Health Buzz: Dangerous Blood Clots and Other Health News

Gastric bypass surgery in diabetes, global warming and your health, and boys and girls in school.

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Surgeon General Speaks Up on Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism

Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson called yesterday for stepped-up efforts to reduce the number of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in the United States. Together, DVT, which is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the thigh or lower leg, and pulmonary embolism, a serious complication of DVT (when part of the blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs), affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans annually. Those figures are expected to increase as the population gets older. The conditions contribute to at least 100,000 deaths every year. In most cases, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism happen in people who have an inherited blood clotting condition or another risk factor, or in people who have an event that triggers the problem. "Being hospitalized or confined to bed rest, having major surgery, suffering a trauma, or traveling for several hours can increase a person's risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism," Galson said in a statement. "We want to increase the awareness and knowledge of these potentially deadly conditions and encourage patients and healthcare providers to take the steps to prevent them."

In May, Adam Voiland explained air pollution's link to deep vein thrombosis.

Gastric Bypass Surgery May Not Work Well in Diabetics

Diabetics and people with larger stomach pouches are less likely than others to achieve "good" weight loss results after gastric bypass surgery, according to a study published this month in Archives of Surgery. The authors, who analyzed data from more than 300 gastric bypass patients, defined poor weight loss as losing 40 percent or less of excess body weight within one year and good weight loss as losing more than 40 percent of excess body weight. Before surgery, the 310 patients had an average body mass index of 52. One year after surgery, they had an average BMI of 34 and had lost an average of 60 percent of excess body weight. But 38 patients had poor weight loss, and they were more likely than the rest of the group to have diabetes or have a larger stomach pouch after the surgery.

In August, U.S. News's Michelle Andrews listed seven steps newly diagnosed diabetics should take. Adam Voiland reported on whether your drinking water could give you diabetes.

Global Warming and Your Health

Scientists the world over have observed changes that are affecting individuals' health and have also created models to predict where we might be headed, Sarah Baldauf reports. Among the potential problems attributable to climate change: more allergies, kidney stones, algae-related complaints, exotic infections, insect stings, wheezing and hacking, and heat-wave deaths. Bigger coastal storms may also occur, and fewer fruits may be available.

In July, U.S. News's Adam Voiland explored whether global warming means more kidney stones.

The Trouble With Boys in School

Boys are kicked out of preschool at 4.5 times the rate of girls, and they lag behind girls in reading and writing in elementary school—a lag that gets bigger in middle school and high school. Teenage boys are four times as likely as girls to commit suicide. And girls are doing so much better than boys at academics that, according to projections, only 40 percent of college undergraduates will be men by 2016. U.S. News's Nancy Shute interviewed Peg Tyre, author of The Trouble With Boys, about these differences between boys and girls.

—January W. Payne