Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Underweight patients more likely to die than mildly obese patients

This is an old story now but it needs a lot of repetition before it becomes accepted: The healthiest weight is a middling weight

Underweight patients may have more possibilities of mortality within 30 days of general and vascular surgery compared with mildly obese patients, according to a research published online in Archives of Surgery Tuesday.

Researchers at the U.S. National Surgical Quality Improvement Program conducted the research for the years 2005 and 2006, and assessed the contribution of BMI (Body Mass Index) to 189,533 postsurgeries morbidity and mortality by obesity classes.

They found that compared with the middle BMI quintile group, patients with BMI value below 23.1, had greater chances for death. For the highest BMI quintile group, higher mortality rate was also observed.

However, the researchers also found that obesity may as well be associated with increased mortality for some individual types of surgeries.

"These individual types of procedures include procedures with which the general surgeon should have definite experience: colorectal resection, colostomy formation, cholecystectomy, hernia repair, mastectomy, and wound debridement," said George J. Stukenborg, PhD, of the University of Virginia inCharlottesvilleand his colleagues.

Based on a 30 –day morbidity and mortality risk calculation, the sample patients were categorized into BMI quintile ranges. BMI value of less than 23.1 was considered as lowest, values from 26.3 to 29.6 considered as the middle quintile, and above 35.2 considered as the highest.

Factors such as lack of enough data on nonfatal complications and hospital resources, or examining mortality over the 30-day baseline, may cause limitations and inaccuracy to the research and more studies on a wider range of patients in terms of BMI are needed to further confirm the current conclusion, researchers said.


Bowel cancer wonder drug searches out and kills tumours without the side effects

Mouse study only. Let's hope it works on people too

A two-in-one drug that seeks out and destroys tumours while being kind to the rest of the body has been developed by researchers. In tests, it took just minutes to home in on bowel tumours before dramatically shrinking them. In some cases, mice whose cancer was thought to be terminal were cured.

The drugs also act by ‘stealth’, sneaking into cancerous areas without causing damage to the surrounding healthy cells.

In standard cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, drugs attack anywhere in the body, meaning healthy cells as well as cancerous ones are damaged. This indiscriminate attack on the body’s cells leads to side effects including hair loss and nausea.

But using the new technique, normal cells should not be affected, meaning that patients are spared the usual side effects.

Excitingly, the U.S. researchers believe the same technique could be used to combat other cancers, such as those of the breast, prostate, lung and skin. Bowel cancer is Britain’s second biggest cancer killer, after lung cancer, and claims more than 16,000 lives a year.

The Californian researchers began by searching for a compound that targets tumours rather than healthy tissue. They settled on one called IF7, a small protein that seeks out the blood vessels that tumours need to grow and spread around the body. They attached IF7 to a fluorescent probe and injected it into mice with bowel tumours. Within minutes, the tumours lit up.

They then linked IF7 to a powerful cancer drug, gave the two-in-one compound to diseased mice, and watched the tumours shrink.

The results were dramatic, with many treated tumours disappearing completely within a fortnight, even at low doses.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said that IF7 targets tumours with ‘unprecedented’ speed.


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