HEALTH & FITNESS
the Times Square ball dropped last New Year's Eve, Health reporters
detailed Y2K's 10 most exciting medical advances. Before the ball
dropped this year, we took a closer look: are they still the latest
word? Some answers may surprise and others may disappoint, but all show
how modern medicine can improve our lives.
Map of All Our Genes -- Still-Uncharted Territory
mapping of the human genome has proceeded so quickly that its projected
finish is now 2003. In late December, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory
announced completion of a third chromosome, the first finished since
last spring's announcement that the map was 97 percent finished.
Promising Fix for Diabetes -- Insulin-Rich Islet Cells
islet cells that regulate insulin production was a revolutionary idea
for diabetics. Researchers continue to try and find a way to produce
enough islet cells for transplant purposes. Until that can be done, Type
1-diabetes sufferers will remain dependent on insulin for their health.
New Reason to Skip Refined Carbs -- Whole-Grain Truth
year, researchers at the Boston School of Public Health found that women
whose diets consisted of foods with a high glycemic load were 85 percent
more likely to suffer a heart attack. Female couch potatoes should skip
mashed tubers, white rice, and low-fiber cereals in order to reduce risk
of ischemic stroke. But scientists haven't yet found a way to make a
healthy heart as appealing as a bag o' chips, so carb consumption is
still too high.
New Priority-Pain Relief -- Better Standards for All
pain can lead to depression, a weakened immune system, and complications
after surgery. New rules made by the national commission that accredits
hospitals and other care facilities make pain the fifth "vital
sign," along with temperature, pulse, pressure, and respiration,
offering relief for everyone. It became mandatory in 2001 for 20,000
hospitals and other health-care services through the Joint Commission on
Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Mystery of Sleep Unraveled -- How Narcoleptics Nod Off
new findings about the causes of narcolepsy are exciting for many, there
still isn't an effective treatment for the disease. Researchers at the
Stanford University Center for Narcolepsy are pursuing a cure, while
military scientists are using this data to develop a sleep-deprivation
pill to keep service members awake - it also may help insomniacs.
in the Operating Room -- Hands-Off Surgery
cardiac applications of robots have still not been approved by the FDA,
notes Intuitive Surgical Systems, makers of the daVinci Surgical System.
However, in 2001 surgeons around the world have performed new abdominal
procedures aided by robotic systems.
More Discerning Cancer Diagnosis -- A Chip off the Old Block
May 2001, the National Institutes of Health announced that gene chips
had been used to accurately tell the difference between several closely
related types of childhood cancer. Gene chips are on their way to
providing better diagnoses -- and that means better treatment.
New Strategy to Build A Strong Heart -- Feel the Heart Burn
most important muscle strengthened by weightlifting is your heart. We
now know that building muscles builds cardio strength, but "People
just aren't doing it," says George Kelley, Ph.D., of Boston's MGH
Institute of Health Professions. "Here's the killer: the percentage
of people exercising drops with age, just when they need exercise most
to maintain the 27 risk factors physical activity reduces."
Comforting Way to Lose Weight -- Finding the Solution
Mellin's weight-loss program, The Solution, encourages exercise to quell
cravings. It offers no bells and whistles but continues to show results.
"Our dropout rate is virtually nil," says Mellin, "And
our program appears to be effective for all: smokers, drinkers,
workaholics --and most surprising in 2001, we have quite a few men
Hope for Rewiring Injured Brains -- Cruel to Be Kind
patients may now have their injured arms strapped to their bodies - a
revolutionary idea that involves restraining the healthy arm or leg to
force the impaired one work harder -- but questions remain about who can
be helped by constraint-induced movement therapy, how to select
candidates, and length or therapy. However, it seems that no matter how
a patient has been incapacitated, results are the same: nervous systems
"re-wire" without being allowed to rely on the "good
(Source: Time Health Media Inc.)