Obesity really does kill, the news section of Nature reports. While no doubt part of the problem with the modern junk diet is about cholesterol and lack of exercise, fat is still a serious problem.
Fat could send the wrong signals to sick cells.
In studies with mice, shedding a bit of weight acted as a preventative against cancers. And they didn’t even have to exercise to get the benefit: the mouse equivalent of liposuction did the trick.
There’s also evidence that keeping trim can cut cancer risk. In one study, when people with a history of skin cancer halved their fat intake, they also slashed the chance of developing tumours by two-thirds.
Hospitals in the United States find it cheaper to treat the uninsured for free. By law they’re obligated not to turn away people with life-threatening conditions even if they can’t pay; therefore, uninsured Americans often undergo expensive life-saving treatments that would’ve been prevented if they’d undergone cheaper preventive treatments earlier. If the fact that the US has the highest per capita government health spending in the world doesn’t convince you the current system is a monument to inefficiency, this new fact should.
Denver’s public system, Denver Health, has 41,000 uninsured patients enrolled in its clinics. Officials there calculate that for every dollar they spend on prenatal care for uninsured women, they save more than $7 in newborn and child care.
“All these local efforts are commendable, but they are like sticking fingers in the dikes,” Ms. Davis of the Commonwealth Fund said, noting that the larger trend was hospitals’ seeking to avoid the uninsured.
Tara writes about the sad, sad story of alternative medicine. The United States government has spent $100 million per year on testing alternative medicine, to no avail; it just doesn’t work.
Ironically, of course (as Orac can tell you), many who take these alternative meds do so because of a distaste for “big pharma” or “corporate medicine,” despite the fact that alternative medicine is just as much (if not more) of a moneymaker:
[Link] Marketers often sell them under the guise of a mom-and-pop alternative to big pharma. Yet the $29 billion-a-year dietary supplement industry wields such power that it got Congress to pass a law in 1994 that basically frees it to peddle almost anything that doesn’t kill people with claims of medical benefit that need not be proven.