Osteoporosis Less Likely

To Go Undetected

More people are being treated for osteoporosis, newer drugs are being prescribed, and guidelines in place the past two years call for universal bone density screening of women 65 and older, said Randall Stafford, an assistant professor at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and chief author of a study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study said the number of doctor visits for osteoporosis increased fourfold from 1994 to 2003, whereas the rate of visits had remained stable in prior years. The increase coincides with the availability of new anti-osteoporosis drugs, the study said.

Caffeine Poses Risk

For Type 2 Diabetics

Caffeine may interfere with the body's ability to handle blood sugar, thus worsening Type 2 diabetes, researchers said yesterday.

The team at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina found a correlation between caffeine intake at mealtime and increased glucose and insulin levels in a small study of Type 2 diabetics.

The findings are significant enough that the researchers recommend diabetics consider reducing or eliminating caffeine from their diets.

Writing in the journal Diabetes Care, James Lane and colleagues said they studied 14 habitual coffee drinkers with Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers put the volunteers on a controlled diet. They took their medications, had their blood tested and then were given caffeine capsules. More blood was taken then and after the volunteers were given a liquid meal supplement.

Caffeine had little effect on glucose and insulin levels when the volunteers fasted, the researchers found. But after the liquid meal, those who were given caffeine had a 21 percent increase in their glucose level and insulin rose 48 percent.

Acetaminophen Use

Could Harm Kidneys

Long-term, habitual use of the painkiller acetaminophen may cause a decline in kidney function in some people, according to a study of middle-aged women released yesterday.

Overall, one in 10 of the 1,700 women studied over 11 years experienced a 30 percent decline in their kidneys' filtration function.

Acetaminophen, which is sold under the brand name Tylenol and marketed generically, was alone among commonly used painkillers to show a link with kidney impairment.

"Our findings should not prompt people to discontinue using acetaminophen," said study author Gary Curhan of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Instead, this study suggests a need for the medical community to consider alternative pain therapies that may help patients avoid long-term dependence on these drugs until we clearly understand the potential side effects."

In the study, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who had taken 1,500 to 9,000 tablets over their lifetimes raised their risk of kidney impairment by 64 percent. For those who took more than 9,000 tablets, the risk more than doubled.

Study Finds Some Teas

Ward Off Hypertension

Drinkers of green and oolong tea are less likely than other people to develop high blood pressure, a Taiwanese study said yesterday.

The risk of hypertension, a condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke, declined the more green or oolong tea was consumed regularly, researchers at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan said.

Some teas contain 4,000 chemical compounds, including flavonoids that help protect against heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, study author Yi-Ching Yang wrote in the report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

None of the 1,500 subjects was hypertensive at the start of the study, and those who drank 120 to 599 milliliters (4 to 20 ounces) of tea a day for at least a year prior had a 46 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than nondrinkers.

Drinking 600 milliliters of tea or more a day lowered the risk of hypertension by 65 percent, the study showed.

-- From News Services