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Archive for March, 2013

Linguine with Clams and Fennel

Linguine with Clams and Fennel


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds and more for garnish
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 pounds small clams (such as Manila) or cockles, scrubbed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) fennel pollen or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground in a spice mill


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  • Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in another large heavy pot over medium heat. Add chopped fennel and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 2–3 minutes. Add wine, then clams. Increase heat to high. Cover and cook until clams open, 4–7 minutes, depending on size of clams. As clams open, use tongs to transfer them to a large bowl (discard any that do not open).
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to clam juices in pot; bring to a boil. Add pasta to pot. Cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and has soaked up some of the sauce, 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add clams with any juices from bowl and 2 Tbsp. fennel fronds; toss to combine, adding more pasta liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.
  • Divide among bowls. Drizzle with oil; garnish with fennel fronds and fennel pollen.

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Inkwell for Dropbox – A Simple Text Editing, Notes & Writing App

Inkwell  for Dropbox - A Simple Text Editing, Notes & Writing App by Matt Schrage icon

Inkwell for Dropbox – A Simple Text Editing, Notes & Writing App (Free) by Matt Schrage is a simplistic text editor for your iPad that will help you focus on writing.As a writer here at AppAdvice, I can assure you that I have gone through my fair share of writing apps, as evident by my writing app showdown from last year. While I’m always on the lookout for new apps, I can’t seem to stray off from Byword from my iOS devices as well as my Mac. But I’m definitely more than happy to give new apps a try and see if they’re any good for others. So how does Inkwell for iPad stack up? Let’s find out.

Inkwell  for Dropbox - A Simple Text Editing, Notes & Writing App by Matt Schrage screenshot
First, you are greeted immediately with a brief little tutorial of how the use the app. Inkwell is primarily gesture based, which should make writing on your iPad just a bit easier. If you swipe left, you’ll be selecting text. A swipe right will paste text. While some text is selected, swiping left will delete it, swiping right will copy, and a pinch will cut the text out. Pretty simple stuff, right? As I normally don’t use gestures do these tasks when I write, it will definitely take some time to get used to, but I do like the concept. Of course, if you are using a physical keyboard with your iPad, then it may get a bit tiring to constantly reach from the keyboard to the screen multiple times.In order to use Inkwell, you will need a Dropbox account. Unfortunately, there is no workaround for this, as it is a requirement of the app. So if you are currently using another cloud storage service for your files, then you will need to either use Dropbox just for this app (a 2GB account is free when yousign up), or you can’t use it at all. I hope that the developer considers different syncing options in the future, or at least allow local use without any cloud storage service.

For those who do use Dropbox, Inkwell will create a new folder named “Inkwell” in your main Dropbox folder. This is nice if you end up only using Inkwell for writing, but if you’re like me, and have a lot of other documents in your Dropbox, then you’ll probably need the /Dropbox root folder access. I hope that the developer considers adding this in the future.

Inkwell has a sample document ready for new users, which will talk about how to use the app. When you’re ready to add your own document, you can just tap on the + button in the top, and a clean new sheet will be ready for you. The title of the plain text file (.txt) can be changed by tapping on the header bar, and then you can tap anywhere on the body to start writing. Inkwell can be used for anything from quick note-taking to article writing to your next big novel.

A nifty feature of Inkwell is the ability to quickly add indents if you are starting a new paragraph. As you create new line breaks, you will notice a small, translucent arrow button pop up in the left margin. Tapping it will allow you to indent the paragraph, or you can tap it again to decrease the indent.

If you want to view your other documents to switch to them, tap on the button at the top of the screen (scrolling required if you have a lot of text since it’s not static) that resembles a sheet of paper. This reveals the document tray, where you can scroll through all of your text files so far and create a new one. There is also the option to email the document’s text, or you can choose to open the file in another third-party app that supports it.

Inkwell  for Dropbox - A Simple Text Editing, Notes & Writing App by Matt Schrage screenshot
While Inkwell is good at being a simple writing app, I need more features before I could use this on a daily basis. First, the font is probably too small for a lot of people (even me), and there is no way to change the font size to something a tad bigger, nor are there other font options. Second, there are no keyboard extensions in this app – for an app that is geared for writing, I would have expected an additional row for at least some commonly used punctuation. Third, there’s no TextExpander support, which is a shame. I have a lot of snippets that I use for shortcuts to common phrases, words, or special characters in my TextExpander file, and I need access to them daily while I write. Not supporting this is a big hindrance for me.

And the biggest flaw for me is the fact that there is no Markdown syntaxsupport. As I am constantly writing for the site, and need to include links and other emphasis on text, I was incredibly disappointed that Markdown is not supported. Since the app is touted as “providing the best writing experience on the iPad,” I would have expected such a feature to be included by default. I hope that the developer does change this in the future.

The final thing that should be changed is the Dropbox requirement. Not everyone uses Dropbox (believe it or not), and it should not be forced upon them (same with all of those apps that use Facebook Connect). There should definitely be support for other cloud storage services, or at least the option to use iCloud or just local storage for files.

I really wanted to like Inkwell, but in the current state, it does not suit my needs. However, that’s probably because I have a lot of demands for such an app, since I write for a living. For someone else who just wants a simple little app that allows them to quickly write, then this could be it.

Since Inkwell is available for free for a limited time, I recommend grabbing it and giving it a try yourself.

The high cost of cheap milk

A shopper browses the milk section at a Woolworths Ltd. supermarket in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. Woolworths Ltd., Australia's biggest retailer, is expected to announce full-year earnings tomorrow. Photographer: Ian Waldie/BloombergWoolworths shared in the criticism that Coles copped for starting the price war but is attempting to differentiate its approach. Photo: Bloomberg

The photo ops don’t get much friendlier than the cow sheds at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, and Woolworths was playing it for all it was worth this week, when it announced plans to buy direct from a group of NSW dairy farmers in order to give them a ”better deal for their milk”.

For the first time, milk processors such as Parmalat will not be the intermediary between supermarkets and dairy farmers when it comes to fresh milk supply, with the implicit promise that it will benefit the industry.

Never mind that Woolworths, Australia’s largest supermarket operator, sells the $1-a-litre milk many have said imperils Australia’s dairy folk.

 A sign on a dairy farm near Nowra, NSW, criticises Coles supermarkets. Coles and Woolworths $1 a litre milk campaign has been attacked by farmers who say they are the ones paying the price generic. Photo Andrew Burke A sign on a dairy farm criticises Cole. Photo: Andrew Burke

Woolworths, which has portrayed itself as a reluctant participant in this particular battle with its arch-rival Coles, appears to concede it is part of the problem.


”There is no doubt there are a variety of significant issues affecting different parts of Australia’s dairy industry,” Woolworths fresh food chief Pat McEntee says. ”No one factor – whether it be the impact of $1 milk, or a tough export market exacerbated by a high Australian dollar – is solely responsible for the state of the industry.”

The announcement is being interpreted as an attempt to finally put some daylight between Woolworths and Coles over the price wars its smaller rival ignited more than two years ago.

It is no surprise Woolworths has attempted to break ranks with Coles. While its image has received an equal tarnishing from concerns over what the cheap milk is doing to Australian dairy farmers, cheap milk has not been as beneficial for Woolies as it has been for Coles.

At the peak of the price wars in 2011, more than 72 per cent of the milk sold in Coles supermarkets was its $1-a-litre private label offering.

Coles increased its private label sales by 64 million litres in the two years following its price cuts, which means it captured most of the growth in white milk sales.

Data from industry sales tracker Aztec shows sales of fresh milk across all supermarkets, corner shops and convenience stores only grew by 100 million litres over that same period.

Woolworths still holds a sizeable lead for overall milk sales, selling 498 million litres last year compared to Coles’ 424 million litres. These figures include sales of milk brands such as the Lion-owned Pura, Dairy Farmers and Parmalat’s brand, Pauls.

But despite matching the Coles price cuts, Woolworths – the market leader – paid the price of being the follower, adding just 10 million litres of private label sales over the period.

This means Woolworths did not get the volume increase needed to offset the price cuts to its private label milk – but it is not alone in that regard.

Aztec data shows that in 2011, the first year of the price war, Coles’ overall milk sales – including sales of milk brands such as Pauls and Pura – were up 11 per cent by volume but down 2 per cent by value.

Woolworths’ overall volumes increased 3.7 per cent and its value of sales declined 3 per cent.

Despite volume share peaking at more than 72 per cent, Coles’ private label share of the milk sales dollar peaked at just above 56 per cent in late 2011 and fell to 50.7 per cent in the three months to February 17 this year – almost where it was before the milk wars began, although its volumes would have been much higher.

Woolworths’ private label share by value of sales barely increased from the 50.3 per cent it had before the price war and the paltry volume gains meant it fell to 44.6 per cent late last year as brands such as Dairy Farmers, Pauls and Pura regained market share and super brands such as A2 powered ahead.

Regaining lost ground at Coles has been a lot harder, with the Wesfarmers-owned supermarket operator holding the volume gains made by its private label offering.

The fresh milk retail sector as a whole has not fully recovered, revenue-wise, from the price war either.

”The price drop inevitably had a downward effect on value sales,” Nielsen’s retail head Kosta Conomos says. ”It has taken two years for the milk category to almost get back to similar value sales seen in 2010.”

The volume gains came from somewhere, and not much of it was people buying more fresh white milk. As a product, fresh milk is relatively inelastic: people don’t buy more just because it is cheap, and sales growth tends to reflect population growth.

For the most part, consumers have changed channels, buying more of their milk from the major supermarkets and less from independent supermarkets, convenience stores and the corner shop.

Aside from the sledgehammer impact of Coles wanting to embed its message of low-priced groceries, this was the intended effect.

Conomos says Nielsen data showed Coles, as the catalyst for the $1 milk price point, ”captured significant incremental share within the category as shoppers intentionally moved away from non-major supermarket chains when purchasing milk”.

By deeply discounting perishable items such as milk, which people need to shop for more regularly, Coles and Woolies have attracted a pool of shoppers that would normally have gone to convenience stores and ensured they spend more time at the supermarkets.

While the major supermarkets do benefit from cheap milk, the same cannot be said for Australia’s milk processors, which have their brands to protect, yet have cut their own throats providing low-margin private-label milk for Coles and Woolworths.

On the day Woolworths announced its farmer-direct initiative, New Zealand dairy co-op Fonterra announced plans to slash its consumer brands and jobs in Australia to restore profitability as competition intensifies for milk supply and retail sales.

Fonterra says earnings from its Australian consumer brands fell 31 per cent for the first half of its financial year.

”There’s a new reality in Australia,” says chief executive Theo Spierings, with Fonterra facing ”aggressive competition” in milk supply and a retail price war in Australia.

It has no option other than to strip out costs.

”That’s why we have to rationalise brands, rationalise our organisation,” he says.

Fonterra has 21 brands in Australia, which has room for a maximum four or five, he says.

The woes of Australia’s milk processor Lion have been well documented.

Lion’s total white milk volume across branded and private label was down 14.5 per cent for the year to September last year.

Before his departure, Lion’s then chief Rob Murray said the milk portion of its dairy business was in a terrible state and not too dissimilar to the profitability profile of a charity, thanks to Coles and Woolworths and private label milk.

”We don’t make any money [on milk],” Murray said. ”The simple truth of that is nobody is making money and you can’t make money if [consumers] buy milk at $1 a litre.”

The problem for Lion was not just the loss of sales from its higher margin brands such as Pura and Dairy Farmers to the cheap private label products it sold to Coles and Woolworths. It was also hit by the migration of milk sales from other channels, where margins are higher, to the major supermarkets.

But Woolworths’ latest manoeuvre may also reflect the fact the tide has started to turn on cheap private label milk.

Woolworths’ private label milk sales went from 307 million litres for the 2010 calendar year to 324.6 million in 2011 and declined to 316 million last year.

Milk brands such as Pauls and Dairy Farmers have started to claw back market share with their permeate-free milk at both major supermarkets, according to the industry body for dairy farmers, Dairy Australia.

”Aztec supermarket scan data to December shows branded milk has recovered supermarket sales share, to close to pre $1-per-litre milk campaign levels,” Dairy Australia says in a recent market update.

”This has coincided with the introduction of branded permeate-free product lines and increased promotional activity.”

But a clearer picture of where things are headed might be provided by market darling A2, which has doubled the value of its sales over the past two years to 6.9 per cent of the grocery sector.

At the opening of A2’s NSW plant last year, Michael Perich, who runs the dairy at one of its main suppliers in Australia, the Leppington Pastoral Company, says the milk discounting wars may have had an unexpected effect in focusing public attention on those brands offering a point of difference. He says this is why A2 is thriving – ”the price wars have actually helped that because consumers have seen the point of difference”.

Dairy Australia names provenance as another issue, which appears to be reflected in this week’s initiative by Woolworths.

”Interest in greater provenance is also likely to have some bearing on new supply and marketing arrangements for fresh drinking milk,” the industry body says in its report.

Coles says it is ahead of the game on this front as well. It already partners directly with farmer-owned groups across Australia with offerings such as the Great Ocean Road brand of milk and cheese by Warrnambool Cheese & Butter. In NSW, it works closely with Bega Cheese and Norco; in Western Australia, it has Harvey Fresh, and it has Tamar Valley Dairy in Tasmania.

”Coles is continuing to look at opportunities to grow our milk, cheese and yoghurt business direct with farmer-owned groups,” it says.

This may not be of much help for Parmalat and Lion, which are still struggling with increased costs from going permeate-free, higher spending on marketing to get on the front foot with consumers, and lower sales of fresh milk.

Permeate – a watery, greenish waste product from the production of cheese – was added to milk to cut costs until Fairfax Media revealed the practice last year.

Internal documents from Lion’s subsidiary National Foods – which makes Pura, Big M, Dairy Farmers and supplies Woolworths and Coles brand milk – revealed $23,000 could be saved by adding 16 per cent permeate to the production of 350,000 litres of whole milk.

This shaves almost 16 per cent of the cost off the price of production, and does not have to be disclosed on the label.

This cost saving is now gone for Lion, Parmalat and the supermarket giants, which have also ensured all private label offerings are permeate free.

”Increased sales volumes have not offset the decline in the average fresh white milk supermarket retail price,” Dairy Australia says, adding the impact of the supermarket home brands going permeate free has yet to be felt.


No squeeze on profits at dairy’s success story

Not everyone has been a loser in the milk wars. A2 Corporation has sidestepped the industry carnage and doubled the market share of its milk, in dollar terms, across Australia’s supermarkets over the past two years in the face of price cuts by all its major rivals.

The A2 pitch is built on the A2 beta-casein protein which, it says, ”may assist with your digestive well-being”.

The protein is found in the milk of certain dairy cows. The A2 company started identifying these cows with genetic tests and milking them separately to offer consumers milk consisting of the A2 protein rather than A1.

The health claims around this protein have acted as the cornerstone of the milk’s appeal and led to massive growth despite the product being priced at a significant premium to the competition.

”We would say A2 is the only brand that has genuinely differentiated positioning compared to other brands and private label,” said the head of its Australian business, Peter Nathan.

The New Zealand company has grown so strongly it invested $15 million in a processing plant near Camden, south-west of Sydney, last year to meet growing demand for its dairy products.

”Milk brands that are communicating apparent health benefits, such as A2 – which have more than doubled value share in the past two years – show that shoppers will pay a premium when making product selections to suit their wants and desires,” said Kosta Conomos, the head of Nielsen’s retail industry group.

Mr Nathan said the company’s fast growth had not been impeded by the significant marketing spend of the major milk vendors, which have gone permeate free.

”If that was the reason for our growth, that would have hit us very badly,” Mr Nathan said.

”Our growth has accelerated even during the time that brands have taken out permeate.”

Read more:

Do drugs really have to be so expensive?

Pills decorated with Euro notes

A liver cancer treatment is off-limits in the NHS due to its unjustifiably high price tag, but in India the same treatment is available for less than £100 a month.

In this week’s Scrubbing Up, Michelle Childs, of Médecins Sans Frontières, questions why wealthy nations are not doing more to drive down medicine costs.

Sorafenib tosylate is a drug for liver cancer patented by German pharmaceutical company Bayer and marketed as Nexavar.

Bayer priced the drug at nearly £3,500 per month.

Until March last year, India – a country where half the population live on less than £1 per day – had no choice but to pay this sum for patented Nexavar.

But to ensure its citizens had affordable access, the country has since granted a compulsory licence clause that cuts the cost of the drug by allowing another company to manufacture the therapy, even though it is still under patent.

People in the UK today should be asking, “Why are these drug prices so high?””

Michelle ChildsDirector of Policy and Advocacy at MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines

This has slashed the price of the drug by an astounding 97% – generic versions of sorafenib in India cost around £84 per month.

In the UK, where an affordable generic version isn’t available, the price is around £3,000 per month, which drug regulators say is “simply too high” to justify making it available on the NHS.

Indeed, the watchdog NICE (National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence) rejected Nexavar for NHS use based on its cost-benefit calculation.

The reaction in the UK to this decision was swift and censorious. Health charities – including the heads of Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Liver Trust – cancer patients and their families all publicly slammed the decision, and some even went as far as to picket the NICE offices of CEO Andrew Dillon in protest. But the one place the anger wasn’t directed was at the prices set by the pharmaceutical companies.

With health budgets that need to be controlled and the Cancer Drugs Fund in the UK under pressure, the elephant in the room is the cost of the drug in the first place.

Why did no-one question Bayer on the price tag of its drug? Instead of asking, “Why are we refusing to pay for these high drug prices?”, people in the UK today should be asking, “Why are these drug prices so high?”

India did.

Bayer has said it will challenge India’s decision to allow the production of a cheaper generic copy of its patented drug.

It justifies the higher price of sorafenib saying it needs the revenue to pay for future innovation. But Bayer has refused to provide details on how much it invested in Nexavar’s research and development, the cost of which was partly subsidised by the US government.

The only figure Bayer was prepared to refer to was the $1 billion general R&D price tag that GSK Chief Andrew Witty recently called “one of the great myths of the industry”.

It is true that innovative new drugs can change the way we treat people and we need more of them.

But innovation is of little use if people cannot access new treatments because they are so expensive.

This has long been recognised as an issue in the developing world. Increasingly though, those who cannot afford these prices are in developed countries like the UK. The innovation system is failing.

A new approach is needed.

We need to move to a system where new drugs are priced as close to the cost of production as possible – and where innovation is paid for and rewarded separately. We need innovation and affordable access.

This is the prescription to address the needs of developing countries suggested by experts at the World Health Organization.

But the UK, EU and other developed countries are blocking meaningful progress.

With the UK, the US and the EU facing ageing populations and health budget blowouts, now is the time for them to start siding with developing countries on affordable access.

It is in the interests of everyone’s good health.


Bacteria find ‘key to treating obesity without surgery’

Obese man
Certain microbes in the gut could have an impact on metabolism, thereby influencing weight loss

Weight loss after gastric band surgery may be partly caused by changes to micro-organisms that live in the gut, say US researchers.

A study in mice has shown that surgery causes different types of bacteria to colonise the gut.

Transferring samples of those bacteria into healthy mice caused them to rapidly lose weight without surgery.

But the Harvard University researchers said they could not yet explain the mechanism behind their results.

There are differences in the bacteria in the stomachs and intestines of obese people compared with those who are of a normal weight.

And in people who have had gastric bypass operations to help them lose weight, the types of microbes that are found in the gut change.

The ability to achieve even some of these effects without surgery would give us an entirely new way to treat the critical problem of obesity.”

Dr Lee KaplanHarvard Medical School

In the latest study, researchers compared three groups of obese mice on a high-calorie diet.

  • One group was given a gastric bypass
  • One was given a sham operation, and the high-calorie diet continued
  • One was given the same fake operation but then fed a low-calorie diet to promote weight loss

A week later the mice who had undergone the real obesity surgery had different bacteria in their guts, with an increase in types usually seen in lean individuals and a drop in types associated with obesity.

Three weeks after surgery they had lost about 30% of their bodyweight, the researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine.

There was little change in micro-organisms present in the mice who had had sham operations, even though the group on the low-calorie diet lost just as much weight as the mice who had had the bypass surgery.

Metabolism impact

Researchers then transferred samples from the guts of the three groups of mice into other germ-free mice.

Those who received bacteria from the bypass mice, lost a significant amount of weight in two weeks but the others saw no change.

It is not yet clear how the microbes influence weight loss, but one theory is that they have an impact on metabolism.

“We need to learn a good deal more about the mechanism by which a microbial population changed by gastric bypass exerts its effects,” said study author Dr Lee Kaplan, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“The ability to achieve even some of these effects without surgery would give us an entirely new way to treat the critical problem of obesity, one that could help patients unable or unwilling to have surgery.”

Co-author Peter Turnbaugh added: “It may not be that we will have a magic pill that will work for everyone who’s slightly overweight.

“But if we can, at a minimum, provide some alternative to gastric bypass surgery that produces similar effects, it would be a major advance.”

Prof David Haslam, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “We know the effects of bariatric surgery are not just mechanical and we don’t know the full reasons why it works so well, especially in the resolution of diabetes.

“There is more to it than meets the eye.”


Electronic implant designed to reduce obesity to undergo trials

The weight-loss device
The device is designed to read the chemical signature of appetite in the vagus nerve

UK-based scientists have designed an ‘intelligent’ microchip which they claim can suppress appetite.

Animal trials of the electronic implant are about to begin and its makers say it could provide a more effective alternative to weight-loss surgery.

The chip is attached to the vagus nerve which plays a role in appetite as well as a host of other functions within the body.

Human trials of the implant could begin within three years, say its makers.

The work is being led by Prof Chris Toumazou and Prof Sir Stephen Bloom of Imperial College London.

The chip will tell the brain don’t eat any more – the gut’s full of food and you don’t need to eat any more ”

Prof Sir Stephen BloomImperial College, London

It involves an ‘intelligent implantable modulator’, just a few millimetres across, which is attached using cuff electrodes to the vagus nerve within the peritoneal cavity found in the abdomen.

The chip and cuffs are designed to read and process electrical and chemical signatures of appetite within the nerve. The chip can then act upon these readings and send electrical signals to the brain reducing or stopping the urge to eat.

The researchers say identifying chemicals rather than electrical impulses will make for a more selective, precise instrument.

The project has just received over 7m euros (£5.9m; $9m) in funding from the European Research Council.

A similar device designed by the Imperial team has already been developed to reduce epileptic seizures by targeting the same vagus nerve.

“This is a really small microchip and on this chip we’ve got the intelligence which can actually model the neural signals responsible for appetite control,” Prof Toumazou told the BBC.

“And as a result of monitoring these signals we can stimulate the brain to counter whatever we monitor.

“It will be control of appetite rather than saying don’t eat completely. So maybe instead of eating fast you’ll eat a lot slower.”

He said initial laboratory trials had already demonstrated proof of concept.

Prof Bloom, who heads Imperial’s diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism division, said the chip could provide an alternative to “gross surgery”.

The chip is described as an 'intelligent implantable modulator of vagus nerve function for treatment of obesity'
The chip is described as an ‘intelligent implantable modulator of vagus nerve function for treatment of obesity’

“There will be a little tiny insert and it will be so designed as to have no side effects, but restrict appetite in a natural way.

“As far as the brain is concerned, it will get the same signals from the intestinal system as it normally gets after a meal, and these signals tell it don’t eat any more – the gut’s full of food and you don’t need to eat any more.”

He claimed that unlike gastric banding, the chip would reduce both consumption and hunger pangs, and was therefore more likely to be effective.

Nerve blocks

The vagus nerve regulates a plethora of functions in the body, controlling the way we breathe, our heart rate, the secretion of acids in the digestive system and the contraction of the gut.

It also feeds back information to the brain on how various body systems are operating.

We need simpler cheaper more regularly available procedures, and unlike some operations for obesity, it’s reversible – that’s another advantage”

Dr Tony GoldstoneMRC Clinical Sciences Centre

The Imperial team are not the only group working on vagus nerve implants to try to tackle obesity. US company EnteroMedics have developed an implant which intermittently blocks the vagus nerve using electrical impulses.

Recently published data from a clinical trial of the ‘VBloc’ device, involving 239 patients, showed more than half of those using it had lost at least 20% of their excess body weight – although the company said results were not as good as had been expected.

Another US company, IntraPace, has European approval for its Abiliti device which also uses vagus nerve stimulation to try to reduce food consumption.

Dr Tony Goldstone, senior clinician scientist and expert on obesity at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, said the Imperial project represented an “exciting and novel approach”.

“The use of vagus nerve stimulation has not entered the mainstream yet and the results from gastric pacemakers or vagus nerve stimulation have been mixed, but I think this might be a novel approach worthy of exploration.

“Not everyone undergoing bariatric surgery loses weight, particularly with gastric banding, so other procedures might be of benefit.

“We need simpler cheaper more regularly available procedures, and unlike gastric bypass and some other operations for obesity, it is reversible – that is another advantage.”


6個原因養出胖小孩 輕鬆自我檢測



兒童肥胖6成因 吃多動少是關鍵



  1. 飲食西化,吃太多或是吃太多高熱量且高膽固醇的食物。
  2. 花很多時間在電視機或是電腦前面,但缺乏運動。
  3. 低出生體重、出生後體重快速增加的孩子。
  4. 服用特殊藥物導致體重增加。
  5. 肥胖基因。
  6. 賀爾蒙異常如庫興氏症候群、甲狀腺低能症。



吳怡磊醫師表示,欲知兒童是否肥胖最好的測量方法就是身體質量指數(BMI)值。BMI= 體重(公斤)/身高(公尺)平方 。如果BMI值超過85百分位就是過重,如果BMI值超過95百分位就是肥胖。例如7歲的小男童,BMI值若超過18.6即是過重,超過21.2就是肥胖!





【華人健康網 記者黃子倫/台北報導】 –

上班族胸悶鬱結 來做胸部伸展操















【華人健康網 記者黃子倫/台北報導】-









XinMsn –

世界银行:粮食价格还在高价位 低收入者被迫选择便宜的”垃圾食品”

世界银行:粮食价格还在高价位 低收入者被迫选择便宜的"垃圾食品"





Xinmsn –

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