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Birth Weight and Diabetes linked

Black Americans born at low birth weight are at an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life, a study found.

Researchers at Boston University School of Public Health followed more than 21,000 women ages 21 to 69 who were enrolled in a large study of black women's health for 16 years. More than 2,300 of them developed Type 2 diabetes.

After controlling for age, family history of diabetes, weight, socioeconomic status and other factors, they found that girls born at 5.5 pounds or less were 13 percent more likely to be found to have Type 2 diabetes later in life, compared with babies born at normal weight.

Girls born at less than 3.3 pounds were 40 percent more likely to develop the disease, the researchers found. Their study appears in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

The link has been found in other populations, but black women have a higher frequency of low birth weight and a higher incidence of Type 2 diabetes than women in other ethnic groups. The authors suggest that low birth weight may lead to problems in lipid regulation and pancreatic function. There is also some evidence that low birth weight and diabetes share a genetic basis.

Surgery Of Little Help to Old Knees

Middle-aged and older patients are unlikely to benefit in the long term from surgery to repair tears in the meniscus, pads of cartilage in the knee, a review of studies has found.

Researchers at McMaster University combined data from seven randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving more than 800 subjects treated for meniscal tears with surgery, sham surgery or nonoperative care. The subjects' average age was 56.

In six of the trials, the surgery provided a significant improvement in short-term functioning. But the pooled data showed no significant difference in long-term functioning among patients. Nor did surgery provide short- or long-term pain relief.

Dr. Moin Khan, a research fellow at the university and lead author of the study, published in the Canadian Medical Journal, said that its conclusion does not pertain to an acute meniscus tear in a young person. That requires surgery.

But treatment with weight loss, anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy may be helpful for many patients.

Is surgery only help for bunions?

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a painful deformity that develops at the base of the big toe. Bunions are caused when the big toe pushes and bends inward toward the other toes. This displaces the bones of the joint, causing it to protrude.

Some people inherit feet that are more susceptible due to their shape and structure — having flat feet for instance. But bunions can be made worse by the wrong shoe, or by carrying extra weight, or prolonged periods of standing or walking.

Dr. James Ioli, chief of podiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said wearing the correct shoe size is a good first step in prevention. Unfortunately, nonsurgical options don't help to reduce the size or reverse the development of a bunion, said Ioli. But nonsurgical treatments can reduce the pain or discomfort.

Shoe pads, massages, stretching, splints, anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes steroid injections may also help.

New York Times