US diabetes may have reached a plateau

After years of substantial increases, rates of diabetes may be plateauing in the U.S…

Although incidence and prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes both rose between 1990 and 2008, trends have been flat through 2012, reported Linda Geiss, MA, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trend may be related to a recent slowing in obesity rates, the researchers suggested…

For their study, Geiss and colleagues looked at diabetes data (type 1 and type 2 combined) from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) on 664,969 adults, ages 20 to 79.

They saw that the annual percentage change in incidence and prevalence of diabetes didn’t change significantly during the 1980s, but it rose sharply each year between 1990-2008.

However, diabetes prevalence continued to grow among patients with a high school education or less, and incidence rates are still rising in Hispanics and blacks, they found…

“This threatens to exacerbate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in diabetes prevalence and incidence,” they wrote.

Increases in incidence and prevalence seen in the 90s and early 2000s were likely tied to several factors, the researchers said, including improved rates of survival, growth of minority populations at higher risk, enhanced case detection, changes in diabetes diagnostic criteria, and increased environmental and behavioral risk factors such as sedentary lifestyle and obesity.

Reasons for the slowing of that trend are difficult to determine from cross-sectional surveillance data, they noted, although the findings could have something to do with recent changes in obesity prevalence. Studies have shown that obesity rates have been stalling, with no change in obesity prevalence in adults since 2003-2004.

The slowing in both obesity and diabetes trends is in line with declines in overall caloric intake, food purchases, and energy intake…

They cautioned that the decline doesn’t mean physicians should get too comfortable when it comes to preventing and treating diabetes.

“In light of the well-known excess risk of amputation, blindness, end-stage renal disease, disability, mortality and healthcare costs associated with diabetes,” they wrote, “the doubling of diabetes incidence and prevalence ensures that diabetes will remain a major public health problem that demands effective prevention and management programs.”

Nice to have my cynicism answered, corrected – feeding optimism for the potential for our species. I joke about human beings having a redirective capacity – to learn and correct mistakes – just not in my lifetime.

But, over this reasonably long span [so far] I’ve seen exercise increase and improve and understanding of healthful nutrition get a foothold. Consumption of abusively harmful products like alcohol are slightly diminished, cigarettes cut way back from my childhood days. Mutual understanding of sexuality has bright beginnings outside the chainlink fence of fundamentalist religions. And, now, the twin disasters of obesity and diabetes seem at least to have halted what felt like runaway growth.

Most Americans would flunk high school civics

Daddy DUH

A new poll released Wednesday by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found many Americans don’t know how the government works.

The poll showed only 36% of Americans could name all three branches of the government and 35% couldn’t name any of them. It also found over 60% of Americans don’t know which political party controls the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

In a statement accompanying the poll, Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson argued it proves the need for better educational programs.

“Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government,” Hall Jamieson said. “This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education.”

Additionally, the poll showed many people do not know basic facts about how the US government functions. It found that over 70% of Americans don’t know a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate is required to override a presidential veto and that 21% of people think a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for a final decision.

Tears are allowed.

Certainly, this proves why Republicans are smugly predicting a stronger position in Congress after the mid-term election. They’re assured of endless funds for TV adverts on so-called reality TV shows. Most Americans are liable to find both equally believable.

This also explains the consistency in today’s conservatives loudly proclaiming support for education – while doing everything possible to impede any chance of the average American knowing squat about anything.

Thanks to Mike for stoking my cynicism.

Holding hands for 700 years

Two skeletons were found holding hands after being excavated from a lost chapel in the small English village of Hallaton.

They were found in a grave together with their hands intertwined by a team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS). The lead on the project, Vicki Score, said the two were placed in that position as the grave was large enough for the two to be separated…

In addition to the couple, 11 skeletons have been discovered. Some of the findings include a 46-year-old man who was struck on the head with a pole or an axe, and a man in his mid-20s who showed signs of physical trauma during the first nine years of his life.

The remains of English King Richard III were found in the same county underneath a parking lot in 2012. A recent study revealed how the 15th-century monarch died in battle.

Romantic love wasn’t always common in the “good old days”. It still speaks well to those who believe in love.