World Bulletin / News Desk
Obesity and diabetes may not be the double whammy people expect, with an analysis of previous studies surprisingly finding that overweight and obese people who get diagnosed with the blood sugar disorder tend to live longer than leaner peers.
The findings, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were based on data from five earlier studies that tracked people over time to identify risk factors for heart disease.
Study leader Mercedes Carnethon of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago said this sort of "obesity paradox" had been observed before in chronic diseases such as heart and kidney failure - but it doesn't mean gaining weight is a good way to improve your prognosis if you get the disease.
In fact, it's probably not that extra pounds are protective, but that lean people who get diabetes are somehow predisposed to worse health.
"Perhaps those individuals are somehow genetically loaded to develop diabetes and have higher mortality," she said. "A normal-weight person who has diabetes has an extremely high mortality rate."
More than 2,600 participants developed type 2 diabetes during the studies, and 12 percent of them had a normal weight when they got the diagnosis.
The death rate was 1.5 percent per year among overweight and obese people, compared to 2.8 percent per year among their trimmer peers.
After accounting for several risk factors for heart disease, including age, blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, lean people were more than twice as likely to die at any given point as heavier people. The same held true for deaths caused by heart disease, which is linked to obesity.
"It was a little bit unexpected to see that," said Carnethon.
One potential limitation of the study is that the researchers couldn't always account for how much people smoked, which might explain part of the results.
It's also possible that a few people might have been diagnosed with diabetes outside of the studies and been told to slim down by their own doctor before they were seen by the study researchers. That could also have contributed to the findings, although Carnethon said the effect would be small.
She added that it's not clear how to best treat normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes, although weight training seems preferable over cardio exercise.
Older people and people of Asian descent are more likely to be normal-weight when diagnosed, and Carnethon stressed that doctors need to take the disorder extra seriously when it's not accompanied by obesity.
There are 883 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, out of which 319 people have died since 2012, the WHO says
WHO announces one million doses of Ebola vaccine to be produced in 2015
That pact would aim to improve on two decades of stuttering cooperation and rein in emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for a disruptive rise in temperatures
The World Health Organization last month urged the use of blood-derived products and serum from survivors.
Pentagon rapid-response Ebola medical team was scheduled to begin training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas
Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), which is even more expensive and difficult to treat than multi drug-resistant (MDR-TB) strains, has now been reported in 100 countries around the world.
Device can be used in the field without special equipment, according to developers
The technique involved transplanting what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient's spinal cord and constructing a "nerve bridge" between two stumps of the damaged spinal column.
The meeting in Cuba is aimed at keeping Ebola at bay and it brings together senior officials from the ALBA bloc of nations
Wildlife conservationists have struggled to reverse a decline in numbers of several African species, undermined by ferocious poaching by gangs which mostly ship the ivory to Asia.
Jerald Dennis is feeling stigmatized by his neighbors and has been shunned by his friends
Peru's 2,679 glaciers, spread over 19 snow-capped mountain ranges, are the source of the vast majority of the country's drinking water.
Some 85 percent of people said they thought the disease spread through sneezing or coughing, despite the fact that the World Health Organization regards that type of transmission as unlikely
No approved specific drug or treatment available for battling fatal pandemic virus hitting many West African countries
The death toll so far in the outbreak, first reported in Guinea in March, has reached 4,447 from a total of 8,914 cases, said WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward.
The world's fifth-largest user of nuclear power has around 70 percent, or nearly 9,000 tonnes, of its used fuel stacked in temporary storage pools