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Children’s pneumonia outbreak, ‘life-changing’ fat disorder surgery, and 2024 health predictions

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Children’s pneumonia outbreak, ‘life-changing’ fat disorder surgery, and 2024 health predictions

CHILDREN’S HEALTH ALERT – Pediatric pneumonia outbreaks have been reported in China, the Netherlands and parts of the U.S. Doctors weigh in on the situation. Continue reading…

DIET AND DEMENTIA – A time-restricted eating plan could reduce signs of Alzheimer’s disease, a study has found. Continue reading…

‘NEWFOUND FREEDOM’ – A California woman with a painful fat deposit disorder shares the story of her “life-changing” surgery. Continue reading…

Molly Friar

Molly Friar, 53, struggled with lipedema for more than 30 years, calling it “a battle of shame.” (Molly Friar)

KIDS ARE ‘SUFFERING’ – Physical therapists reveal the challenging causes of severe staffing shortages. Continue reading…

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ZOOM FATIGUE – Staring at screens all day can take a toll on remote workers. Here’s what to know. Continue reading…

NEW YEAR, HEALTHIER YOU – A board-certified physician and a biohacking expert share their health predictions for 2024. Continue reading…

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Identifying and eliminating the issues that cause disease will become critical, rather than just treating the symptoms afterward, experts predicted. (iStock)

BUZZ KILL – Here are 7 ways drinking alcohol can negatively impact your health. Continue reading…

HOLIDAY STRESS BUSTERS – Experts share tips on how to remove tension from family gatherings. Continue reading…

LAB BREAKTHROUGH – An Alzheimer’s blood test could hit the market in early 2024, researchers say. Continue reading…

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after blood is taken

A blood test could soon be available to detect Alzheimer’s, according to new research from Resonant, a Utah biotech company that develops diagnostic tests for neurodegenerative diseases. (iStock)

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Weight-loss medications are not effective without ‘nutrition therapy,’ experts say

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Weight-loss medications are not effective without ‘nutrition therapy,’ experts say

People who are on weight-loss journeys should not rely solely on anti-obesity medications, according to a statement from a national nutrition association.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released the statement on March 4, which is World Obesity Day.

“The academy calls on the medical community, including pharmaceutical manufacturers of anti-obesity medications, obesity medicine providers and other health care practitioners specializing in obesity, to enhance the efficacy of these medications and maximize patient success rates by including a referral for medical nutrition therapy from a registered dietitian nutritionist alongside prescriptions for anti-obesity medications,” said Dr. Lauri Wright, PhD, president of the Chicago-based academy.

OBESITY IS ‘EXPLODING,’ WITH MORE THAN 12% OF PEOPLE CLASSIFIED AS OBESE WORLDWIDE, STUDY FINDS: ‘BIG TROUBLE’

“The anti-obesity medications alone will not end obesity unless they are combined with a collaborative, interprofessional approach that includes policy changes to reduce health inequity and disparity,” she also said in the release. 

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Wright emphasized the need to overcome obstacles to obesity treatment. 

People on weight-loss journeys should not rely solely on anti-obesity medications, a national nutrition association said on Monday, March 4. (iStock)

“We must reevaluate how we treat and prevent obesity by increasing access to nutritious food and for health insurance plans to cover nutrition services,” she said. 

“Medical nutrition therapy and intensive behavioral therapy provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist are both proven and cost-effective.”

Man with obesity

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released its statement on March 4, which is World Obesity Day. “We must reevaluate how we treat and prevent obesity by increasing access to nutritious food and for health insurance plans to cover nutrition services,” the president of the group said.  (iStock)

Semaglutides, a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists — including Ozempic (prescribed for diabetes management), Wegovy (prescribed for weight loss), Rybelsus (type 2 diabetes) and Saxenda (weight loss) — have been spiking in popularity in recent years.

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The number of people in the U.S. using GLP-1 agonists for either diabetes or obesity reached 40 million in 2022, research has shown.

OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY OVERDOSE CALLS HAVE SPIKED, EXPERTS SAY — HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT DANGEROUS DOSES

In the academy’s statement, Wright referred to obesity as “a complex, chronic and progressive disease associated with serious complications and risk of mortality.”

“Recognizing World Obesity Day during National Nutrition Month is an opportunity to reevaluate how we best utilize anti-obesity medications to ensure that every patient has access to both lifestyle interventions and safe and effective medications that can improve the health of many adults in the U.S.,” she added.

Ozempic medication

Semaglutides, a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists — including Ozempic (prescribed for diabetes management), Wegovy (prescribed for weight loss), Rybelsus (type 2 diabetes) and Saxenda (weight loss) — have spiked in popularity in recent years. (Getty Images)

The academy said it plans to release a white paper in the spring, which will have detailed recommendations for lifestyle interventions.

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Doctors share thoughts on the academy’s stance

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, responded to the statement in a conversation with Fox News Digital.

“It is important that we put a spotlight on this huge burgeoning problem during World Obesity Day,” he said.

OZEMPIC, THE HAPPY DRUG? STUDY SUGGESTS WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS COULD REDUCE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY

“With over one billion obese people in the world and over a 40% obesity rate in the U.S., we have a huge problem.”

While Siegel is in agreement with the academy’s stance, he noted that not everyone with obesity needs to be on a weight-loss medication.

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Nutritionist appointment

Obesity management requires a multi-pronged approach that combines proper nutrition and exercise — and takes psychosocial factors into account, one doctor told Fox News Digital. (iStock)

“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is right to spotlight this, but wrong to imply that this shifting focus needs to include a prescription for an anti-obesity medication, presumably a semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) or a tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound).”

Given the “tremendous shortage” of these drugs, Siegel warned that many diabetics who need them can’t get them.

“And at the same time, not everyone tolerates them well, and we don’t have a complete handle yet on long-term side effects,” the doctor noted.

VIBRATING WEIGHT LOSS PILL COULD PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE TO OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY, RESEARCHERS SAY

“I certainly think they are useful — and can think of many situations where they decrease risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer as well as the need for bariatric surgery — but they are surely not one size fits all and are mostly not first-line therapy.”

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To promote healthy weight management, Siegel recommended increasing daily exercise and adopting a diet rich in vegetables and fiber and lower in “empty calories.”

“With over one billion obese people in the world and over a 40% obesity rate in the U.S., we have a huge problem.”

Dr. Brett Osborn, a Florida neurologist and longevity expert, is a big proponent of semaglutide medications as a “highly potent” treatment in the fight against obesity.

“They are indeed the holy grail of modern-day medicine and will likely have a similar effect on worldwide health as the advent of antibiotics in the early 1900s,” he predicted to Fox News Digital. 

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Osborn said he agrees with the academy’s recommendation.

“The management of obesity is complex,” he told Fox News Digital. “It is best done through a multi-pronged approach that emphasizes proper nutrition, exercise and psychosocial factors. One cannot anticipate long-term and sustainable results without all three.”

Close up shot of a woman holding a plate of fresh green salad in the beautiful morning light. She's holding a fork and she's about to eat the vegetarian food. Healthy eating and diet concept. Shallow depth of field with focus on the fork.

To promote healthy weight management, a diet should be rich in vegetables and fiber, and lower in “empty calories,” said one physician.  (iStock)

Medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro have “changed the landscape of obesity management,” Osborn said. 

“By sending a robust satiety signal to the brain, these medications force the brain to ‘just say no,’ equating to a caloric deficit and weight loss,” he said. 

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“But absent exercise and a properly designed macronutrient-based food regimen with its full complement of protein, fats and carbohydrates, one may develop a relatively malnourished state … and a compromised immune system.”

For this reason, Osborn recommended that medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro should always be prescribed along with nutrition and exercise counseling. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Novo Nordisk, maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, for comment.

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Cancer risk rises with this little-known syndrome. Here’s how to know if you have the genetic condition

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Cancer risk rises with this little-known syndrome. Here’s how to know if you have the genetic condition

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As colorectal cancer continues to spike among younger patients, doctors are warning of a little-known but widespread condition that greatly increases the risk.

Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes someone more susceptible to many different kinds of cancer.

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Fox News Digital spoke with two experts about what people should know about this inherited condition.

CANCER PREVENTION IN THE ESOPHAGUS COULD BE JUST A PILL AWAY, DOCTOR SAYS: ‘TREMENDOUS BENEFIT’

Dr. Matthew Grossman, an interventional endoscopist and gastroenterologist with Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, explained the relationship between Lynch syndrome and human DNA.

“Think of DNA as a ladder,” he said. “Normally, errors in the rungs — called mismatches — are fixed by a repair system. In Lynch syndrome, this system is faulty, increasing the risk of mismatches.”

Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes someone more susceptible to many different kinds of cancer. (iStock)

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Because of the mismatch repair defect, a person with Lynch syndrome is much more likely to develop abnormalities and defects in cells, which eventually lead to cancer, he said.

“Lynch syndrome is a type of germline mutation, meaning it’s inherited genetically, versus a somatic mutation, which can happen spontaneously to only a few cells,” said Grossman.

DOCTORS TOLD WOMAN SHE WAS TOO YOUNG FOR A COLONOSCOPY. THEN SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH STAGE 3 COLON CANCER

Dr. Ajay Bansal, a gastroenterologist at KU Medical Center at the University of Kansas, emphasized that Lynch syndrome largely flies under the radar, as 95% of patients who have the condition don’t know about it.

“They are not aware that they are at increased risk for not only colon cancer, but also uterine, ovarian, stomach, small bowel, kidney, bladder and perhaps brain cancer,” he told Fox News Digital. “So it’s very underdiagnosed.”

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DNA testing

In healthy DNA, errors in the rungs — called mismatches — are fixed by a repair system. In Lynch syndrome, the repair system is faulty, increasing the risk of mismatches, a doctor explained. (iStock)

One of the reasons the syndrome often goes unnoticed is because it’s a “silent” condition, Bansal said. “It doesn’t cause any symptoms until you have cancer.”

The two main cancers tied to the syndrome are colon and colorectal cancer and cancer of the uterus.

“Lynch syndrome can result from four or five different mutations,” Bansal said. “Depending on the mutation, the type of cancer risk changes.”

COLORECTAL CANCER IS NOW LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG YOUNG ADULTS WITH CANCER: NEW REPORT

For example, for those who have a mutation in a gene called MLH1, the risk of getting colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime is 80%, Bansal warned.

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Among young-onset colorectal cancers, the doctor estimated that roughly 25% are a result of Lynch syndrome.

How is Lynch syndrome detected?

Lynch syndrome can be diagnosed by either a blood test or saliva test, Bansal said.

“If a patient has a family history of multiple colon cancers or multiple other cancers in the family, or if somebody in the family had colon cancer or uterine cancer under the age of 50, we recommend genetic testing to confirm the syndrome,” he said.

Man blood test

Lynch syndrome can be diagnosed through either a blood test or saliva test. (iStock)

Patients who fall into these categories are typically tested for Lynch between the ages of 18 to 25, the doctor said.

Universal genetic testing is not generally performed.

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“It’s not approved for the general population, mainly because of costs and insurance concerns,” Bansal noted.

CANCER RISK COULD INCREASE WITH CONSUMPTION OF CERTAIN FOODS AND DRINKS, STUDY FINDS

Before genetic testing was available, clinicians relied on the “3,2,1 criteria” for diagnosing Lynch syndrome, according to Grossman.

“For that criteria, if patients have three or more relatives with one of the affecting cancers on the same side of the family, and this is seen in two or more generations with at least one person under age 50, that is highly diagnostic of Lynch syndrome and they should discuss the condition with a doctor,” he said.

What happens if you’re diagnosed?

There is no treatment or “cure” for Lynch syndrome, as it’s caused by a genetic mutation. 

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Those who test positive should closely monitor themselves for the warning signs of cancer through regular screenings — especially colonoscopies, Bansal said.

Woman at doctor

Patients should talk to their primary care doctors about their family history, a doctor advised. (iStock)

In the general population, among people without Lynch syndrome, it is recommended to start colonoscopies at the age of 45. 

In patients with Lynch syndrome — especially those with more aggressive phenotypes and genotypes — Bansal recommended starting colonoscopies at the age of 25 and repeating them every one to two years.

“The idea here would be to monitor closely so we can prevent colon cancer by removing polyps or catching it at an early stage when we can treat it,” he said.

CANCER SCREENINGS: HERE ARE 5 TYPES AND CRITICAL INFORMATION TO KNOW ABOUT EACH

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Bansal, who specializes in studying vaccines for cancer prevention, is currently running a clinical trial for a new cancer vaccine. The participants are all people with Lynch syndrome.

“We felt that we had to do something to change the natural history of cancer in this high-risk population,” he told Fox News Digital.

In the trial, researchers are testing a combination of three vaccines that were initially created by a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. 

Lab testing

“If a patient has a family history of multiple colon cancers or multiple other cancers in the family, or if somebody in the family had colon cancer or uterine cancer under the age of 50, we recommend genetic testing to confirm the syndrome,” a doctor said. (iStock)

“These vaccines attack those cells in the colorectal area that express abnormal proteins, and then it can train the immune cells to get rid of those cells in the colon — and perhaps in other organs such as the stomach, small bowel, pancreas and uterus — before they turn into cancer or polyps.”

The first two safety phases of the trial have already been completed. 

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Next, the researchers will perform randomized controlled trials to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccines in keeping cancer at bay.

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If the trial is successful, Bansal said he envisions the vaccine extending to other types of cancers.

Bansal’s main advice to patients is to talk to their primary care doctors about their family history.

A doctor with a blue ribbon next to a colon cancer model

The two main cancers tied to the syndrome are colon and colorectal cancer and cancer of the uterus. (iStock)

“In medical care, everybody’s so busy that we don’t discuss family history enough,” he said. “Patients should ask their doctor about their family history of cancers and the possibility of genetic testing, which has become much cheaper than ever before.”

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Grossman agreed that it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with the genetic condition.

“Knowing you have Lynch syndrome allows for more frequent colonoscopies and additional cancer screenings that will help save lives,” he said. 

“This is a great example of how our increased knowledge of genetics has improved our clinical care.”

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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet on Feb. 29.

As of 2022, more than one billion people — 43% of adults — were living with obesity across the world, according to researchers from the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, a global network of health scientists.

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The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990. 

Among children between ages five and 19, the obesity rate has quadrupled, according to a press release from the World Health Organization (WHO).

OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY OVERDOSE CALLS HAVE SPIKED, EXPERTS SAY — HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT DANGEROUS DOSES

The researchers analyzed data from 3,663 population-based studies with 222 million participants, using different body mass index (BMI) measurements for adults, children and teens.

The data was collected between 1990 and 2022 across 200 countries and territories, according to the findings in The Lancet.

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Out of the 200 countries, the U.S. ranked 36th for obesity.

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early life to adulthood, through diet, physical activity and adequate care, as needed,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, in the release. 

OZEMPIC, THE HAPPY DRUG? STUDY SUGGESTS WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS COULD REDUCE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY

“Getting back on track to meet the global targets for curbing obesity will take the work of governments and communities, supported by evidence-based policies from WHO and national public health agencies,” he went on. 

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“Importantly, it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products.”

Man with obesity

The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990, researchers found, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said the world is in “big trouble” in terms of undernutrition and obesity. 

“In terms of undernutrition, it is a public health challenge in many places, including Asia and Africa, though overall rates have dropped,” Siegel, who was not involved in study, told Fox News Digital.

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain.”

“By comparison, obesity is exploding,” he added.

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A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to the doctor.

“In poor areas, this may be cost-related in part,” he said.

What can be done?

In cases where it’s not an economic issue, Siegel suggested countering obesity by increasing the intake of vegetables, fiber and fish and decreasing the consumption of alcohol, bread, pasta, rice and desserts.

obese child at doctor's

Among children between five and 19 years of age, the obesity rate has quadrupled since 1990, a new study found. (iStock)

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain,” said Siegel. “We should fight back by trying to use natural foods (farm to table) as much as possible.”

He also emphasized the importance of eating smaller portions, increasing water intake and exercising regularly to help reduce hunger and cravings.

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“We also have effective weight loss drugs — semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro and Zepbound) — but they should be reserved for those who are truly obese and have failed lifestyle modifications above,” Siegel said.

Older couple eating

A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to Dr. Siegel. (iStock)

“Diabetics must be first in line for these drugs as production shortages are overcome, followed by those most in need, but they can certainly make a difference in terms of improving insulin function, improving efficiency of glucose metabolism and decreasing hunger.”

Obesity is a primary driver of the leading causes of death, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Fox News Digital reached out to the study researchers for comment.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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