Your healthcare news library

Archive for August 8, 2012

健康饮食能提高儿童智商

来自澳大利亚的一项新研究称,在儿童早期喂养健康饮食,可以提高他们的智力水平。

儿童吃什么类型的食物,健康食物或垃圾食物会影响孩子的智商水平。

研究涉及约7千名儿童,分析了他们的饮食行为。在他们6个月,15个月,2岁的时候对他们的饮食习惯进行监测,最后当这些孩子成长到8岁的时候对他们进行智商测验。     研究人员发现,刚出生几个月喝母乳,吃健康水果,蔬菜和豆类的婴儿,在智商测验中比其他同龄孩子高两分。

据研究人员介绍,孩子早期应该少吃巧克力,因为那些饮食中涉及“饼干,巧克力,糖果,汽水和薯条”的儿童在智商测验中得分比较低。

专家提醒,直到婴儿6个月大时,要一直母乳喂养,在他们第一年的成长期,不建议喂食婴儿营养食品。

来自澳大利亚阿德莱德大学的莉萨史密瑟斯博士,在新闻发布会上说,“我们同样发现给6个月大的婴儿喂食制作好的婴儿营养食品会对智商产生负面影响,但在婴儿24个月的时候喂食却能带来积极作用。”去年公布的一项相关研究也说,摄入婴儿食品会影响儿童的智商。婴儿脑部扫描同样显示这些早期营养对大脑的影响,尤其是男性的影响更明显。

研究人员说,饮食习惯和智商有关,家长必须注意怎么喂养孩子。

史密瑟斯说,“虽然智商测试中的差异并不是很大,但该研究还是提供了一些强有力的数据证明,6个月到24个月之间的饮食习惯,会明显影响孩子的智商,尤其在孩子8岁的时候。”她又补充说,“重要的是,我们认为早期给孩子喂食什么,对孩子会造成长期影响。”

研究结果发表在一份欧洲杂志《流行病学》上。

医药日报发布

Young and diabetic

nothing
Diabetic Shaun Lawrence, 32, has lost about 40kg to manage his condition, which affects 11.3 per cent of Singapore’s population. Photo by ERNEST CHUA
SINGAPORE – Many young adults lose weight to look good or snare a date. But, for 32-year-old Shaun Lawrence (picture), his life depended on it.

At the age of 19, Mr Lawrence discovered he had diabetes during his National Service pre-enlistment health check.

Despite having to pop pills every few hours to keep his condition under control, he did not take his illness seriously and continued consuming five heavy meals and several cans of soft drinks a day.

“At that point, it didn’t hit me that diabetes was for life. I didn’t take it seriously, even though my parents were shocked that I got diabetes at such a young age,” said the operations executive, who once tipped the scales at 117kg.

Singapore has one of the highest rates of diabetes among developed nations. Fast becoming a global epidemic, diabetes affects about 11.3 per cent of the world population.

About nine in 10 diabetics here suffer from Type-2 diabetes, which was traditionally named Adult-Onset Diabetes as it affects only adults, said Dr Tham Kwang Wei, Director of the Obesity and Metabolic Unit at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

Experts like Dr Tham are concerned about the growing number of teenagers and younger adults who are diagnosed with the condition that affects mostly those above the age of 40.

Just eight years ago, diabetes affected only 0.5 per cent of those aged 18 to 29 years, according to the 2004 National Health Survey.

By 2010, the figure had doubled to 1 per cent.

Among 30-something adults, diabetes statistics have similarly jumped from 2.4 per cent in 2004 to 4.3 per cent in 2010.

These figures may be under-representative of the actual situation, said Dr Tham, who spoke on the topic at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress on Saturday. This is because more than half of those with diabetes go about their daily lives undiagnosed as symptoms can go unnoticed in the early stages.

Dr Tham, whose youngest diabetes patient is a 16-year-old, said that one in 10 of her patients is under 40 years old.

Obesity the main culprit

Dr Tham noted that, in 2004 to 2010 when diabetes rates spiked, there was a dramatic increase in national obesity rates. Excess weight messes up your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.

“Another factor is physical inactivity,” she added.

“The majority of Singaporeans are rather physically inactive, especially when they have sedentary jobs and the convenience of modern transportation.

“Many commercially available foods are also calorie-dense and highly processed with a lack of fibre in our diet.

“All these factors lead to higher risk of obesity which in turn increases one’s risk of diabetes,” Dr Tham said.

Other lifestyle factors include stress, as well as the lack or poor quality of sleep, which are common among Singaporeans.

Dr Shanker Pasupathy, Senior Consultant of Bariatric/Metabolic and Vascular Surgery, Department of General Surgery at SGH, explained that the excess “fat mass” in overweight and obese people is the main driver for insulin resistance.

Explaining how Type-2 diabetes develops in those who are overweight, he said: “The body (specifically the beta cells in the pancreas) needs to produce more and more insulin in order to effectively lower the blood sugar level after a meal.

“This leads to a ‘burnout’ of the beta cells and, therefore, insulin levels fall, resulting in high circulating blood sugar levels.”

Chronically high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and tissues, leading to severe and permanent complications such as heart failure, stroke, nerve, kidney and foot damage, Dr Tham warned.

Complications at an earlier age

There are also concerns that these potentially severe problems could occur in younger patients.

“The younger a person is at the onset of diabetes, the longer he (or she) will be exposed to (its) ill effects.

“About half of patients who have a heart attack have diabetes. This is an alarming association,” said Dr Tham.

She noted that younger patients tend not to treat their conditions seriously, since many do not experience symptoms until it is too late and have other priorities like careers and family on their minds.

For Mr Lawrence, the reality of his illness only sunk in three years ago, when his doctor told him that he had exhausted all oral medication options. If he continued with his unhealthy lifestyle, he would soon require daily insulin jabs.

Last year, he underwent a gastric bypass procedure to keep his weight under control. Since then, Mr Lawrence has shaved off about 40kg off his hefty frame and has turned his lifestyle around.

According to Dr Shanker, recent clinical trials show that there is approximately an 80-per-cent chance that diabetes may be reversed after a gastric bypass.

Although he still takes multiple meals a day, Mr Lawrence’s portions are a fraction of what he used to eat.

“I’ve also totally weaned off soft drinks. Now I’m totally off the medications I was taking for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

“All of my friends and family are happy to see the positive change in me,” he said.

IHH Healthcare makes global impact

IHH Healthcare makes global impact and is 2nd largest in the world by market capitalisation

WHILE IHH Healthcare Bhd recently made news because of the size of its July flotation and the fact that it was dual-listed, the story tracing the journey of the creation of this gigantic hospital group is just as riveting.

Here’s why.

IHH, created and owned by the Government’s investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd, is today the world’s second-largest hospital group by market capitalisation. It is only second to US group Hospital Corp of America (HCA) whose operations are largely within the confines of the US market.

As such Malaysian-owned IHH is today, the largest hospital group, outside the United States.

Clearly, a lot of planning and astute execution had gone into the creation of IHH. Growing so big organically within that space of time would have been next to impossible, say industry observers.

What some analysts also reckon is that it will be very challenging to repeat this feat.

“Any other group seeking to have so many bolt-on acquisitions in such a span of time may find it challenging due to issues such as pricing and the availability of assets to be acquired,” says one analyst.

IHH today has over 4,900 licensed beds in 30 hospitals across eight countries.

Its dual listing on Bursa Malaysia and Singapore Exchange was the world’s third largest this year with some RM5.13bil raised.

As far back as in 2005, Khazanah had identified healthcare as a core investment sector. That year marked Khazanah’s first foray into healthcare when it bought a 13.2% stake in India’s largest private hospital group, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise.

It was bought for RM165mil cash and back then, Apollo was already present in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Ghana, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

On Aug 28, 2006, Khazanah emerged as a substantial shareholder of Pantai Holdings Bhd and soon owns 100% of the Malaysian hospital group.

In 2007, Khazanah acquired IMU Health Sdn Bhd, which runs the private medical university.

Khazanah then noted that the acquisition of IMU addressed a strategic national objective in terms of the training of high quality medical personnel in Malaysia, particularly doctors and nurses.

The education institution later expanded via an acquisition of a nursing training centre, Pantai College, in April 2012.

Also in 2006, Khazanah bought a 23.2% stake in Singapore-listed Parkway Holdings Ltd, which made it the largest shareholder. Khazanah took Parkway off the market in 2010 after paying S$3.5bil (RM8.6bil) for the 76.1% it did not own. It fought a tough corporate battle against the Fortis Healthcare group in Singapore.

Later Khazanah took out the concession assets in Pantai and injected the remaining 60% into IHH. It also injected 100% of IMU and 13% in Apollo Hospital Group of India into IHH.

In February last year, Khazanah divested 30% of IHH to Mitsui Co Ltd. Mitsui paid RM3.3bil for its stake.

After having control of Malaysia and Singapore’s premium healthcare providers, the sovereign fund continued to expand to south-eastern Europe. This year, IHH acquired a 75% stake in Acibadem for RM3.7bil. Acibadem is Turkey’s largest private healthcare provider with a network of 14 hospitals across Turkey and Macedonia.

IHH, through its subsidiaries, also has healthcare operations and investments in China, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Brunei.

In a previous interview with StarBiz, IHH managing director Dr Lim Cheok Peng said that the rich valuation for IHH was justified as the healthcare provider group had strong earnings and market growth prospects over the next five years.

Lim reiterated that in the pipeline were more than 3,300 new beds to be delivered and 17 hospital developments, which would be completed by end-2016.

So as the IHH journey continues, it should be regarded as one of the more significant home-grown creations whose wide coverage puts in the league of global players.

The Star

Tag Cloud