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Monday, January 16, 2017

3 different stories: Insulin is safe; Toddlers & TV; Thyroid cancer awareness

Higher Insulin doses do not cause death in the long term

There is a perception in the scientific community that larger than usual doses of insulin are harmful for health. Patients too, seem petrified of taking doses upwards of say 30-40 units a day.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated no such problem. A recent publication has provided further reassurance that insulin doses have no bearing on the risk of death. A large trial comprising about 6000 subjects showed no such adverse effects on health.

So the key is to take as much insulin as is necessary to control blood glucose's. It is the inadequate control of diabetes that results in complications.

Toddlers eat mindlessly in front of TV

It comes as no surprise that adults viewing television subconsciously binge on snacks. Unfortunately, this appears to hold true even for little ones.

It is likely this is primarily attributable to advertisements promoting unhealthy fare. Social icons and celebrities endorsing fizzy drinks and chips are certainly contributing to the epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity.

I wish these very high-profile stars realized the negative influence they have on impressionable young kids. Responsible advertising is the answer but in a capitalist society, placing curbs is not easy. However, parent-child advocacy groups and government legislation can pave the way for restricting the bombardment of such ads around the virtual and real environs of our children. 

Screening for thyroid cancer only in those at risk

Unlike cancers such as breast and prostate, there is no schedule recommended routinely for screening for thyroid cancer. It is best reserved for those in whom it is more likely to occur than in the average person. To enumerate a few such risk factors:

1. Past history of thyroid cancer in the individual or a first degree relative (parent or sibling or child)

2. Radiation exposure to the neck such as radiation treatment for upper body or head/neck area cancers in the past. Of note, plain dental Xrays or CT scans of the head do not constitute high enough risk

3. Genetic conditions that confer risk for certain type of thyroid cancer. One example is the MEN (Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia) syndrome

Besides these, if you have a neck lump, it must be thoroughly checked by a doctor.  

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