Posts made in January, 2013

Outdoor Fast Food Ads Could Promote Obesity, Study Finds

Past studies have suggested a relationship between neighborhood characteristics and obesity, as well as a connection between obesity and advertisements on television and in magazines.  Now, new research from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has identified a possible link between outdoor fast food ads and a tendency to pack on pounds. The findings, researchers say, are not encouraging. 

In a study published online in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health, Lenard Lesser, M.D., and his colleagues suggest that the more outdoor advertisements promoting fast food and soft drinks there are in a given census tract, the higher the likelihood that the area’s residents are overweight. 

“Obesity is a significant health problem, so we need to know the factors that contribute to the overeating of processed food,” said Lesser, who conducted the research while a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the UCLA Department of Family Medicine and UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.  

Lenard Lesser, M.D.

“Previous research has found that fast food ads are more prevalent in low-income, minority areas, and laboratory studies have shown that marketing gets people to eat more,” said Lesser, now a research physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in California. “This is one of the first studies to suggest an association between outdoor advertising and obesity.” 

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Higher Rates of Diabetic Kidney Disease in Minority Populations

Minorities have increased rates of proteinuric diabetic kidney disease compared to non-Hispanic whites, according to a collaborative study between the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) Research Institute and Stanford University. The study led by PAMF’s Latha Palaniappan, M.D., and Stanford’s Vivek Bhalla, M.D., examined the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease in minority patients at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. The results were published in the December 2012 online issue of Diabetes Care .

About 10 to 15 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes develop diabetic kidney disease. The kidneys filter and remove waste products from the blood, and can be damaged by high levels of blood sugar. Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Patients with diabetes are monitored regularly for two signs of diabetic kidney disease: waste products found in the blood and proteins found in urine, known as proteinuria.

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PAMF M.D. Reacts to Report on Drop in U.S. Cancer Death Rates

Death rates from cancer are continuing to decrease, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, published online on January 7, 2013, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The decline in cancer death rates was attributed to treatment advances and better screening.

Edmund Tai, M.D., an oncologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Cancer Care Center in Mountain View, California, responded to the report.

Dr. Edmund Tai (right) is an oncologist at PAMF’s Mountain View Center

“Among the major cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancers, strides have been made over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Tai. “More effective screening has resulted in more patients being diagnosed at an earlier stage, hence more cures. 

“Improved treatment has also resulted in improved survival of cancer patients. In addition, the treatment of more advanced disease has dramatically improved. Patients benefit from targeted therapy, such as Her2+ breast cancer, and Rituxin in lymphoma patients. 

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