Belly Fat, Toxic Tattoos and Other News of the Week

Health and medical picks from around the Web

Tattoo Artist

Here is this week’s round-up of stories from around the Web featuring Cleveland Clinic experts that we know you won’t want to miss.

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Expanding waistlines

There was good news and bad news this week on the obesity front. While overall body-mass index numbers haven’t changed in the United States in the last decade, our waistlines are still spreading. So we may not be getting heavier, but we’re gaining the weight in the worst place: our bellies. Abdominal fat poses health dangers – it releases at least 80 different chemicals and hormones that promote diabetes, inflammation and lipid changes. Abdominal fat also increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. What to do? Tweak your diet and make sure you are active. Belly fat: 3 science-approved ways to trim an inch (TODAY.com).

Contaminated ink

The FDA has a warning for anyone who’s thinking about getting a tattoo: watch out for bad ink. Some inks are contaminated with an infection-causing bacterium. FDA researchers became aware of the ink problem after testing kits designed for at-home use, but says said even ink from a professional tattoo parlor could cause a problem. An infection caused by contaminated ink, or a contaminated needle can cause any number of skin reactions. There are other risks of infection, too. Health care professionals are receiving reports of hepatitis C being transmitted through needles that are used on more than one tattoo customer. FDA warns of dangerous tattoo ink (WCFT-TV).

Big data for better decisions

Physicians have long relied on a range of resources such as medical literature, research, experience and instinct, to inform their patients about the projected outcomes of treatments and procedures. But these resources don’t take into account a patient’s unique characteristics, such as age, gender, race, extent and type of disease and other health factors.  Enter Big Data. Using a simple calculator, doctors and patients are crunching big data together to help the patients make informed medical decisions. Medical Calculators Use Big Data to Help Patients Make Choices (WSJ.com).

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Generic drug for MS

A generic version of a popular drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been found to be safe and effective— which may set precedent for generic drug development for MS patients. The double-blind trial compared the popular MS drug with a generic version. In both treatment groups, a comparable number of patients were free from disease activity and the disability was stable. Currently, there are no generic drugs available for patients with MS. The findings are significant because drug costs are a sizable portion of the cost of MS care. The hope is that these generics would provide alternatives that are equally safe and effective, but at a lower cost to payers and patients. Researchers see success in trial for first generic MS drug, paving way for more development (Foxnews.com).

Baldness and cancer risk

The latest study to suggest a link between male pattern baldness and prostate cancer shows men who experience moderate male pattern baldness by age 45 have an increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer later in life, compared to men who were not bald.  The study indicates a 40 percent increased risk of the most serious type of prostate cancer in men with baldness at front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head. Other patterns of baldness, which affect only a small area of the crown or hair loss that results in near total-baldness, showed no link to prostate cancer. Baldness and prostate cancer: latest study offers more evidence to link the two conditions (cleveland.com).

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