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Medical News Notes – June 14, 2012

The dangers of acetaminophen overdoses. Dietary issues start young, and how to avoid them. These and other stories of interest from the world of health a medicine in this week’s Medical News Notes.

Parents Warned to Avoid Acetaminophen Overdosing in Children

AcetaminophenBe careful how much Tylenol you give to children. It can cause permanent liver damage. This warning comes from doctors writing in the latest Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). The authors note that, too often, worried parents give their sick/feverish children more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), which can lead to liver damage or even death. What to do if an accidental overdose occurs? Rush the child to the nearest emergency room. There, the child should be given N-acetylcysteine, a drug that can counteract the effects of acetaminophen. But it needs to be given within eight hours to be effective.

Childhood Eating Patterns Can Signal Future Eating Disorders

Woman in ScaleFor many girls, eating disorders start early. How early? Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital wanted to find out. Over 11 years, they tracked the eating patterns of girls as young as age 9. They discovered that preadolescent girls who tried to diet developed dissatisfaction with their bodies by age 14, and many had clinical eating disorders by age 19. This was most common among “perfectionists” who tried to micromanage their food consumption as teenagers. Ironically, most of these girls became overweight later in life. Another twist the researchers discovered: Girls who tried to manage their weight by skipping lunch usually ended up gaining more weight than girls who ate three meals a day.

Obesity Stigma Remains Longer After Weight Is Lost

Always FatAnd speaking of weight gain, once a woman is viewed as “fat,” that stigma can remain even if she loses weight. So say psychologists from the University of Hawaii in Manoa and the University of Manchester in Great Britain. In a series of experimental surveys, the scientists found that people who had negative feelings toward women they viewed as “fat” had the same negative feelings even after the women had lost as much as 70 pounds. Many of the women themselves also considered themselves “fat” even after their weight loss. Part of the stigma comes from the widespread (and mistaken) belief that weight is easily lost, so if a person has ever been fat, it’s a sign of weak character, a permanent condition, the scientists concluded.

Natural Trans Fats May Be Good for You

Natural Trans FatsA lot has been written about how bad the trans fats in french fries, donuts and similar “junk foods” are for you. Well, it turns out that while artificial trans fats may be unhealthy, natural trans fats are actually good. Researchers from the University of Alberta found that milk and meat from cattle, goats and sheep can be health-enhancing when eaten as part of a balanced diet. “There is no association between natural trans fats intake and cholesterol-dependent cardiovascular risk factors,” said Dr. Jean-Michel Chardigny of France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), which provided data for the Canadian study.

Mediterranean Diet Promotes Physical and Mental Health

Mediterranean DietSo how can you avoid gaining weight in the first place and still eat foods you enjoy? One answer is the so-called Mediterranean Diet. In a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Spanish researchers showed how a diet rich in fish, olive oil, nuts, fruits and vegetables resulted in subjects enjoying long-term overall health and a better mental outlook. Also a part of the diet: the moderate consumption of alcohol, particularly wine.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm (visited June 13, 2012). Publish Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012.

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