seldom or never watched TV, the risk of a venous thromboembolism (VTE) jumped by 70 percent. A VTE is a type of blood clot that can block blood flow in a vein, according to the American Heart Association. "I don't think TV watching itself is an evil thing, but everything in moderation," said study co-author Dr. Mary Cushman. She's a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont's Larner Medical College. "Think about how you're spending your time, and see if you can take advantage of your TV time to get some activity in," advised Cushman. Her own solution? Walking on her treadmill when she watches TV. Cardiologist Dr. James Catanese concurred. He said when he watches TV, he rides a stationary bike. If you're not going to exercise while watching TV, he recommended watching an episode and then doing something physical for 20 minutes. "Physical inactivity is a risk factor for every cardiovascular disease, including VTEs," said Catanese, chief of cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He wasn't involved in the research. The study included more than 15,000 U.S. adults. They were between 45 and 64 years old when the study began between 1987 and 1989. The study volunteers were asked if they watched TV "never or seldom, sometimes, often or very often." TV viewing information was updated in two time periods: 1993-1995 and 2009-2011, the researchers said. The study didn't gather information on how many minutes a day people watched TV. During more than 20 years of follow-up, nearly 700 people developed the dangerous blood clots. Even people who regularly exercised and met the U.S. government's weekly exercise recommendations — 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week — still had an increased risk of VTE. The risk of the blood clot was even higher — 80 percent — for those who were regular exercisers who watched TV "very often" compared to those who "never or seldom" watched. The study wasn't designed to prove a cause- and-effect relationship, and other factors may have contributed to the development of VTE. For example, Cushman said, obesity is a known risk factor for developing blood clots. When they adjusted the data to control for weight, they found that obesity explained about 25 percent of the risk. However, lack of movement was still found to increase the risk of VTE by 50 percent. Cushman also pointed out that a combination of risk factors can make the odds of developing a VTE even worse. People who had the highest obesity status and watched TV very often had about 2.4 times the risk, she said. Along with using TV time to exercise, Cushman also recommended taking advantage of digital video recorders, offered by most cable TV providers. These devices allow you to fast-forward through commercials and spend less time watching TV. Or, she said, take a walk before you sit down to watch TV. "You've got to pay to play," she said, adding that it's helpful to train yourself to think that way. Other ways to prevent clots include maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity and eating a heart-healthy diet, Cushman said. The study is to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information Learn more about blood clots from the American Heart Association. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Healthier Diet, Less Salt: The Recipe to Beat High Blood Pressure

SUNDAY, Nov. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) – Cutting back on salt, along with following the highly recommended "DASH" diet, can beat back high blood pressure in adults, new research shows. After just a month, the results for people adopting this strategy were "striking and reinforce the importance of dietary changes" for those with problematic blood pressure. So says a team of researchers led by Dr. Stephen Juraschek, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Millions of Americans fight a daily battle with high blood pressure, which can greatly increase their odds for stroke and other heart events. What's the best dietary strategy to lower those blood pressure numbers? One key factor that's long been linked to blood pressure is salt (sodium) intake. In the new study, 412 people with high blood pressure (or in danger of high blood pressure) were assigned to one of three daily salt-intake regimens. Some took in about half of a teaspoon of salt per day; some had about a teaspoon of salt per day, while others consumed about 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day. Current recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration call for a daily limit of about one teaspoon of salt (2,300 milligrams of sodium) per day. The study participants, who averaged 48 years of age, were also randomly asked to stay on either a "regular" diet or switch to the healthier Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) regimen. This diet is often recommend by doctors and nutritionists and focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts. The participants' blood pressure averaged 135/86 mm/Hg at the start of the four-week study. At the end of that time, results varied greatly depending which regimen the person had followed. For example, for people who continued taking in higher amounts of salt, switching to the DASH diet brought down systolic blood pressure by anywhere from 4.5 to nearly 11 points, with the benefits higher for people who'd started the trial at the highest blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a reading. The effect was event more robust, however, for people who were on the DASH diet and cut their daily salt intake, Juraschek's team said. For example, people who started the trial with systolic blood pressure readings at or above 150 mm/Hg saw an average decline of almost 21 points if they ate healthier and slashed their salt intake. Even for people with "mid-range" hypertension lost an average of 7 to nearly 10 points in systolic blood pressure if they cut their salt and switched over to DASH, the study found. Juraschek's team says further research is needed to determine if the combo diet has the same effect for adults with systolic blood pressure that rises even above 160 mmHg. Two heart specialists were encouraged by the results. "This study provides compelling evidence that people who adhere to a DASH diet improve at all levels of hypertension risk," said Dr. Benjamin Hirsch. He directs preventive cardiology at Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. Dr. Antonella Apicella is an outpatient dietitian who helps counsel heart patients at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She said that "although positive effects on systolic blood pressure were also seen in individuals who followed a low-sodium or DASH diet alone, this study supports the notion that the combination … is most beneficial for blood pressure control in individuals with pre- or stage 1 hypertension." The findings were published Nov. 12 in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, to coincide with a presentation at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. More information The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on the DASH diet. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Many Women Miss Out on Lifesaving CPR

SATURDAY, Nov. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) — America's hang-ups over sexuality and gender could cost women their lives when their heart suddenly stops, a new study suggests. Simply put, women suffering from cardiac arrest in a public setting are less likely to get lifesaving CPR from a passerby than men are, researchers reported. "When it comes to life and death, we need to reassure the public that we're not worrying about what seems socially inappropriate or taboo," said senior study author Dr. Benjamin Abella. He is director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Resuscitation Science. "The situation requires action, and it requires people to not hesitate. A life is on the line," Abella added. But the study showed people do hesitate, especially when the victim is a woman. About 45 percent of men who suffered cardiac arrest in a public setting received CPR from a bystander, compared with only 39 percent of women, the researchers found. The investigators suspect bystanders might be worried about touching a strange woman's chest in public, even if it is to save a life. The reason the researchers believe that is because people acted very differently when a woman collapsed at home, where she had an equal chance of receiving CPR. The study involved data gathered by the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, a network of U.S. and Canadian hospitals studying cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest can kill a person within minutes if CPR isn't performed, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital each year. Nine out of 10 of these victims die, but speedy CPR can double or triple the chance of survival, the AHA noted. The researchers reviewed more than 19,000 cases of cardiac arrest that occurred outside of a hospital between 2011 and 2015. Men in public settings were 23 percent more likely than women to receive bystander CPR, and they also had 23 percent better odds of survival, according to the report. But, "when we looked in the home, there was no difference in terms of response by gender in the home," said study author Audrey Blewer, an assistant director for educational programs at UPenn's Center for Resuscitation Science. The difference between men and women is "unexpected," said Dr. Clifton Callaway, executive vice chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "I really would have thought if somebody is on the ground, and not responsive, that people would be equally likely to help a man or woman," said Callaway, an AHA spokesman. Bystanders already have a difficult time responding to a sudden collapse in public, Abella explained. They're shocked by the collapse, and often are afraid of hurting someone by attempting CPR. "We think these data show yet one more barrier that may be playing a role in low bystander CPR response," Abella said. The researchers found that, in all cases, bystanders administered CPR only 37 percent of the time. The study was scheduled for presentation Saturday at the AHA's annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. "The most striking thing to me is how few people get CPR overall," Callaway said. "Those numbers are something we really need to turn around. Two-thirds of people don't get a bystander to do CPR when their heart has stopped. This is something we've known for decades." Witnesses should immediately call 911 and then start hands-only CPR on the person — one hand over the other on the middle of the chest, pushing hard and fast, at about 100 to 120 beats a minute. The disco song "Staying Alive" provides a good beat for CPR, Abella added. CPR can be performed through any sort of clothing, Blewer said. Don't worry about any undergarments — just start pressing on the middle of the chest. Passersby worried about providing CPR should keep in mind that all 50 states have Good Samaritan laws on the books that will protect them against legal action, Abella noted. "That's something I think people are not as aware of as they should be," Abella said. More information For more on how to perform CPR, visit the American Heart Association. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Music, Video Help Sixth-Graders Master Hands-Only CPR

SATURDAY, Nov. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) — CPR can be performed by sixth graders, a new study suggests. Some states require hands-only CPR training for high school graduation, but teaching younger children has not been a focus of training efforts, the researchers explained. "We were wondering why they need to wait until 12th grade when sixth graders have learned the circulation system and seem mature enough and are interested in learning hands-only CPR," said study author Dr. Mimi Biswas. She's a cardiologist at the University of California's Riverside School of Medicine and Riverside Community Hospital. For the study, her team divided 160 sixth graders into three groups. All of the students were instructed in hands-only CPR. One group (the control) watched a video that demonstrated how to perform 100 to 120 chest compressions a minute on adult CPR dummies. Another group watched the video and listened to music with a tempo matching the target compression rate. The third group watched the video and played a video game to reinforce the target compression rate. All three groups then tested their CPR skills on dummies. Most students remembered to call 911, performed CPR in the correct spot and gave high-quality compressions. But those in the music and video game groups more often matched the target compression rate. The findings suggest that tempo-reinforcing methods such as music and video games may help children perform better CPR, according to the study authors. They are slated to present the findings Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary, because it hasn't received the scrutiny given to published studies. More information The American Heart Association has more on hands-only CPR. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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The Heart Risks of a Desk Job

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Your comfortable recliner and state-of-the-art office chair may be increasing your risk for heart disease. A sedentary lifestyle can raise cholesterol and threaten heart health. If you have a desk job, it's especially important to counter long bouts of sitting with an hourly 5-minute exercise break, even if you stay within your office. If you work long hours within the confines of a small cubicle, you'll need to be creative to find ways to get your blood flowing. Here's how. Shake up daily habits. Leave the perfect parking spot for someone else. Parking farther away from your building will give you a chance to stretch your legs before and after a long day at work. Instead of sitting in the cafeteria during lunch, head outside to walk, talk and eat with your co-workers. You'll feel refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the day. Rather than scheduling meetings in a stuffy conference room, take your group outside. The fresh air and camaraderie may even increase your creativity and productivity. Here are more ways to get moving at a sedentary job: Walk to talk to a co-worker instead of emailing. Take a walk outside during coffee breaks. Stand while talking on the phone. Set an hourly reminder on your smartphone to walk in place. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. These tips don't just apply to the office. Find ways to get more active at home, like doing one or two chores after dinner instead of sinking into the sofa right away. And when you do watch TV, walk around during the commercials, and your heart will thank you. More information The University of Missouri has a list of popular activity and break reminder apps for your smartphone and your computer. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Sleep Apnea May Boost Alzheimer’s Risk

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) — If your sleep is continually disrupted by a condition called sleep apnea, you might face a higher chance of developing Alzheimer's down the road. So claims a new study that has linked sleep apnea with an increase in the development of amyloid plaque in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that the more serious the sleep apnea was, the more plaque accumulated. "Sleep apnea is very common among the elderly, and many aren't aware they have it," said senior researcher Dr. Ricardo Osorio. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. An estimated 30 percent to 80 percent of the elderly suffer from sleep apnea, depending on how it's defined, the study authors noted. Although none of the participants developed Alzheimer's over the two years of the study, those with sleep apnea accumulated amyloid plaque, which could trigger Alzheimer's in the future, Osorio said. Sleep apnea occurs when you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. Those pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, and they can occur 30 times or more an hour. Normal breathing usually starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Alzheimer's disease is a fatal condition in which memory deteriorates over time. Alzheimer's affects some 5 million older Americans, and as the millions of baby boomers age, that number will only grow. Osorio suggested that treating sleep apnea would likely reduce the accumulation of amyloid plaque and also the risk of Alzheimer's. Sleep is necessary for the brain to clear itself of amyloid, Osorio explained. "During sleep, the brain does housekeeping and clears some of the proteins that have accumulated during the day, including amyloid," he said. But sleep apnea hinders the brain in its efforts to flush out these plaques, he added. To understand the effect of sleep apnea on the development of brain plaque, Osorio and colleagues studied 208 men and women, aged 55 to 90, who weren't suffering from any type of dementia. The investigators collected samples of the participants' spinal fluid to measure a protein that indicates plaque development, and performed PET scans to measure the amount of plaque in the participants' brains. In all, more than 50 percent of the participants had sleep apnea. Nearly 36 percent suffered from mild sleep apnea, and about 17 percent had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea. Over two years of follow-up, Osorio's team found that among 104 of the participants, those who suffered from more severe sleep apnea had signs in their spinal fluid that indicated the development of brain plaque. Osorio's group confirmed this increase in plaque by giving PET scans to some of the patients. Scans showed an increase in amyloid plaque among those with sleep apnea. Although increases in plaque were seen, this did not predict mental decline, the researchers stressed. The findings were published online Nov. 10 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Osorio noted that the study was too short to determine who might go on to develop Alzheimer's, but the researchers are continuing to follow the participants to see if dementia develops. One Alzheimer's expert said the link is plausible. "We think sleep disorders are an important aspect in the development of the disease, and they are also treatable," said Dean Hartley. He is director of science initiatives at the Alzheimer's Association. People suffering from sleep apnea should have a full sleep workup and get treatment, Hartley said. "People often ask what they can do now to prevent Alzheimer's," he said. "This is one of those things they can do now." More information For more about Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Obesity to Blame for Epidemic of Knee Dislocations, Complications

FRIDAY, Nov. 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Need another reason to keep your weight under control? Excess weight can cause dislocation of your knee and may even lead to a complication that results in amputation of your leg. A new study attributes a surge in dislocated knees to the U.S. obesity epidemic. "Obesity greatly increases the complications and costs of care," said study lead author Dr. Joey Johnson, an orthopedic trauma fellow at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School. "As the rate of obesity increases, the rate of knee dislocations increases. The total number of patients who are obese is increasing, so we are seeing more of these problems," Johnson explained. Knee dislocations result from multiple torn ligaments. Vehicle crashes or contact sports, such as football, are common causes. For the study, the researchers analyzed more than 19,000 knee dislocations nationwide between 2000 and 2012. Over that time, people who were obese or severely obese represented a growing share of knee dislocation patients — 19 percent in 2012, up from 8 percent in 2000. Obesity is also linked to more severe knee dislocations, longer hospital stays and higher treatment costs, according to the study published recently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. And the chances that a knee dislocation would also injure the main artery behind the joint and down the leg were twice as high for obese patients than for those whose weight was normal, the findings showed. This severe complication of knee dislocation — known as a vascular injury — can lead to leg amputation if not treated, the study authors said. Patients with a vascular injury averaged 15 days in the hospital, compared with about one week for other patients. Their average hospitalization costs were just over $131,000 and $60,000, respectively. The study authors said doctors should be especially watchful for vascular injury in obese patients whose knees are dislocated. "That subset of obese patients who come in with complaint of knee pain need to be carefully evaluated so as not to miss a potentially catastrophic vascular injury," said study co-author Dr. Christopher Born, a professor of orthopedics at Brown. Reducing obesity rates could help reverse the growing number of knee dislocations, the researchers suggested. More information The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on knee problems. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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