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Doctors Issue New Neuropathy Test Guidelines

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 -- A combination of blood tests and other specialized assessments seems to be most effective in finding the cause of a common nerve problem called neuropathy, according to new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Neurology. Neuropathy, which affects one in 50 people in the general population and one in 12 people older than 55, usually causes numbness, tingling or pain that often starts in the feet and moves to the hands. Muscle weakness and wasting may also occur. Diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy, which can also be caused by heredity, alcohol abuse, poor nutrition and autoimmune disorders, the academy said. The authors of the new guidelines analyzed all available scientific studies. "People with suspected nerve problems should talk to their doctors about screening tests, especially blood glucose, vitamin B12 level and serum protein levels, since these tests can often point to common causes of neuropathy," guidelines author Dr. John D. En ...

Intestinal 'Sleeve' Mimics Effects of Gastric Bypass

THURSDAY, Dec. 4 -- Lining the upper small intestine with an impermeable sleeve may be as effective as invasive gastric bypass surgery to help people lose weight and avoid diabetes, a new report says. The procedure, tested on rats by the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and Gastrointestinal Unit, led to reduced appetite, weight loss and a return to a normal glucose levels. "This is a clear proof of principle that the human version of this device may be an effective treatment for obesity and diabetes. The clinical device would be placed endoscopically, making it far less invasive than surgical therapies," study leader Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the MGH Weight Center, said in a hospital news release. Researchers secured a 10-centimeter-long "endoluminal sleeve" at the outlet of the rats' stomach so it blocked the duodenum and upper jejunum, areas of the small intestine where nutrients are sensed and absorbed. Obese and diabetic rats raised on a high-fat diet given t ...

Fewer HIV-Infected Americans Passing the Virus On

TUESDAY, Dec. 9 -- The rate of HIV transmission in the United States has dropped 88 percent since 1984 and 33 percent since 1997, even though the number of people living with HIV in the United States has increased, researchers reported Tuesday. The study, done by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears online and in a future print issue of the JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. "For every 100 persons living with HIV today, five or fewer will transmit the virus to an uninfected person in a given year. In other words, 95 percent or more of those living with HIV do not transmit the virus to others, which indicates that prevention efforts are having a real impact," lead author David Holtgrave, chair of Bloomberg's department of health, behavior and society, said in a Hopkins news release. The annual transmission rate in 1984 was 44 per 100 people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. That decl ...