What Are the Medical Journals Saying?
Watch out for a slew of new marketing to appear on TV and in magazines this summer, advertising GlaxoSmithKline's weight loss product Xenical as it hits the shelf for over-the-counter use in the U.S. This drug, at twice the strength, was previously by prescription only. It will now be called alli (pronounced al-eye). Taken at meal time, alli works by blocking about 25% of the fat in the food a person eats. Unfortunately, it only works in conjunction with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet containing about 15 grams of fat per meal. If more fat is eaten, the nasty side effect can be an urgent need to use the bathroom with diarrhea and fatty bowel movements. It is also important to take a multivitamin once a day at bedtime because alli can reduce the absorption of some vitamins. I wouldn't be surprised if it appears to be a miracle fat blocker. The real weight loss comes from the low fat,reduced calorie part of the deal but it is safe and may act as a type of "biofeedback" if the user is eating too much fat.
Religion and Doctors Decisions
A U.S. study finds religion and conscience often affect decisions physicians make in telling patients about morally controversial medical treatment. The study suggests many physicians feel no obligation to inform their patients of such treatments or even to refer them to doctors who do not object to such procedures. The medical profession appears to be divided in its attitude about terminal sedation, abortion, birth control for teens and other procedures. The study found although 86% of doctors surveyed felt obliged to present all options in such cases, only 71% said they would feel obligated to refer the patient to a doctor who did not object to the requested procedure. Sixty three percent of physicians believed it is ethically permissible for a doctor to describe his or her objection to the patient.
New England Journal of Medicine
Breast feeding has long term benefits for visual development in babies. The British team studied 78 previously breast-fed and 184 previously formula fed children ages 4-6 years who were followed prospectively from birth. Based on random dot E tests, the breast-fed children had greater visual acuity than did the formula-fed kids. Even adding DHA (certain omega 3 fatty acids) to the formula did not alter the benefits of breast feeding. The mechanisms involved are unknown.
Am Journal Clinical Nutrition