Medical Research Update

Article excerpt

TYPE II DIABETES AND CHILDREN: DETECTION AND PREVENTION

Type II diabetes, once thought to be rare in children, is being diagnosed more often in children and adolescents. Health experts attribute this rise to growing obesity rates in kids and teens. As a result, an eight-member panel of experts, convened by the American Diabetes Association, recommends testing overweight children--those at more than 120 percent of their ideal weight for height. The panel also added recommendations to include education for children on how to manage their disease: monitoring blood glucose levels; tips on daily exercise; and dietary recommendations. Further suggestions from the panel members include regular screening for complications of diabetes, such as eye problems, high blood pressure, and kidney malfunctions. The recommendations were published in the March 2000 issue of Pediatrics.

JUVENILE ARTHRITIS AND RESISTANCE EXERCISE: A BENEFICIAL MATCH

Nadine Fisher, EdD, revealed in her research that children who have juvenile arthritis who participated in an individualized resistance-exercise program showed as much as a 200 percent improvement in their ability to function. In addition, the results showed a marked drop in their pain, disability, and use of medications. "We expected to see a change in the disease with exercise," Fisher said, "but we didn't expect to see so much. Everybody showed tremendous physiological improvement--better strength, endurance, and even better aerobic capacity ... Everyone had less pain." An accompanying investigation, done by Jaya Venkatraman, Phd, reveals the reason for such positive results: the exercise induced a change in immune response. Nadine Fisher, EdD, is assistant professor of occupational therapy and rehabilitation medicine, and Jaya Venkatraman, PhD, is associate professor of nutrition. Both are affiliated with the University at Buffalo. Results were presented at a joint meeting of the American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals.

NEW SURGERY AVAILABLE TO AID BREATHING FOR PEOPLE WITH QUADRIPLEGIA

Abbot J. Krieger, MD, has discovered a surgical procedure to regenerate the phrenic nerve (which stimulates the diaphragm to move the lungs) and allow people to breathe on their own. The procedure, which has been performed successfully on six people, involves grafting living intercostal (between the ribs) nerves into the dead or damaged phrenic nerve. After approximately six months, nerve regeneration occurs, and the new nerves assume control over the electrical functions of the phrenic nerve. …