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Latinos and Vision Loss

Latinos in the United States have higher rates of vision loss and blindness than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. That's according to a study that is the first to track vision loss and eye disease in the Latino community. The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) also found Latinos are more likely to develop diabetic eye disease and cataracts than non-Hispanic whites. The lead investigator says the results show the need for Latinos, especially those with diabetes, to have regular dilated eye exams. The National Eye Institute supported the study.

Depression High For Victims of Cyberbullying

Young people who are targeted by cyberbullies are more likely to experience depression than the kids doing the bullying. Cyberbullies harass their victims with written messages sent over the computer or cell phone. Because there's no face-to-face contact, researchers say victims can't see or identify their attacker and that may cause feelings of isolation or helplessness. Previous studies looked at traditional forms of bullying that include physical violence or verbal taunts. In those studies, depression was highest among so called bully-victims, young people who were bullies and were also the victim of bullies. The studies were conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

More Helpful Information for Older Americans

Three new health topics have been added to ( ), a health and wellness Web site for older adults developed by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. In Creating a Family Health History, older adults can learn how to collect, organize, and use information about their family's health history to promote healthy behaviors among current and future generations. Alcohol Use and Older Adults describes alcohol's effects on our bodies, health, and lifestyles as we age and explores the risks and benefits of late life drinking. Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) offers information about the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatments for this disease, which develops when arteries in the body become clogged with fatty deposits, limiting blood flow. It affects an estimated 8 to 12 million people, most of them over age 50.

Children, Males, and Blacks at Increased Risk for Food Allergies

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A new study estimates that about 7.6 million Americans, or 2.5 percent of the U.S. population, have food allergies. Children, males, and blacks had the highest rates. Researchers say more study is needed to understand why. The study also found an association between food allergies and severe asthma. The odds of people with asthma and food allergies experiencing a severe asthma attack were 6.9 times higher than people without food allergies. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences conducted and supported the research.

Starting HIV Treatment Early Has Benefits

Scientists have identified another health benefit to starting HIV treatment soon after infection. A new study finds that people who begin antiretroviral therapy (ART) within six months of acquiring HIV may be better able to fight other disease-causing microbes than people who begin treatment later. Researchers say the findings suggest that early ART may prevent irreversible damage to the immune system. This work adds to a growing body of evidence supporting early treatment. Scientists with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases conducted the study.

Stroke Prevention: Surgery vs. Stent?

A major study of two procedures to prevent stroke finds that both are safe and effective. A surgical procedure known as a carotid endarterectomy is considered the gold standard. It was compared with a newer and less invasive procedure known as carotid artery stenting. While both procedures were found to be equally safe and effective, there was a slight difference based on age. Stenting results were a little better for people 69 and younger; and surgery results were slightly better for people 70 and older. Researchers say the findings could help physicians tailor the treatment to the patient. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the study.

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Winter 2011 Issue: Volume 5 Number 4 Page 24 - 25