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Web Pickings: 2013 Predictions, Good Fat, Mammograms, Moderation, Nurse Wisdom, More

January 2, 2013

By Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 1905 chasing old man 1904 into history/ Wikipedia

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 1905 chasing old man 1904 into history/ Wikipedia

Ah, another new year starts (not 1905, despite the illustration) and received wisdom is overturned. Sort of. Consider the widely reported news that a JAMA study has found that being overweight doesn’t seem to increase your risk of dying, or, as the Kaiser Health News headline puts it, “A Little Extra Fat Could Be Protective.”

Many news summaries do point out that severely obese people had a higher risk of dying than did people of normal weight. What the study does and does not mean is being debated, with some pointing out that the study didn’t look at whether being overweight increased consumption of health care resources, number of prescribed medications, etc. We’re sure to hear more on this.

To continue with the theme of questioning long-term assumptions, NPR’s story “Breast Cancer: What We Learned in 2012″ gives a nice summary of updated guidelines for who should and shouldn’t get mammograms, including pro and con arguments, the latest research, and so on.

Some pretty cynical journalism can be found in an opinion piece in the Palm Beach (Fl.) Post, which suggests that Hillary Clinton’s blood clot is a hoax.

A New York Times piece, in giving a tidy summary of important exercise-related research from the past year, makes an astute observation: “Perhaps the most dominant exercise-science theme of 2012 was that little things add up, with both positive and pernicious effects.” Put another way:

Taken as a whole, the latest exercise-related science tells us that the right types and amounts of exercise will almost certainly lengthen your life, strengthen your brain, affect your waistline and even clear debris from inside your body’s cells. But too much exercise, other 2012 science intimates, might have undesirable effects on your heart, while popping painkillers, donning stilettos and sitting and reading this column likewise have their costs.

When reporters go into the prophecy business, it’s not always a great success. Kaiser Health News polls its reporters for health care predictions for 2013. Be warned: most  have to do with the ever-exciting topics of health care payment and policy (“paying for quality, not quantity”; “Medicare changes”; etc.). These may all have real impact on the lives of nurses, so it might be worth a look.

Pediatrics nurses: check out the digest of the January issue of Pediatrics for quick summaries of research on adolescent ADHD and adult physical and mental health and work performance, the relation of dietary salt intake and sugar-sweetened beverage intake in children, effectiveness of developmental screening for children in an urban setting, and much more.

Lest we forget recent news, there’s a piece in the the New England Journal of Medicine on “Preventing Gun Deaths in Children.”

Lastly, a hopeful blog post (“New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Wait Until Late in the Afternoon”) from Julianna Paradisi, artist and nurse, on not putting off what you want or need to do. We should all take it to heart.

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