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DIABETES The number of cases is rising sharply. Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes (mostly Type 2), and 41 million are prediabetic. Moreover, the situation is deteriorating; the Yale Schools of Public Health and Medicine predicted that the number of deaths due to diabetes each year in the U.S. could triple, to 622,000, by 2025. One way to reduce the risk, according to a 12-year study of milk-drinking men, is to switch to low- or nonfat dairy products. Another is to stay below a body mass index of 30; exceeding that number can almost double a man's chances of developing diabetes, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Meanwhile, the FDA approved the smallest diabetes testing system available, Sidekick, to join the list of recently developed tools for diabetics, including blood-sugar monitors with less painful laser lancets and nasal sprays and inhalers for delivering insulin.
JOSEPH A. WORRALL, MD, RDMS / FAIRBANKS CLINICFETAL SCAN: Thicker neck skin can be a sign of Down syndrome
DOWN SYNDROME The number of Down syndrome babies born in the U.S. has fallen dramatically since second-trimester screening became routine about 15 years ago--a development viewed with some alarm by both anti-abortion and Down syndrome support groups. Now a new, more accurate screening test could accelerate that trend. Conducted as early as the 11th week of pregnancy, the test gives women more time either to prepare to raise a Down baby or to consider a less-risky first-trimester abortion. The test--which factors in the mother's age, a fetal ultrasound measurement and the levels of two pregnancy-related hormones--is about 87% accurate. An integrated test that combines results from first- and second-trimester screens is 96% accurate.