Quantum Sufficit

Just Enough

Am Fam Physician. 1999 May 15;59(10):2705.

▪ Transplants using organs from “marginal” donors (those who are clinically unstable or over 45 years of age) may be more successful than transplants using organs from “normal” donors, according to results of a study in Transplantation that included 137 patients who received organ transplants between 1994 and 1998. The overall graft survival rate among these patients was 83 percent. However, the survival rate was 86 percent in a subset of patients who received organs from donors over 45 years of age and 86 percent in a subset of patients who received organs from clinically unstable donors.

▪ If physician-assisted suicide becomes legal in all states, will the elderly infirm feel obligated to die? According to Medicine & Health, in 1998, 15 persons in Oregon ended their lives under the Death With Dignity Act. A study by the state government found that assisted suicide was not forced on the terminally ill patients who were poor, uneducated, uninsured or fearful of the financial fallout of their illness. The patients who sought assisted suicide were more inclined to have never been married, to be concerned about losing control of body functions and loss of independence due to their illness, than other terminally ill patients who didn't seek physician-assisted suicide.

▪ A penny for your thoughts? Or maybe for a snack? Children have been harmlessly swallowing pennies for years. However, in 1982, the composition of the penny changed from mostly copper to zinc with a copper coating. If pennies made of zinc are swallowed, they can dissolve in the stomach and cause potentially serious problems. High zinc levels can cause anemia or even kidney, liver or bone-marrow damage. Children made more than 21,000 trips to the emergency room after swallowing one or more coins in 1997, reports the Medical Tribune.

▪ People who are genetically predisposed to obesity with an apple-shaped profile may be at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, reports the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In a study of 512 sedentary family members, researchers found that persons with genes that make them prone to accumulate deep, visceral belly fat (as opposed to outer layers of belly fat) tend to develop insulin resistance that may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. In the families studied, 21 percent of the factors that determine the likelihood of developing diabetes were inherited; in addition, 40 percent of the likelihood for developing deeper abdominal fat appeared to be genetic. One third of the genetic factors predisposing persons to insulin resistance also predisposed them to excess abdominal visceral fat.

▪ Chromium picolinate supplementation may be of little benefit in helping athletes lose body fat. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published a study of varsity wrestlers, 18 to 23 years of age, who supplemented their diet with chromium picolinate, placebo or nothing every day for 14 weeks, and who were on the same progressive strength training and cardiovascular program. Body mass evaluation and dietary analysis were done. Researchers concluded that athletes who were taking chromium picolinate during weight training were unable to significantly alter their percentage of body fat, lean body mass or total body weight. However, these conclusions conflict with the results of other studies performed in nonathletic persons, so further research is needed.


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