Daily Rounds: Unhealthy Sitting; DIY DNA Tests; Electronic Medical Pain; Grapefruit Bug Repellent

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? -
This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall. Hamilton’s most recent work has examined how rapidly inactivity can cause harm. (

Do-it-yourself DNA tests: Dangerous or a consumer right? -
After mailing a saliva sample to a lab, consumers can receive information about their genetic risk for a variety of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and several types of cancer. They can also get predictions about how well they would respond to more than a dozen types of drugs. The results can be difficult to interpret, and they may not be reliable. No medical experts need be involved. That has stirred controversy among doctors, geneticists, bioethicists and consumer advocates. Some believe that in bypassing health professionals, the tests are irresponsible at best and potentially dangerous at worst. Others feel that individuals who want their personal health-risk information should be able to get it, plain and simple. The Food and Drug Administration is weighing both sides as it mulls whether to regulate this fast-growing industry. (Los Angeles Times)

Medical News: Parents Likely to Request Gene Tests for Kids - in Pediatrics, General Pediatrics from MedPage Today
Parents appear comfortable with the idea of having their children genetically tested for adult diseases, researchers reported.A study of more than 200 parents revealed that they generally believed the benefits of pediatric genetic testing outweighed the risks and expressed moderate interest such testing, Kenneth Tercyak, PhD, of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, and colleagues reported in Pediatrics.

Electronic records a pain -
Kenealy, 51, one of three doctors in his specialty practice, doesn’t buy that the benefits outweigh the investment. He estimates he’ll have to hire two more employees to perform functions like blood-pressure screenings that he doesn’t currently do but that federal rules will require. After the new system is up and running by early 2012, Kenealy estimates he will have spent as much as $90,000 for the software alone, plus the time of inputting years worth of written data into the computer. A survey of 500 physicians by Athenahealth and medical networking site Sermo found that 7 percent fewer physicians than last year believe the financial benefits outweigh the costs, and 5 percent fewer said patient care benefits justify the investment. Sixty percent of docs said electronic records slow down patient care, up from 54 percent in 2010. (

Repelling Bugs With The Essence Of Grapefruit : NPR
Tick bites cause 30,000 Lyme disease infections every year. Mosquito-borne West Nile virus causes 600 potentially fatal brain infections a year. "People really dislike a lot of the repellents available now," Dolan says. "They don't like the odor they have, they don't like the greasy feel they give. And a lot of people are just concerned about putting man-made chemicals on their skin." That's why the CDC is pushing hard to develop a completely natural insect repellent made from a chemical called nootkatone, which is found in Alaska yellow cedar trees and citrus fruit. Dolan says nootkatone "is non-greasy, dries very quickly, and it has a very pleasant, citrus-y grapefruit odor to it." He recently demonstrated its effectiveness as a mosquito repellent – rubbing some on his hand and then sticking it into a cage containing 50 hungry mosquitoes. When he holds the treated hand near mosquitoes they try to get away in the opposite direction as fast as they can. (

More doctors gravitate toward boutique practice - The Boston Globe Concierge medicine is expanding as more doctors — and patients — tire of assembly-line primary care, opting for something more personal, and pricey.
But even a tiny number of doctors leaving traditional offices for boutique practices — out of thousands of primary care physicians — is enough to make some health care industry leaders nervous. They worry that more doctors will follow as insurers and government payers cut fees and hem in providers with regulations. And when even one doctor makes the switch, there are substantial side effects, leaving hundreds of patients to scramble for a new physician. (


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