New diabetes drug approved by FDA


The FDA has approved Amylin Pharmaceutical’s new diabetes drug called Bydureon. The approval comes after two rejections, one back in 2010 which called for a new trial geared at the drug’s effects on the heart.

The FDA has become more scrutinizing when it comes to diabetes medication ever since the situation years ago with Avandia being linked to heart attacks.

Bydureon is the second diabetes drug that Amylin makes, the first being Byetta. Bydureon is said to have fewer injections than Byetta, which may appeal more to the millions of people who take diabetes medication worldwide.

For more on this story, go here.


Weird ways to beat stress


One of the reasons I love Twitter is that is brings to light the most interesting stories, articles and snippets of weird fodder, and today is no exception.

MSNBC Health has a great article out today about stress and how to beat it. They label the top nine ways as weird, but many to me make perfect sense….with maybe the exception of the green dot:

1. Drink OJ – apparently in lab mice copious amounts helped to stop the secretion of stress hormones. I will be testing this theory out beginning tomorrow.

2. Put a green dot on your phone – apparently it’ s used as a reminder to steady yourself before answering a call. Green means go, good, positive, so I guess there’s something to this theory.

3. Spend quality time with a dog – as a dog owner, I know this to be true.

4. Go to Starbucks with your coworkers – the rule behind this suggestion is that stress hates company. Drink coffee alone, you stay stressed and jittery, but surrounding yourself with others who are stressed helps to lower it.

5. Shake it out – if you’re in a stressful situation, whether it’s on a court or at court, shake out your hands and arms. It relieves tension. I’ll be doing this at my next NBA warmup.

6. Listen to music at work – tried and true. Spotify is my weapon of choice when it comes to soothing the savage stress.

7. Shut up and smile – this one is useful when you’re about to speak to a group of people. Before you begin, take a two-second pause and smile. This helps to calm you down and relaxes your audience, and feeding off their positive energy makes for a stress-free speech.

8. Talk with your hands – in a meeting or interview, keeping your hands relaxed in your lap, fingers touching, helps to keep a conversational tone.

9. Run/bike/swim fast – a University of Missouri at Columbia study discovered that 33 minutes of high-intensity activity, like boxing, biking, or running, helps to lower stress levels much more than working out at a moderate pace.

These are all great tips on how to help reduce stress in your life. One of the things I hear about a lot at my workplace is how stress can affect your health, specifically when it comes to your heart. There is a direct connection between stress and heart disease, and if you have health issues like diabetes or an autoimmune disorder, stress can compound your symptoms and make it difficult to treat your disease.

So while you work on ways to stay healthy this new year, add keeping your stress level low to the list.


New study shows that fitness trumps body weight in reducing risk of death


The American Heart Association released results from a new study today that sheds light on whether it’s better to shed pounds or keep up with physical fitness.

As it turns out, physical fitness edges out losing weight when it comes to reducing risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

According to the study, in which 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class participated, maintaining or improving fitness was associated with a lower death risk from heart attack or stroke even after controlling weight, or Body Mass Index (BMI) change.

The results highlight the link between physical inactivity and the risk of death.

While these new findings might make you think that losing weight isn’t as important to your health as keeping physically active, think again. There is a strong link between being overweight and other health issues, such as cancer, diabetes and more. Keeping your BMI at a rate that’s in line with your age and height is important to staying healthy.

To gauge what your BMI should be, check out our handy BMI calculator here.

To learn more about the Barnes-Jewish and Washington University Heart & Vascular Center and the American Heart Association “My Heart, My Life” program, click here and get heart-healthy recipes and tips on reducing your risk for heart attacks and stroke.


Not your average orange drink


Here’s an update on my occasional series about my first pregnancy.  First of all, it’s great that I work at one of the best hospitals in the country, that is always a plus because I know I’m in good hands.  Academic medical centers like Barnes-Jewish Hospital are known for having the best technology and brightest minds, but sometimes it’s the simple things that can comfort the worried mind of a pregnant woman – like test results.

A relatively new site, allowed me to check my glucose test results within days to make sure I was not at risk for gestational diabetes.  Now let’s get to that orange drink, because I had heard plenty of stories about how much fun this was not going to be.

Monday, I went to the outpatient lab at Barnes-Jewish’s Center for Advanced Medicine for the test. The glucose test is a screening test for gestational diabetes that involves drinking a sugary beverage followed by a blood draw one hour later. Because I have a baby on the “high end of normal” of the weight charts, my OB wanted me to get the test done at 24 weeks instead of the typical 28 weeks.

I have a sweet tooth, so I actually didn’t find the super-sugary drink too terrible. It tasted a lot like orange Kool-Aid with too much sugar. The hard part was not eating or drinking (even water) for an hour.

The best part of this test was being able to see my results so quickly on – a site for BJC patients to set up an account to see their BJC lab results. Wednesday, I had an email informing me that my test results were in. I logged into my account on and saw that my test results are normal, so I don’t have to go back for the three-hour glucose test.

-Sarah Kinkade

Study links diabetes to likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s


In case you needed another reason to lose weight and become more active: 

Washington University Alzheimers researchers

Researchers keeps finding that obesity and poor eating habits can endanger your mental health as well as your physical health. For instance, a study out of Japan finds that people with diabetes may have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Again, that’s double the risk.

The study also found that people with pre-diabetes also had an increased risk of dementia. Pre-diabetes is condition in which your blood sugar is elevated, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, the majority of those diagnosed with pre-diabetes do progress on into full-blown diabetes eventually. Unless they do something to stop the progression.

If there is an up side to this study, it’s in researchers finding another little piece of the incredibly complex puzzle that is Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers around the world, including those here at Washington University, keep finding pieces.

I think it’s inevitable that researchers will eventually put these pieces together and solve the puzzle, finding a way to prevent and maybe even cure Alzheimer’s.

In the meantime, studies like this Japanese one give us an idea of what we can do to keep our brain healthy – keep your body healthy!

-Kathryn Holleman

When having diabetes is all you’ve ever known, waking up without it can feel like a miracle


Danielle Scheetz was five when she was diagnosed with diabetes. Over the next six years she dealt with the disease, until at the age of 11 when her doctor gave her some terrible news – her kidneys were failing. Danielle would need a kidney transplant in order to survive.

With the help of her doctor, she and her father chose Barnes-Jewish as the transplant hospital. One fateful day, her pre-transplant coordinator called and said that Dr. Jason Wellen, Surgical Director of Kidney Transplant and Kidney/Pancreas Transplant, had a kidney and pancreas waiting for her.

When she woke up from surgery, she was told her blood sugars were normal and she didn’t have diabetes any longer.

In one day, the disease she had lived with for as long as she could remember was gone.

That’s a pretty good thing to hear.


Weight loss surgery info and event


While exercise and eating right are the best ways to lose weight, many people have tried those methods for years and still can’t lose excess weight — weight that can cause serious health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.

For people in this frustrating situation, weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) may be an option.

Last night, KSDK featured a story on how the FDA has approved extended lap band use. Lap bands bind the top part of the stomach, leaving a small portion about the size of a golf ball. To see the video and learn more about how this surgery is helping Lynn Abernathy to change her life, go here.

Weight loss surgery can help reduce weight and improve overall health, but it is not a one size fits all solution. Join us on Wednesday, October 26 at our new event, Reshape Your Future With Weight Loss Surgery. A Washington University physician will be on hand to help you determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, while discussing the various surgical options. Plus, you get to meet a patient who will discuss life after her own weight loss surgery experience.

The event will take place at the Jewish Community Center – Staenberg Family Complex at 2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur, MO 63146 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pre-registration for events are encouraged, and walk-ins will be accepted based on availability.

To register, call 314-542-WEST (9378). Visit for more information!


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