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3 July 2007

Osteoporosis Drug Causes Jawbone Rot

People who take bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis or cancer are at risk of osteonecrosis of the jaws, which is permanent damage in which the jawbone rots away.

There are two varieties of the drugs, one taken intravenously by cancer patients, the other taken in lower-dose pill form by those with osteoporosis (Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva). The risk of jaw rot is said to be highest among those taking the drug intravaneously, though adverse affects can take three years to appear in oral users.

The drugs are problematic because they stay in the bone indefinitely and may upset the cell balance in how the jaws regenerate and remove unhealthy bone.

The problem is so severe that experts are now advising dentists to ask patients whether they are taking the drugs and to screen for this condition. Osteonecrosis is becoming so common that dentists are even referring to it as fossy jaw (after the drug Fosamax).

What can you do to prevent osteoporosis -- without exposing yourself to a potentially dangerous drug that can kill your jawbone? You guessed it: exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.

Science Daily June 26, 2007

Number of Children With Chronic Diseases Quadrupled, Study Says

Kids in the United States are sicker than ever and are facing chronic illnesses at epidemic levels, a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found.

The number of U.S. children with chronic illnesses has quadrupled in the last 30 years, setting the scene for a new generation of adults facing disability and higher health costs. Among the massive increases noted in the study were:

* A fourfold increase in childhood obesity in the past three decades
* Twice the asthma rates since the 1980s
* ADHD, which was not even recognized as a medical condition in 1968, is now diagnosed in about 6 percent of kids

While in 1960 just 1.8 percent of youngsters had a chronic health condition that limited their activities, in 2004 that number jumped to 7 percent. Meanwhile, with the childhood obesity epidemic growing, the number of young adults facing weight-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease is expected to increase as well.

Most Childhood Chronic Illness is Preventable

Most kids are fortunate enough to start off with a relatively clean slate when it comes to their health. Sadly, as even the JAMA researchers pointed out, it is overwhelmingly environmental and social changes that are driving this worsening of kids’ health.

Things like increasing fast-food diets, more time spent in front of the TV and not outside playing, and parents who are not serving as good role models when it comes to health are having devastating effects on the nation’s children (not to mention their parents).

If this epidemic of chronic illness is not reversed we will, for the first time in history, see a generation of kids living shorter lives than their parents. But you can stop the epidemic in its tracks by making healthy lifestyle changes like:

* Cooking healthy meals at home
* Getting regular exercise as a family
* Trading soda for water
* Keeping a positive state of mind, and teaching your kids to do so as well

Journal of the American Medical Association June 27, 2007, 297:2755-2759

Bloomberg June 26, 2007