October 2009 Newsletter

Now There's a Condom for Your Stomach

The latest breakthrough in weight-loss procedures may sound unappealing, but it's reversible and safer than surgery. 

The "gastric condom" is a device that looks like a tampon applicator, and is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach.  Once it has reached the bottom of the stomach, the device opens up, anchoring itself and releasing a length of plastic tubing into the first two feet of the small intestine. 

Like a sausage casing, the tubing will surround food, preventing it from being absorbed by the walls of the intestine as it passes through the body. 

This effectively reduces the number of calories that may be absorbed from any given amount of food. 

Researcher, Stuart Randle tells New Scientist that when tested on rats, a smaller version of the device resulted not only in significant weight loss but also reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Since the procedure isn't surgical, it has far fewer risks. The device can be removed in just 10 minutes by being pulled through the mouth.
Blood in Your Bowel Movements?
Q: A few times I've seen blood in the toilet after a bowel movement. Could I have colon cancer or something else?

A: Chances are, the cause of the blood is benign. When you see a little bit of bright-red on your toilet paper it's usually as a result of an external problem, like an anal fissure or hemorrhoids.

Anal fissures are tears in the lining of the anal canal, caused by hard or large stools. More than 90% of these tears heal on their own within a couple of weeks, but when they first occur and are healing you might see blood after a bowel movement.

Hemorrhoids are as a result of swollen, inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum. They may become irritated if you strain when you're constipated, and that may cause light bleeding.

Pregnant women are especially prone to hemorrhoids. And by age 50, more than half of us will have had to cope with one at least once. Over-the-counter creams can help soothe the itching and burning that often accompany hemorrhoids.

Also remember that foods like beets and red licorice can turn your stool red.

If you see blood for more than three days or notice any changes in your bowel habits, like increased diarrhea or constipation, please check in with your doctor.

Most physicians recommend regular colonoscopies after age 50; if your family has a history of colon cancer or you have recurring problems, then you may be advised to start regular screenings sooner.

Popular Food Manufacturers Reduce Salt
Many food manufacturers are reducing salt content as consumers become more concerned about high levels of sodium in what they eat.
  • Pepperidge Farm is making lower-sodium versions of eight types of bread.

  • Cambell's has reduced sodium in 85 of its 230 soups and plans to reduce sodium in more.

  • Frito-Lay Pinch of Salt is a new line of chips with 30% to 50% less salt.

  • Orville Redenbacher's SmartPop Lower Sodium Popcorn has 30% salt than regular varieties, and salt is being reduced in the rest of the company's line as well.

Did You Know???
  • According to a new study, women who take probiotics during pregnancy and lactation are less likely to become obese.

    The research conducted in Finland found that the lower risk of obesity was especially significant during the first year after giving birth.

    A total of 256 women participated in the study and were divided into three groups. Two groups received dietary counseling, and one of those also received daily capsules of probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

    The second group received a placebo.
    The third group received placebo and no dietary counseling.

    The results found that 25% of women who had been given probiotics as well as dietary counseling advice had 'central obesity', defined as a body mass index of 30 or more or a waist circumference of over 31 inches.

    Meanwhile, as much as 43% of those who got counseling alone and 40 percent of the women who got neither diet advice nor probiotics developed central obesity.

    The scientists believe that probiotics' power to manipulate the balance of bacteria in the gut may help fight obesity.
  In this Issue:
Condom for the Stomach
Blood in your Bowel Movements?
Food Manufacturers Reduce Salt
Did You Know??? 
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