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Skelaxin (Metaxalone)

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HEALTHY WEIGHT: DIETING TO SLIM DOWN
Dr. Blackburn heads a center for the study of nutrition and medicine at Deaconess Hospital in Boston. He says that, all by itself, too much weight can affect health gravely. He contends that losses of 5 or 10 pounds in even the very obese can improve high blood pressure and diabetes.
He calls overweight a national problem. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimate that 25 percent of all Americans are overweight. Dr. Blackburn says, “We must bring our weight down. Just a 10-pound loss per overweight person in the U.S. would reduce the national health bill by 100 billion dollars. “He bases this prediction on a 1992 National Institutes of Health report.
People endanger their health, Dr. Blackburn warns, even when they weigh only 15 percent more than their medically established ideal weight. If, for example, your ideal weight is 120 pounds and you weigh 138, you are 15 percent overweight and at risk. If you are 100 pounds overweight, you are pathologically obese and face the highest health risk of all.
Medical ideas are changing. The realization that dieting won’t result in permanent major weight loss has become the central focus for treating obesity, Dr. Stunkard says, which has led to other alternatives that focus on treatment and prevention.
About 5 years ago, Dr. Michael Weintraub, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester (New York) School of Medicine, found that the drugs phentermine and fenfluramine suppress appetite, but each works differently on the brain and has different side effects.
He combined the drugs to curb hunger in doses so low as to produce few side effects. A 3 1/2 -year study ensued. In some cases, drugs were given periodically and then withheld. Subjects lost weight, but most regained all or much of it when the drugs were discontinued.
Pat Kania, 55, who teaches practical nursing in Rochester, was a subject in the study. She says she lost weight with the drugs, regained it without them. But, Dr. Weintraub notes, “The study’s prime importance is to lead doctors to reexamine feelings about weight control medications.” Maybe, like diabetes, fighting fat requires lifelong medication. The safety of that concept must be studied carefully.
Dr. Rudolph Leibel, a researcher at Rockefeller University in New York City in search of genes that trigger obesity, says, “I am confident that in the next decade, as we better understand the biological basis for the control of body weight, we’ll develop more and more powerful drugs for weight loss and, even more important, for the comfortable maintenance of body weight.”
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